I have lately been struggling with making it to lunch without being really hungry. I wanted to find something small to tide me over that is also all natural and healthy. My brother and sister-in-law gave me a basket full of health foods for my birthday this year that I absolutely loved. One of the items in the basket was a Larabar. If you have never had one, they taste amazing and they are usually just dates and nuts. Depending on the flavor, there will be other ingredients. I thought about just stocking up on these, but they can be kind of pricey so I needed an alternative. And I found one!Mama Pea’s recipe for Cookie Dough Larabars! You can find the recipe here. Mama Pea (aka Sarah Matheny) is the hilarious author of the Peas and Thank You book and website. Please check her out, if you never have. She has great, easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. Nikki and I have tried several and have not been disappointed.
My dear wife had Bunco last night so I had the house and all it’s many appliances to myself. I pulled out the Cookie Dough Larabar recipe and assessed what was needed. I am very, VERY literal when it comes to recipes. I am definitely a novice cook and I have to follow the directions exactly or I get flop sweat and start fidgeting. And may the good Lord help us if there are pictures because I have to match them exactly. My poor wife has endured the brunt of this recipe rage too many times to count (I really must buy her some flowers). I think I can trace this anxiety back to that time I tried to make biscuits and some people spit them out immediately, some people asked “What’s wrong with you?” and one unlucky man had to get his stomach pumped.
The first thing I needed were pitted dates. My mom donated some of her stash since I couldn’t find any at Kroger (I have since found out that they have dates at the local farmer’s market. Thanks, Blair!), so all that was left to do was pit them. This is a very sticky process, but all you have to do is slice the date, force the halves apart and remove the tiny pit. I hated to just throw the pits out, but I really didn’t know anything else I could do with them. Any suggestions?
The next step was to blend the dates together with vanilla extract and sea salt until finely chopped. I loaded everything into my blender, pressed the button and shouted at a barking Gawain. This did not go well because I forgot that I don’t have a Vitamix, I have a Votamix that I bought from a street vendor at the county fair. The dates were not chopped but stuck to the sides of the blender and refusing to slide into the spinning blades of death. Cue flop sweat. I decided that I should have done this in the food processor so I took the bucket of almond meal, dumped it into a container and then transferred the blenders contents to the processor. This worked much better and I added the almond meal back to the processor with some chocolate chips. The recipe stated that now I needed to pulse until a dough started to form. Well, I had my idea of dough (cookie, of course) and that is what I hoped to see. It never really formed up as a dough, in my opinion, and I probably pulsed it way too many times. The end result was this:I then poured this “dough” onto some spread out wax paper, folded it over and mashed it into a square. I placed the dough in the refrigerator overnight to firm up (per the recipe). This morning I cut it into bars with a pizza cutter. These taste really good, which is a testament to the recipe because I sure had nothing to do with it.