Chocolate Date Bars (Larabars)

Credit here goes to my good friend Katie, who showed me this recipe. She found it while browsing Pinterest, and the link for the original recipe is here. Katie kept raving about these Larabars, so I just had to try making them.

Larabars are a brand of fruit and nut bars that use natural ingredients and come in a variety of flavours. I have tried several of them, but not the peanutbutter chocolate chip ones because I am allergic to peanuts. With some modifications, I made a peanut-free version of these Larabars, inspired by Katie and the blog I mentioned above.

Ingredients
1 lb medjool dates (I get mine at Costco. I also only had 15, but the recipe called for 30)
1/2 cup raw or roasted almonds (no salt, preferably)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp feaux peanut butter (I used Wow Butter. Another nut butter would work well too)
1 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (ie. dark, no milk powder)

I put the almonds in a food processor and processed lightly, until the almonds crushed into small pieces. I took them out and put all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips into the food processor and food processed the mixture. (My tiny one-litre food processor couldn’t handle the dough, so when I make them again I will process the dough in smaller batches.) Lastly, I processed the mixture again with the chocolate chips added.

I formed the dough into a ball, placed it between two sheets of wax paper (parchment paper works too), and flattened the dough into a 1/2 inch-tall rectangle, using my finger tips (a rolling pin would work too). I refrigerated the dough for about an hour and then cut the dough into bars, around 3 inches by 1 1/2 inches. I wrapped the bars in small pieces of waxed paper and kept them in the fridge until I wanted to eat them.

20150325_171841These made an excellent snack for an extra boost of energy. I need all the energy I can get these days to get through my last three weeks of school!

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Cookies and Ice Cream

Of course ice cream can be vegan (while being super simple and cheap)! A lot of the vegan ice creams I have seen in stores have been quite expensive, usually using tofu or coconut as the “cream”. I have found a very simple recipe from following Vegucated on Facebook, and lately they have been posting a lot of recipes for vegan ice cream, including this site. I plan on trying some of these recipes out, as I have heard coconut ice cream is fantastic. But, for now, here is a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

Ingredients
2 bananas
1 tbsp peanut butter (I use soy nut butter because of my allergy)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

A few hours before I wanted to eat the ice cream, I pealed the bananas and put them in the freezer. Once the bananas were frozen, I placed all the ingredients in a food processor and blended until really smooth. I scooped the ice cream into a container and froze it for about an hour, until the ice cream was scoopable. TaDa!

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A few weeks ago I made vegan cookies that went really well with this ice cream, but were also great on their own. Here is a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies, from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton.

Ingredients
1 cup cake and pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup crushed pecans
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup oil (I used grape seed oil)
1/4 cup dried cherries

I combined all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then stirred in the chocolate chips and pecans. In a separate bowl I mixed together the maple syrup, extracts, oil, and cherries, then added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Then, I scooped the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making about 12 cookies, and flattened each cookie slightly. The cookies were baked for 11 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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So here is a cookies and ice cream combo that is delicious, nutritious, and simple. While the cookies are definitely less “healthy” than the ice cream, they sure add a yummy crunch to this cream-less ice cream.