Thursday, 19 January 2012
One of the joys of being retired is that I have time to do some major cooking and food prep (you know - soup stock from scratch; large pots of beans, etc.). I LOVE Larabars, but they go for $2.00+ a pop in this neck of the woods, so I thought I'd try making my own substitute; after all, they're limited-ingredient snacks, so I couldn't go too wrong. Best thing is you don't bake 'em! I thought I'd start with a version of "Key Lime Pie" which is one of my favourite flavours. (Please be aware that I always approximate everything when I cook, so take everything as "about that much".) I soaked a cup of dates in hot water to soften them up. While they were soaking, I chopped 3/4 cup of raw almonds and 1/4 cup raw cashews in the blender, grated the zest of one fresh lime and squeezed the juice of the lime into a small container. Then I pureed the drained dates and spooned the puree into a bowl, added the chopped nuts, the lime zest and juice and a pile of shredded coconut (I get really incredible freshly shredded coconut at my local Asian market, but unsweetened dessicated coconut works, too). I found this to be kind of sticky (probably because I had to add a bit of liquid when blending the dates; if you use a food processor, the texture probably would be better), so added some ground almonds (I always have some on hand - it's a vegan staple) and kneaded the mixture. I pressed the resulting "dough" into a pan lined with waxed paper, shaped it into a flat rectangle about 3/4" thick and threw it into the fridge to firm up. After a bit I sliced them into smaller rectangles and put them in a container in the fridge (even though there isn't much in these that can go bad easily, I'm kind of paranoid about spoilage, so thought I'd better keep everything chilled) for handy snacking. They are delicious and taste remarkably like the real thing.; AND they're about 1/6 the price! More experimenting will follow with some of my other favourite flavours and perhaps some new ones of my own.
Just remember they're basically half dates and a bit more than half nuts with "other stuff'" (maybe PB or cinnamon or dark chocolate or coffee or dried cherries or dried blueberries or ??????).