Snack bars like Larabars or Bumblebars are great. They are easy to grab and pack a good burst of energy for hiking or other adventures. But they are expensive and often contain ingredients that we try to avoid. Recently I found this wonderful recipe and we started making our own.
After looking over her many recipes, I had enough of a concept to make my own without assistance. The kids think it is great fun to make up flavor combinations, choosing fruits and nuts from the bulk section of the grocery store.
My basic recipe is
- 1 part dates
- 1 part other dried fruit
- 1 part mixed dry ingredients – nuts, seeds, whey powder, coconut, almond flour, chocolate chips…
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per heaping cup of blended fruits and nuts.
You know you've got the mixture right when it holds shape when squeezed. If it crumbles you have too many dry ingredients – add more dates, fruit, and coconut oil. The dates are what hold these together, so make sure you don't skimp on them.
Some of our favorite favors have been
- Coconut with chocolate and butterscotch chips
- Apple and cashew with crystallized ginger
- Pineapple and apricot with mixed nuts
Yesterday we started calling them butterfly bars. Rolling them out is really sticky. There are probably people in the world who can do a project like this without getting their hands all covered in the gooey dates, but I'm not one of them. Also, rolling out the mixture was not something that the Little-Bugs could really do effectively.
If we are getting sticky anyway, we mighht as well have extra fun, right? I pulled out the cookie cutters. After trying several different cutters, I settled on a butterfly. I wanted a fun shape that didn't have much detail. I put about 2 tablespoons of the bar mixture in the cookie cutter and Sister-Bug helped press the mix into the cutter.
“I liked squiiiishing…and making them in the holders….and licking my fingers….”
I finished up each bar, making sure it was packed tight. The cookie cutter slid right off and the bars were lined up on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. When we had made all our butterflies, I froze the bars for 3 hours, then packed them in an airtight container. These bars are stable at room tempeture, but storing them in the fridge helps them last longer and hold their shape.
The recent batch are papaya and dried cherry, with almonds and flax, sunflower, & pumpkin seeds. I added whey protein for an extra punch.
Obviously these are open to most dietary possibilities – nut free (omit nuts and use extra seeds), dairy free, no refined sugar… You can dip or drizzle them in chocolate.
I didn't do the accounting on this, but I am guessing I spend less than a dollar on each bar. And I know what is in them. And they are really tasty. I know because I licked my fingers too.