Look Ma, No Oven: Homemade Larabars

Until it truly becomes winter here in Boston, I’ve kind of heard enough about The Holidays. I heartily wish that the Salvation Army Santa’s bell and Christmas carols were muffled by a coat of snow, and the department store windows’ cottonball snow is making me jealous.

The one winter tradition that did melt my heart recently was my mom’s yearly fruitcake-making extravaganza. Dried fruit bits and drops of brandy go flying; it’s really quite fun. (PS: What is a fruitcake?) I know a lot of people don’t, but I love fruitcake. It got me thinking that I also, for similar reasons, love Larabars. They are both delicious, and dense, and high in fiber and nutrients like potassium. Their downside, however, is painful, because their price tag breaks the bank (perhaps more aptly named Ralph-LaurenBars?). I am here to offer you a solution.

Did you know you could have just as much unpredictable fun making Larabars as my mom does making fruitcake? Larabars are a gluten-free, dairy-free, whole-food product, which means you don’t need a laboratory to recreate the taste (or a gluten and dairy insensitivity to enjoy them)–you can make an exact replica in your house!

Sarah Trautman attends Carleton College in Minnesota, but has spent time canvassing for environmental issues and being a camp counselor in Maine. All she wants for Christmas is snow! (It makes running in the cold more fun.) @sarah_trautman


Homemade Larabars: The Formula
Makes 3 bars


1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup dried fruit*
1/3 cup nuts*

Note: you can use any kind of fruit and nut combination–see below for my favorites!

Pit the dates, and then put the dates and dried fruit into a food processor. The dried fruit should become a paste in the food processor, and then it will coalesce into a lump. Take it out of the food processor, and put it in a medium-sized bowl.

Next, separately blend the nuts in the food processor. When they become a paste, add them to the bowl with the dried fruit.

With your clean hands, mix together the dried fruit and the nuts.

To make bars, shape the mixture and then wrap in wax paper. If you want to be Christmas-y, you can tie ribbons around them, or make cute little cards to explain their significance to your favorite Larabar lovers!

1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup coconut
1/3 cup cashews/almonds

Apple and Peanut Butter
1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup dried apples
1/3 cup peanuts

Banana Bread

1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup dried banana
1/3 cup cashews and/or almonds

Originally posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

7 Responses to “Look Ma, No Oven: Homemade Larabars”

  1. Dakota

    December 21st, 2011

    Ooh these look yummy!! Definitely want to try this.

  2. NonEnglish Major

    December 21st, 2011

    PEANUT BUTTER! of course. and don’t be dissing the laboratories, you spend your fair share of time in them tooooo. Nice cutting board!

  3. b00mb00m

    December 21st, 2011

    I apologize in advance for the lengthy response. I was pleasantly surprised to come across your blog today. Not only do they look delicious, but I have another interesting reason. Recently, I noticed the standard Larabar sold in stores has become ‘The Incredible Shrinking Larabar’. Ever since the inception of Larabars, I’ve been a loyal consumer. I would tell friends and family about their nutritional value and convenience. I wrote an email to Larabar inquiring about their shrinking bar. I pointed out both the packaging size and price remained the same, but that the most important part of a Larabar, the Larabar itself, no longer fits the packaging or price. Amazingly, I did receive a response. Their excuse…”We have improved the process by which we make Larabars to more consistently provide you with the correct weight of bar. We did this to make sure that you are getting the nutritional content that is labeled on our Larabars. This means that for some of our flavors you may be seeing shorter bars. We manufacture our bars according to weight. While they may appear shorter in length, we take great care to ensue that each bar weighs the amount that is declared on the package. We apologize for your experience and thank you for your patience as we work to make sure that every Larabar you get is the right weight and size.” Whew…I’m soooo relieved to know they’re working on making their bars the right weight and size according to “their” new weight and size requirements.

    Anyway. Thanks again for letting me spew (no pun intended). I’m excited to start making my own b00mb00m-bars, and to stop purchasing Larabars.

  4. Jill

    January 1st, 2012

    Wondering if it matters if you used raw almonds vs. roasted? Any thoughts?

  5. Grocery Shopping Guide « runliftlive

    January 9th, 2012

    [...] Larabar – Of course, you can make these yourself with a food processor if you are trying to save some $$$$.  Here are some homemade Larabar recipes. [...]

  6. ericat18

    February 8th, 2012

    I’ve never bought dates. I am looking and there seem to be many varieties. Which kind should I get?

  7. Sarah

    February 14th, 2012

    Hi Ericat,

    It depends on if you mean what brand of dates or what form they should be in. Your first priority is to buy whole, un-pitted dates (not diced or sweetened), so that they are fresh and not dry. Juicier dates will be sticker and hold the bars together better.

    As for the brand, you can buy fresh dates in small quantities (sold by weight, like cheese) at an upscale, specialty or natural foods grocery. As for larger quantities of brand-name dates, I’ve gotten Medjool brand dates and really enjoyed them, but in general dates that come in larger quantities and in a box are less likely to be fresh.

    Good luck and enjoy!

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