Homemade Lara Bars (+ Some News!)

Homemade Spiced Chocolate Lara Bars // www.80twenty.caI have some big news to share!

As some of you already know, I’m currently taking a year off of naturopathic school to pursue some other fun and exciting opportunities. Late last summer, I made the difficult choice to embark on a new path for a period of time to see where life would take me. There have been challenges and I’ve certainly questioned my decision from time to time, but I couldn’t be happier with it all.

Homemade Spiced Chocolate Lara Bars // www.80twenty.caHomemade Spiced Chocolate Lara Bars // www.80twenty.caOne of the great many opportunities that has come about is a chance I’ve had to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine. After years of dreaming, last week it all finally came together when I started the chef training program at George Brown College! It’s an 8-month intensive training program that’s teaches traditional French culinary skills. And though my mom, my aunts, and my grandma have all gifted me with a pretty awesome foundation (thanks, ladies!), I wanted to have more formal training so that I could really understand food theory, enhance my recipe development skills, and feel more confident with my substitutions when making healthier modifications in the kitchen. It’s all for the greater purpose of serving you in some way. In just a week and a half of classes, I’ve already learned so much. I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Homemade Spiced Chocolate Lara Bars // www.80twenty.ca What does this means for you? Well, one would hope that the blog quality content will only improve, but I’ll let you be the judge of that! In all reality, it will mean that I’ll be working my butt off in school trying to become a really skilled chef; and along the way, I’ll be sharing some of the things I learn with you. I’m still aiming to post twice a week, but please forgive me if, on occasion, I can only make it a one post week. For those of you who have emailed me about selling food or doing catering, thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is, in part, your belief in me that has driven this decision. There will be more serious opportunities for that down the line.

Homemade Lara Bars // www.80twenty.caMeanwhile, if you want to keep up with what I’m doing outside of this space, you can always follow me over on FacebookTwitterInstagram ( my fave #80twentychefschool), Pinterest, and Google+ (just getting to know this one!). Here on the blog, I think you’ll see more recipes that are quick, simple, and healthy–exactly what I need to keep myself going through these busy months. These Homemade Lara Bars fit that bill exactly. I developed them this past weekend after I found myself struggling to make it through a 4-5 hour class without a break. Don’t tell my instructors, but I’ve been sneaking these bars into my pocket for an easy snack to keep my blood sugar from dropping too low. They’re loaded with nuts and a few dates, so they’re high in fibre and good-for-you fats. Cut into bars, they provide a truly easy, healthy fix for when you need a little pick-me-up. And don’t even get me started on the warm spice combination! It’s a perfect addition to the wintery weather we’re having. Enjoy!Homemade Lara Bars // www.80twenty.ca

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Spiced Chocolate Lara Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Gluten-free, vegan
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
With homemade Lara bars this quick and delicious, you'll never buy them again.
Ingredients
  • 8 pitted medjool dates (about 150g)
  • 1 cup of raw mixed nuts (or about 100g) *I used ⅓ each of pistachios, cashews, and almonds
  • The zest of one navel orange, preferably organic (try not to get any of the bitter white pith)
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs, optional (but totally awesome)
Instructions
  1. Place the dates, nuts, zest, cardamom, cinnamon, cocoa poweder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the contents are chopped into small pieces and intermixed with one another. With the food processor running, add the hot water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms into a ball. Add the cocoa nibs, if using, and pulse a few times to incorporate them, but not pulverize. They're there to add crunch!
  2. Line an 8” x 8” square baking pan (or a slightly smaller container) with parchment paper and turn the mixture out into the pan. Using damp hands and a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon (an offset spatula is better), spread the mixture out until it is about a ¼-inch thick. (Note: If you’re using an 8” x 8” square baking pan for this, your mixture will not fill the container. Simply even it off so that it forms a ¼-inch rectangle within the pan.)
  3. Place the pan in the freezer for an hour or two to set, you want the bars to be easy to cut and to remove, not too sticky. Cut into 8 bars. For optimal freshness, the bars will keep in the fridge for about a week if covered, and in the freezer, if wrapped well, for about a month.

 

27 Comments

  • Reply January 16, 2014

    Kelly @ Kelly Bakes

    OH!! I am so so so thrilled for you! Congratulations on culinary school! I remember on the drive to BSP last summer you were talking about being torn between naturopathic school and culinary school. I’m so glad life has given you the opportunity to explore both routes so you can blend them together and let them shape your dreams! You amaze me with your courage to pursue new dreams with confidence… and you also amaze me with what you create. These sound fantastic! I got a Jawbone Up for Christmas and it’s basically confirmed what I already knew about myself: I need more fruits/veggies and less sugar in my life. Love that these are gluten free and vegan too! xo

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Oh Kelly, you are always so great at making me feel good. YOU inspire ME! Thank you sooooo much for your kind words, support, and friendship. You are truly a gem! Can you believe we met through blogging?! On a different note, I’m waiting for my Fitbit Force to come in. I can’t wait to try it out. I’d love to know how you love the Jawbone. Hope you try the Lara Bars. They’re tasty! xo

  • Reply January 16, 2014

    Kathryn

    Congrats on the new and exciting path you’re taking! I’m so excited to see what you learn in your training and all the delicious recipes you’re going to be sharing with us over the next year!

