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I discovered the awesome world of Larabars a couple weeks ago, after seeing mention of them across several paleo blogs and forums. The only place I can could find them in town was at a local grocery store with a sizable organic section – at $1.59 per bar. Then, I stumbled on a box while bulk paleo shopping at Costco – $15.59 for 18, roughly $.86 per bar. Much cheaper, but still pricey. There are bunches of recipes for homemade versions online,but I’m still not sure how much the final cost would be.

In the spirit of experimentation, I (mostly) followed the recipe for Chocolate Larabars at 52 kitchen adventures.

The recipe calls for dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. I purchased the dates and a big can of mixed nuts from Costco (contains cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and peanuts); already had the cocoa at home. Cost – $23.28.

Homemade Larabars, ingredients

Homemade Larabars, ingredients

My first batch was a trial run, basically according to the recipe. Half a cup each of the mixed nuts and dates, 1 tsp of cocoa, small splash of vanilla extract. I pitted the dates, chopped them rough, and tossed them in the food processor. Beware, dates are sticky. Very, very sticky.

Homemade Larabars, chopped dates

Homemade Larabars, chopped dates

Then I rough chopped the nuts and tossed them in with the dates.

Homemade Larabars, chopped nuts

Homemade Larabars, chopped nuts

Those got pulsed several times until they were itty bitty. I sprinkled the cocoa over the top, pulsed a few more times, then added a splash of vanilla, and let the processor run until everything looked mixed.

Homemade Larabars, pulsed

Homemade Larabars, pulsed

Turned that mix out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and sort of mushed/rolled/shaped the mix into a wide bar slab. Remember where I said the dates were sticky?  The recipes I’ve found online all say to have the plastic wrap ready to go beforehand. I’m glad I listened. I had to wash my hands several times through the process, and they were still sticky.

Homemade Larabars, mixed and ready to shape

Homemade Larabars, mixed and ready to shape

Then cut off a slice off the end, took a bite, and fell in love. Heaven.

I loved it so much, I made a second batch, double the first.

Homemade Larabars, wrapped

Homemade Larabars, wrapped

These went into the freezer to store for later. They are a little smaller than a full larabar. I wanted to add shredded coconut to my bars, but forgot. Maybe in the next batch.

It’s hard to determine how much the homemade version costs. I imagine it would be close or maybe a little less than the cost of the Costco box, based on the cost of the box of dates and big jar of mixed nuts. I have enough dates and nuts left over for maybe 2 more full batches.  They were fun to make. I’m not going to stop buying the Larabars, especially if I can keep getting them so cheap at Costco. But hey, a little variety and experimentation doesn’t hurt!

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