almond vanilla chia seed pudding sous vide ribs breakfast mess twenty


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2017 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent


something to take with you

Recipe: cranberry pistachio orange lärabars

Did everyone have or is still having a nice holiday? I gave myself last week off after the rush of baking, gifting the baking, standing in long lines at the post office, packing up for Crested Butte, hosting a friend, and finishing our year end photo card. It’s been a nice week of more or less keeping off the interwebs to catch up on sleep, spend a lot of time on snow, give Kaweah lots of belly rubs, and become addicted to Downton Abbey.


fresh falling snow on the mountain

looking through a lovely ice sculpture in mountaineer square

cross country skiing on the crested butte nordic trails

ranch boundary



Not long after I had made the baked brie with cranberries and pistachios, I began to think what a lovely combination cranberries and pistachios make. Forget the brie – I’m all about the fruits and nuts! And one of my favorite places to enjoy fruits and nuts is outside in the backcountry, on the slopes, on the trails. Why not a cranberry pistachio Lärabar?

dates, pistachios, orange (zest), cranberries

put the pistachios in a food processor

coarse chop (coarser for a crunchier texture)



Lärabar doesn’t actually make this flavor, but it is based on the same principle of simplicity. Dates (pitted, please) are the primary binding ingredient, although the cranberries get a little sticky too… which is a good thing! I use shelled, raw, unsalted pistachios because they’re sweet and a pretty green color. You can use roasted salted pistachios if that is your preference. And don’t skip the orange zest because it does a lot to pick up the flavors.

put the dates and cranberries in the food processor

blend to a paste, but do leave chunks of cranberries recognizable

grate orange zest



Homemade Lärabars (or you can just call them fruit and nut bars) are our favorite quick energy snack to take on hikes, skis, or rides. I like to tuck them in my pack or my jacket pocket in case of an energy crash or a grumbly tummy. Jeremy and I both carry them when we travel because you never know when you’re going to get stuck out. They don’t spoil. They aren’t messy or smelly. They’re dense and satisfying. They are healthy and delicious.

four ingredients

the best way to mix it together is to knead it like dough

press into a baking dish or mini loaf pans (whatever you like) and freeze

slice while frozen (and be careful with the knife)



Now, you could make these into squares or cubes or balls or logs. My only warning is for those of you who plan to eat them out in the cold – the very cold. We routinely drop below 0°F overnight in Crested Butte and have bounced into the negative teens several times in the last ten days. A thin bar (1/3-inch thickness) is going to be much easier to bite and chew without breaking your teeth in really cold weather than a ball or cube.

these are certainly the prettiest bars i’ve made



I know I keep saying this with each new bar flavor I make, but these are my new favorites! They are pricier to make because of the cost of (organic) pistachios, but they are totally worth it. There’s nothing quite so happy-making as having a tasty homemade snack to look forward to when you’re out burning those calories.

erin absolutely approves of my new lärabar flavor!



Cranberry Pistachio Orange Lärabar
[print recipe]

1 1/2 cups dried Medjool dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1 orange, grated zest of

Place the dried dates and dried cranberries in a food processor and pulse until paste-like. Empty the dried fruit into a large mixing bowl. Pour the pistachios into the same food processor (no need to clean it, yay!) and pulse until coarsely chopped. Leave some large pieces of pistachios if you like a more crunchy texture. Empty the pistachios into the mixing bowl with the dried fruit. Add the grated orange zest. Mix well (your hand works best) and press into an 8×8-inch baking pan or two mini loaf pans. Place in the freezer for at least an hour. When the mixture is frozen, remove the contents from the pan (you may need to loosen it along the sides with a dull knife or thin metal spatula). Carefully slice the frozen block into desired shapes and sizes. Store in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator. Makes about 20 2×3.5-inch bars.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

homemade blueberry muffin larabar homemade cherry pie larabar sugar plums tahini-date salted caramels

21 nibbles at “something to take with you”

  1. Kristin says:

    Mmmmm. They look delicious! Have tried to get my goofy kids to eat Larabars, but they see dates on the ingredient list & won’t trust me that they’re so good. Maybe they wouldn’t ask me what was in a homemade one…

  2. lisa says:

    I love all the ingredients in these larabars and love to have some right now. In where I live, I don’t have to worry to break my teeth which I need to keep them intact and not spending a lot of $ for the implants.

