Dried Cherry & Nut Protein Bars: Larabar Copycat
My high school is 45 minutes from my house. This means that I will spend at least 3 hours in the car if I want to go to a Friday night football game or attend a dinner FFA meeting. I often get bored sitting in the car for so long. I turn my music up loud, roll down the window, and snack to keep me focused.
I try to keep snacks in my car at all times so when I get hangry or a headache comes on, I have something to gnaw on. With the weather heating up it is important that my snacks won’t melt in the heat. I love to keep granola and protein bars because the fill me up with good ingredients and are packed with nutrients. One of my favorite bars are Larabars. They are a perfect size and made from 3 or 4 ingredients depending on the flavor. The one drawback I have from them is the price.
I tried my hand at recreating the Larabar with sun dried cherries. I use a food processor to finely chop walnuts, dates, and cherries. It creates the perfect texture and most similar to the actual bar. I made a few extra additions with sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. The vanilla bean is optional, but I think it adds a great flavor. It reminds me of eating cherry pie a la mode.
Once the mixture is combined in the bowl of a food processor, I transfer the mix to a parchment lined baking dish. The bars need to set up in the refrigerator. Once set, I slice them into individual bars and wrap in plastic wrap. Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to take them with you!
Cherry Protein Bars: Larabar Copycat
1 1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup dried cherries
8 pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1” vanilla bean pod (optional)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they resemble a course meal. Add in cherries and dates. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together when squeezed by your hand. Pulse in salt, cinnamon, and the seeds on a 1” section of a vanilla bean pod.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment lined loaf pan. Using a rubber spatula or your hands, compact the mixture until firm. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Carefully remove from the pan and cut into bars using a sharp knife. Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The bars can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper individually after cutting. Store in the refrigerator.