There are some things that aren’t worth making from scratch. They either are way tedious or expensive or the pre-made version tastes just as good. One food that falls into this category is pasta. I remember my dad convincing my brother and I that it would be fun to make our own ravioli. We had an old fashioned hand crank pasta maker. The kind that you have to feed the dough through umpteen times to make it then. Then you had to cut out each individual square and fill it with a tiny spoonful of ricotta. Let’s just say several hours later my brother and I were cranky and hungry. Now you can shell out over a hundred bucks for an automatic pasta maker attachment for your Kitchen Aid. Or you can pay 5 bucks for some fresh pasta at the grocery store or if you are lucky, local Italian market.
Then there are some things that are fun to make on occasion. Like ice cream. Every time (maybe 3 times a year) that I break out my ice cream maker I love the results. I declare that I will make a new flavor every week… then I forget to pre-chill the mixing bowl. Or don’t feel like making the custard base. And hey… Ben and Jerry’s really has ice cream making down pat. You can’t mess with Chunky Monkey.
And then there are those things that always taste better homemade. Like chocolate chip cookies. Chips Ahoy just can’t compete with fresh gooey right-out-of-the oven chocolate chip cookies.
Now enter Larabars. These tasty vegan snack bars have a simple ingredient list so they should be easy to replicate right? I have read oodles or recipes for homemade Larabars and so after my latest grocery store visit where I spent a bit too much… I thought hey, I should try to make my own too. After reading a few recipes, I struck out on my own to recreate one of my favorite flavors… Chocolate Coconut. These were literally a cinch! They took less than five minutes to make and tasted fairly similar to the real deal. Will I stop buying prepacked bars… probably not… but I will be experimenting with new flavors. Now I can have Larabars every day!
Homemade Chocolate Coconut Larabars
Yields: 5 bars
Time: Less than 5 minutes
2/3 cup raw almonds
1 cup dates (make sure to remove the pits!)
1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they form a powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until completely combined. Remove the mixture and form into bars or balls. I store mine wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer. I stick one in the fridge overnight to thaw.
The dates add a natural sweetness to balance out the unsweetened coconut. I used semisweet chocolate but you could go with dark or milk chocolate depending on your taste. I normally grab one of these bars for an afternoon snack but they would be as a part of a quick grab and go breakfast or for a healthy dessert.
Question: Do you DIY foods or do you prefer to buy pre-made products? I love experimenting with long complicated recipes. I love kitchen challenges. That being said, I love having quick things on hand for during the week.