Recipe: homemade blueberry muffin lärabars
You may recall how I declared in a previous post that cherry pie was my favorite LÄRABAR flavor. I was prompted to try making them myself after picking my jaw up from the floor at Whole Foods when they rang me up for a dozen LÄRABARs. They carry a large assortment of flavors and I wanted to pack some with Jeremy for his meeting in South Africa back in February. It has become a routine to carry portable food with us since our graduate school days of cancelled flights and being stranded in airports when nothing is open.
cashews, dates, dried blueberries, lemon, vanilla bean
process the dried blueberries
One of the new flavors I tried was blueberry muffin. It has a bright and buttery flavor compared to the deep earthiness of the cherry pie LÄRABAR. I flipped the wrapper over and looked at the ingredients. Again – the beauty of the LÄRABAR is the simplicity of its components. I had everything on hand and set about replicating it. You may or may not encounter this, but when I ran the dried blueberries through my food processor, it looked like nothing happened to them. If you pick one up, you’ll see it is full of cuts, but still resembles an intact dried blueberry. No problem.
from the food processor: dried blueberries, cashews, dates
grate some lemon zest
scrape the seeds from half a vanilla bean
If you are tempted to skip the lemon zest or the vanilla bean seeds, please don’t. I think these give such a nice depth of flavor to the mix. Without them, the bar would taste somewhat flat. Trust me, they make a huge difference. And before you ask (I know someone is going to ask, because no one reads the posts…), I wouldn’t recommend vanilla extract as a substitute because it’s a liquid rather than a sticky paste, and the flavor is different. Just get the damn vanilla bean. I buy mine organic and in bulk from here.
press into a pan
This recipe was a smidge easier to mix together than the cherry pie recipe. And it smelled fantastic. I pinched off a little to taste and was surprised at how much it resembled an actual blueberry muffin. I liked it. I liked it a lot. More than the cherry pie. I was alone in the kitchen (well, except for Kaweah who was keenly interested in my activities) and looked around. “This is my new favorite!” I shouted, waving the little sample in the air. I decided against cutting them to the same size as the commercial LÄRABAR because it left me with odd pieces and well – it’s just stupid. I cut mine into ten equal pieces from a 8.5×8.5-inch square. Duh.
cut into bars
berry, nutty, fruity goodness
There is no reason why you can’t make these into balls or cubes or sticks or logs. We tend to prefer bars because they pack efficiently in our pockets, backpacks, or luggage, and they are easier to eat than cubes or balls. And because we love to eat them at home, we already knew they would be golden in the backcountry (you never want to take food that no one wants to eat – that’s just carrying dead weight). Perfect boost of energy and delicious too!
jeremy happily fuels up on a backcountry ski
Homemade Blueberry Muffin LÄRABARs
based on the LÄRABAR site
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup dates, pitted (use Medjools over Deglets – they bind better)
2 cups cashews
1 lemon, grated zest of
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds of
Chop the blueberries in a food processor. I would say until they become a semi-paste, but mine never got to that state. If you whirl them around for a bit and nothing seems to change, stop the processor and examine one of the berries – if it is cut up in several places, it should be ready and will combine easily when mixed. Place the blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Chop the dates in the food processor until gooey and scrape those into the mixing bowl with the blueberries. Chop the cashews in the food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs. Empty the cashews into the mixing bowl. Add the grated lemon zest and the vanilla bean seeds to the fruits and nuts. Mix thoroughly by hand (knead it if you have to) and press into an 8 or 9-inch baking pan to about 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then turn the square out onto a cutting board. Slice to desired size and shape. Makes 10 1.7 x 4.25-inch bars.