Sophie started special needs preschool yesterday. It went so, so, so much better than I thought it might. Truth be told, it seemed to be harder for Milo than Sophie. His sad little voice whimpered “Suffee ah schoo-woh” the whole drive home and off and on the whole time she was gone. Her teacher said that she had one meltdown, but did beautifully otherwise.
I was just so happy to have her run into my arms at the end of class and exclaim happily “Mom! You came back!”
With the start of school upon us, I’m kicking up our snack rotation, since our morning snack needs to hold Sophie over from her 6:30am breakfast to her 12:30pm lunch. These almost-Larabars are great. Neither of my children likes nuts much unless they’re smooth or undetectable. I’ve found these bars are a great choice for snack–protein, naturally fruit-sweetened, an antioxidant boost from the cacao, and healthy fat from almonds and coconut.
In case you’re not sure about dates, I can assure you they’re not as scary as you think! I’ve got several recipes that use them. Chocolate Cherry Torte bars, Blueberry Energy Snack Bars, Pistachio “Truffles”, and Vegan Fudgy Bars.
Notes on the recipe:
- I love these cold, but they’re even better frozen, if I do say so myself. Enjoy them as you will!
- We make this recipe in our food processor (I like a little bit of texture, as seen here), but if you have a high-speed blender, you can use it to get a more velvety finish.
- I find Medjool dates at Costco in bulk, or at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have allergies or food sensitivities, many health food stores sell them in bulk bins. They can be cheaper this way, as you can buy exactly what you need.
- I use finely shredded unsweetened coconut here (Let’s Do Organic brand, purchased at Target), but if you can only find the large coconut, you can just plan on processing a bit longer. Bob’s Red Mill is another brand of unsweetened coconut. You can certainly use sweetened, if that’s all you can find or that’s what you prefer.
- Whole30 Note: Larabars are not highly encouraged on Whole30, but they are an acceptable snack as needed. All ingredients are clean, minimally processed, etc.
- 2 cups pitted dates (I use Medjool)
- 1 cup almonds (I use sliced)
- ½-3/4 cup finely shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼-1/2 tsp almond extract
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and pulse or blend until very smooth and the mixture comes together in a big lump.
- Press mixture out into an 8x8" pan lined with parchment. I use a mini-roller to get it extra smooth, but hands and fingers work just fine. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes to firm up a bit, then slice into squares or rectangles to serve.
- Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or 1 month in the freezer.