homemade coconut larabars

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

Coconut larabars.  These beauties are (almost always) a weekly staple around here.  My girls affectionately know them as "ballet bars."  These bars are the perfect protein-packed, energy, and satiating snack for children and adults alike.  Ours always come out of the fridge by late afternoon when everyone is ready for something a little sweet and I'm wanting my dancers to have something real and substantial in their tummies for ballet (and to make it until dinner).

Powerful Protein: almonds +cashews

Energy (and nature's sweetener): dates

Satiating* & brain-growing fats: unsweetened coconut + coconut oil

*Satiating means to satisfy your appetite.  I love satiating snacks for my kids in particular (high fat is the trick) because my kids seriously are actually content/satisfied with these brain-boosting foods instead of the high and then major low (in blood-sugar, thus mood, attention, etc.) that grainy, starchy, carby snacks do to them.  

Why I really, really love these bars?  They literally take 5 minutes to make and are no-bake.  And you can be happy about the ingredients in yours and your kids' snack.

(Slightly modified from the awesome coconut bars from My Whole Food Life.)

homemade coconut larabars

Makes 20-30 bars

1 cup almonds

1 cup salted cashews (either the almonds or the cashews need to be salted)

25-30 dates (use fewer for less sweet, full 30 dates for a traditional larabar)

1.5 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

4 TBSP coconut oil (room temperature)

4 TBSP water

shake of cinnamon (optional)

Topping:

1/2 unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Blend the nuts into a fine grounded consistency with a food processor. While they are being ground, add dates, coconut, coconut oil, and water. The mixture will begin to turn into a dough. Pulse a few times to make sure the mixture is well incorporated.

Turn over the mixture onto the prepared parchment paper and pan. Using clean hands, press the coconut mixture evenly into the pan. Your hands will be greasy from the coconut oil when you're finished. Clean your hands and sprinkle the top of the bars with shredded or flaked coconut. Press the coconut gently on top of the bars.

Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes so the coconut oil will solidify and the bars will be firm. (In a pinch, you can also throw the bars into the freezer for a few minutes.) Once firm to the touch, remove parchment lining from pan and cut into bars.

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

Process.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

Press.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

Top.

Refrigerate.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

Slice and enjoy.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

These are awesome protein and energy snacks to always have on hand in the fridge.  (They do best in the fridge because the coconut oil stays in a solid state to keep the bars quite firm and easy to handle.)

Shredded and flaked coconut as toppings give the bars a totally different look and texture.  Experiment with both.  And if you don't have shredded and you want shredded (my kids are less intimidated with shredded) process your flaked coconut in the foot processor or blender.  This particular batch uses freshly shredded coconut on top.

homemade coconut larabars
homemade coconut larabars

I'd love to hear if you try them!