Tuesday, May 6, 2014

LaurelBars

Here is another recipe (or set of recipes) adapted from Camilla V. Saulsbury's Power Hungry. We are big Lärabar fans in this house and I was delighted to see a knock-off in Saulsbury's book. My eldest told me I should call my version LaurelBars and I loved her word-play and agreed.
For the most part I follow Saulsbury's proportions but I've made a few tweaks and created some of my own flavors. I have not yet experimented with them, but I'm thinking of adding pumpkin seeds to a bar at some point. I may also experiment with using some soaked and dried nuts, as the littlest in the family seems slightly sensitive to walnuts and may well prefer to have some of the tannins soaked away.
The method is the same for all the bars: only the nuts, fruits and other mix-ins differ. I have never yet soaked my dried fruits as I'm using ones from Trader Joe's that have a bit of oil on them or are very moist because of how they're packaged. If you use drier dried fruit, you may wish to soak in warm water 5-10 minutes and then dry off well before proceeding. However, I do find that my food processor is happier if I snip the larger fruits like dates and apricots before adding. In addition, I urge you not to be afraid to process the nut-fruit combo very, very well, almost until the food processor starts to balk a bit. If I don't do this, I find my bars end up too crumbly.

APRICOT-COCONUT BARS
1 c. raw unsalted cashews (whole or pieces)
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut (more if using large flakes)
1 1/3 c. dried apricots snipped into smaller pieces

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE BARS
1 c. walnuts and/or pecans
1/2 c. rolled oats (no need to use quick-cooking oats)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. dried blueberries
1/4 c. dates, snipped into smaller pieces

CRANBERRY-ORANGE BARS
1c. walnuts and/or pecans
1 tsp orange zest
1 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. dates, snipped into smaller pieces

CHOCO-COCO-CHERRY BARS
1 c. almonds
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TBSP mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 c. dried tart cherries
1/4 c. dates, snipped into smaller pieces

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS
1 c. dry roasted peanuts
1 1/4 c. packed pitted soft dates
3 TBSP mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
  1. Line as many loaf pans as batches of bars you're making with parchment, waxed paper or plastic wrap, leaving some overhang
  2. Place nuts and any other ingredients except dried fruit in the food processor and pulse until finely ground
  3. Add dried fruit and pulse A LOT (or even run the food processor on full for a minute or two) until the mixture is very well integrated, starts to clump, and your food processor starts to complain a bit
  4. Dump mixture into loaf pan and spread as evenly as you can. Using overhanging parchment etc, press down very firmly to compact the bars throughout the loaf pan
  5. Refrigerate bars at least one hour, then cut into whatever sized pieces you like (I usually do 1-inch squares so the girls can have several flavors at a time)
  6. If you want to keep the bars more than three days, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and store in a zipper-top bag in the freezer. I actually use an old cream puff box to store multiple varieties and it works great. Defrost for a half hour or so before eating or throw them in the microwave for a few seconds