Saturday, May 26, 2012

Homemade Plastic-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Larabars

Before starting the 20 minute beach clean ups, I regularly posted about the little things I do to help minimize my (negative) impact on the environment.  I'm still always doing my best and working to make my life more environmentally friendly while not on the beach... so I think it's time I start getting back to sharing more of what I'm doing off the beach!

For the past several years, I have been in the process of reducing the amount of plastic we use.  It's something I started because I wanted to reduce the amount of trash we sent to the landfill, but as I progressed through the beach clean ups it became apparent that I wanted to limit my use of plastic because it's polluting our environment on so many levels.  Because of plastic packaging, there are many things we haven't eaten in years and many things that we've never even had... like LARABARS.  In an attempt to give my kids some variety in their snacks, I became intrigued with LARABARS... well... ok, not LARABARS... more so the energy balls that I was seeing a lot of raw foodies make.  I looked at many different recipes and quickly learned that I could totally make them... AND do it plastic-free!!

Of course, since I was looking for something for my kids... it took me a bit to find the perfect fit for them.  It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that the recipe they ended up loving contained chocolate!  The ingredients are simple: Nuts, chocolate chips, dates and peanut butter.  That's it.  Four ingredients that I get bulk to create a mouthwatering (kind of) healthy snack.  Tasting a bit like a candy bar these are snacks that my kids are always excited about and I'm happy to make them for them! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls 
(aka Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip LARABAR)

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup organic chocolate chips
1 cup dates (pitted)
1 heaping TBSP peanut butter

(Optional: 1 tsp cocoa powder)

In a food processor, pulse almonds and chocolate chips until finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the machine stops hopping (the dates will be a small uniform size).  Add the peanut butter and process until combined.  Once the mixture looks done, put a bit in your hand and squeeze to see how it holds together.  It should feel moist and hold together nicely.  If the mixture feels dry and isn't holding shape... add a bit more peanut butter and/or a date or two.

Roll into balls OR to make bars press into a parchment lined pan.  Refrigerate until firm.

Store refrigerated in a covered container and snack at will :)