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Thanks, Kathryn! You are such a great supporter of my blog. I’m so grateful!! I’m in a baking class right now and am feeling really inspired to make your meyer lemon loaf. :)

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Winnie

    I am so happy for you Kris! Also a little jealous (ok a lot jealous). Can’t wait to hear more about the culinary program!

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Haha, well I’m also jealous of you (Ms. accomplished author of an awesome book!). Can’t wait to share as I continue to learn more!

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Janine

    Exciting news Kris, congrats! Made a version of these today, yum! Perfect food to put in the pocket for a day of skiing tomorrow. I hope you are enjoying being back in school!

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Yay! Enjoy skiing! They are a great snack for exactly that.

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Aimee @ Simple Bites

    A fun new chapter! Congratulations, Kris. Keep a journal handy as culinary school is a veritable gag reel of experiences – highs and lows both! Can’t wait to hear more about your year.

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Thanks, Aimee! I can already start to see what you’re talking about!

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Isabelle @ Crumb

    Congrats, lady! I am so excited for you… this is such a big, amazing, wonderful step, and I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures.
    PS: I see you’re waiting on a FitBit… just got mine earlier this week, but I’m already in love. Funnest gadget EVER.

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      Thanks!! I’m simultaneously thrilled and still a bit like a deer in the headlights. Also, what??! Where did you get the Fitbit from?

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Talia Marcheggiani

    Congratulations, Kris! I know what it’s like to be faced with difficult decisions and I commend you on following your heart. I have already always thought of you as the real deal in the world of culinary magic! I look forward to what 8 months of chef school will do for you! Best of success. I will continue to come here to perk my unmotivated cooking self up from time to time. Your photos, words and gravitation to unexpected and delicious food combinations are very inspirational!

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Kris

      This might just be the loveliest comment I’ve ever received! Thank you so much, Talia. :)

  • Reply January 19, 2014

    Amanda

    So happy to hear that it’s awesome so far!

    • Reply January 21, 2014

      Kris

      Thanks, girl! We have to make good an that hangout soon. xo

  • Reply January 20, 2014

    Niki O'Neil

    These look so delicious – Your photography is beautiful! I have a similar recipe but I make them into bliss balls instead :) Congrats on your decision; how exciting!! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures :) – Niki x

    • Reply January 21, 2014

      Kris

      Hi Nikki, Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Bliss balls are also such a great idea (and a lot easier to sneak into a classroom!). :) I make similar energy-type balls, but haven’t yet tried these in that form. This might be my favourite flavour combination, so I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Reply January 20, 2014

    Jessica

    Can you substitute seeds for nuts? I unfortunately have a nut intolerance :(

    • Reply May 23, 2014

      Kris

      Jessica, I’m sure you’ve long forgotten about leaving this comment!! I’m so sorry, but I literally just got it! On a rare occasion, a comment gets stuck in the abyss of the internet and I think this might be what happened with yours. I really do apologize for the late, and perhaps no longer even relevant, response. I hope this provides some help nonetheless. I have not made this with seeds, but I do make sunflower seed butter pretty regulary and I suspect that sunflower seeds would make a fantastic substitution in here. I can’t say for sure, but now that I’ve gotten your comment, I think I’m going to try it out. If you decide to make them this way, I’d love to know how it goes. Thanks for your patience. :)

  • Reply January 21, 2014

    April

    I have trouble with orange, is it necessary or would lemon zest work instead?

    • Reply January 21, 2014

      Kris

      Hi April,

      You could try lemon zest, though I haven’t tried it myself. I think it would go well, but I can’t guarantee it. If you’re unsure, leave it out entirely. They’ll still be good. If you decided to try it with lemon zest or without anything at all, I’d love to know how they turn out. Good luck!

  • Reply January 22, 2014

    Sofia

    Hi Kris! I’m new to your beautiful blog and so glad that I found it.
    Congrats on starting culinary school!
    I did some continuing education courses at George Brown a few years ago, but put those classes aside to go back to school for holistic nutrition, so my path is similar to yours but flipped. I’m excited to follow along on your journey!

    • Reply January 22, 2014

      Kris

      Thanks for stopping by, Sophia! And thanks for the congratulations. It does sound like our paths are very similar. So glad you found me because now I also found your gorgeous blog! :)

  • [...] anything like us, you keep Lara Bars of all flavors stocked in your desk, making these Homemade Lara Bars from 80 Twenty—featuring dates, mixed nuts and a hint of orange zest—the perfect go-to snack [...]

  • Reply February 7, 2014

    Jessie

    Hi Kris,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I translated this to a thermomix recipe- works brilliantly! I also made it into balls instead of bars.
    So so so delicious. Thank you very much for sharing.

    My Thermomix version:

    Ingredients
    • 8 pitted medjool dates (about 150g)- cut in half
    • 1 cup of raw mixed nuts (or about 100g) *I used ? each of cashews, almonds and hazelnuts.
    • The zest of one navel orange, preferably organic
    • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
    • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 2.5 tbsp. cocoa powder
    • A generous pinch of salt

    Instructions
    1. Place the nuts and orange zest in the TM bowl. Mill for 10 seconds on Speed 9.
    2. Add the dates, cardamom, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt to the TM bowl and mix for 20 seconds on Speed 6 or until well combined.
    3. Scoop out about ¾ of a tbsp. at a time to roll into balls.
    4. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

  • Reply March 27, 2014

    Jamie

    Finally found your actual blog! Just wanted to let you know both foodgawker and bloglovin are using your content to lure clicks to their ads. :(

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: