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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homemade Raw Bars

I have been a big fan of LÄRABARS--the purest form of energy with only unsweetened fruits, nuts, seeds and spices. Raw. Vegan. Kosher. Gluten free. Dairy free. Soy free. Delicious. Now that raw bars have become quite trendy, there are lots of companies that make them! So I started accumulating brands to find a favorite and, while I still stock plenty of LÄRABARS, I am truly in love with Raw Revolution bars because it adds agave nectar as a sweetener, but more importantly, it makes the bars a little wet and stickier (now, who doesn't like that?!). For the record, the Spirulina & Cashew flavor is my favorite... But, like most things, raw bars are even better when they are homemade!

The ingredient lists for these raw energy bars are so simple that I figured I would try to make them myself! I really like food "bars" where you get to mix and match lots of ingredients to make your own creation--from ice cream sundae bars to oatmeal bars to pasta bars to salad bars...So, I gathered lots and lots of different ingredients and laid it all out on the table along with a cutting board, knives, wax paper, mixing spoons, a nut grinder and some mixing bowls...and poof! Homemade Raw Bar Success.

I went by texture and flavor, so I am sorry to report that I don't have a precise recipe other than the ingredients list, but I am positive you won't need one--just trust your instinct and be creative and once you start mixing things, you will know whether more dry ingredients (nuts and nut meal, flax, seeds and spices) or wet items (dried fruits, honey (lots of antioxidants!), agave syrup (vegan option), etc.) are needed, etc. and every bar will be a unique creation!

I probably should mention one ingredient in particular so you aren't completely startled. After eating ground flax seeds regularly, my friend James introduced me to the magic of chia seeds. Yes, it IS from the famous Chia Pet--those little animal shaped pots that grew mini forests! Remember those?! Turns out, those little seeds are rich in omega-3, fiber, antioxidants, minerals and lots of other healthy goodies (they even help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar)! It's kinda like Jack and the Beanstalk and chia seeds are the magic beans! I have to point out they have some funny properties--when a seed gets wet, a gelatinous coating forms around the seed (and after eating them you will sometimes find a stray seed in your mouth an hour after eating...). I highly recommend you get your hands on some--I put them in oatmeal or yogurt and bake with them any way you would use poppy seeds (muffins, pancakes, etc.).

I had so much fun making these--maybe I will host a raw bar "pot-luck" where everyone brings a few ingredients and we all make some and share the bounty...

APRICOT-ALMOND-CARDAMOM: dried apricot, cashew, almond, honey, cardamom, ground clove, cinnamon, almond paste, ground flax.

DATE-PECAN-FENNEL: date, pecan, cashew, poppy seed, chia seed, honey, sesame seed, ground fennel.

SESAME-APRICOT-GINGER: dried apricot, cashew, almond, sesame seed, ginger sugar, flax, honey, cardamom.

PISTACHIO-FIG-POPPY: pistachio, dried mission fig, cashew, chia seed, poppy seed, almond paste, honey.

CHOCOLATE-CHAI-ALMOND: dates, cashews, almond meal, almond butter, honey, chia seed, poppy seed, cocoa powder, chai powder, almond paste.

They were all amaaaaazing, but the general consensus among my gracious testers was that the Pistachio-Fig-Poppy was the belle of the ball...and it was.

Note: These beauties have no preservatives (and stuff like flax seed spoils easily) so you will want to refrigerate them and eat them within 1-3 days or freeze them for longer storage.


Lindsay said...

Ummmm YUM. Let me know if that whole no-preservative, easy-spoilage thing causes you to need to dump a plateful of excess bars off at my doorstep ;)

lizsong said...

This is most excellent. I'm starting to explore how to make my own raw bars that are gluten/soy/dairy/ground nut free. (Talk about allergies!) Any other resources you might have would be incredibly helpful. Thanks so much! (Email:

laurakluga said...

I"m trying to make them as I'm writing you! My question is, did you bake them? If so, what temp and how long?

Morgan Lee said...

No, no baking necessary! That's what makes them "raw". You could refrigerate them once pressed into bars if you want them to firm up a little bit...but nothing in them requires any baking! Good luck! Tell me what you put in them--get creative!

Anonymous said...

Question: I cannot eat agave. Will raw honey work? Also, if I want to use whole almonds, raisins, cashews and blueberries (cooked berries) do you have any thought about what I can use to make them hold together?


Morgan Lee said...

Yes, honey will work just fine. There are so many sweetener alternatives out on the market as well - I just recently purchased Jerusalem Artichoke Syrup, which I think would work quite well! The cooked berries may also provide enough moisture to hold the nuts together and if it is too moist, almond meal can help a bit.

Tamara said...

I live in Oceanside and in Carlsbad, California there is a stall in the local markets thats called Bitchin' Sauce well they make a bar obviously called Bitchin' Bar they contain: dates, coconut, almonds, pecans, pepitas, flax meal, amazing grass raw reserve (no idea what it is!) and sea salt. They are the best raw, vegan bars I have ever had I'm going to attempt them soon.

Morgan Lee said...

@Tamara, you can totally re-create that at home!

Amazing Grass raw Reserve is a probiotic powder made by Amazing Grass.