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    These look dreamy! We make a peanut butter chocolate version at home, but I definitely need to try this flavour!

  4. Tiffany says:

    Brilliant!!

  5. newyorker says:

    Homemade fruit and nut bars are the best snack! Dates are so sticky – did you have any trouble with blending them in the food processor?

  6. jenyu says:

    newyorker – the softer dates blend much better than harder, more dried out dates. I try to use the mushiest dates for this.

  7. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    These look tasty. And so festive :)!

  8. Monique says:

    Having tried the other flavors, I am excited to try this one as well. I have been thinking of making a dried pineapple coconut almond labar bar building off of your recipes. Love these for hiking!

  9. Cindi says:

    What a great combo – pistachios and cranberries! And welcome to the Downton Abbey-crazed crowd. I’ve watched all 3 seasons at least twice and can’t wait for Season 4 in January. :) Happy, happy to you and yours!

  10. jill says:

    These look so yummy. We are still savoring your Christmas treats. OMG those pretzels! And one of my favs…the blueberry/pear square. Happy New Year to you three.
    ps- I LOVE DA, but can’t get TPH involved. The clothing, the details, the era….

  11. angelitakarmalita says:

    I am the worst when it comes to eating breakfast. I think this is a great idea for me as a new year begins to get me to eat something in the mornings, and the extra bonus is I have all of this in my house right now! I wish you and the butter household all the best in the New Year!

  12. Carla says:

    OMG are these good!!! Made them this afternoon..and I do believe they may be a tad better than then cherry ones. The ingredients are expensive,at least at Whole Foods, but so worth it.

    What a lovely way to start a New Year!!!

    All the very best to you and yours.

  13. A_Boleyn says:

    I’ve never heard of larabars but the flavours sound delicious.

  14. Margie says:

    “EnergizerBars”. … Four of my favorite favors smushed into a wee bit of heaven.

  15. Irene says:

    These look great! Do you have weight conversions for the ingredient amounts?

  16. Amy says:

    These (and your other bar) recipes look so tasty and perfect for my winter activities, but I am allergic to nuts, any ideas on replacements? Pumpkin seeds?

  17. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I was skeptical too when I first tried a Lärabar, but they are so good without leaving that sugary after effect in your mouth. I hope your kids will try it!

    lisa – I’ll send you some, Mom :)

    Katrina – I’ve always avoided the chocolate peanut butter kind because I am not a fan, but perhaps I should make some for Jeremy?

    Tiffany – :)

    Brandon – I know! I really love the green and red <3

    Monique - that sounds great!

    Cindi - happy happy, my dear!! xo

    jill - so happy you liked the goodies! xo

    angelitakarmalita - yes, they are great for quick energy or when you have to eat on the go. Happy new year!

    Carla - yay!! I love it when someone else loves a recipe that I love too! xo

    A_Boleyn - you should try it!

    Margie - ;)

    Irene - I do not, but it's not an exact science - there is plenty of wiggle room in the proportions.

    Amy - you can try pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, crisped rice?

  18. newyorker says:

    I just made these, and they are incredibly delicious. I halved the recipe and did a mix of cranberries and golden raisins (I think the latter goes well with dates). My mini food processor struggled a bit with the date mixture – it was super sticky, and I used the mushiest Medjools I could find – but luckily you don’t need to process it for that long before it breaks down. Kneading the mixture is sort of relaxing. I “slinged” 2 mini loaf pans – one with parchment and the other with plastic wrap – to help with removal after freezing. Both were very effective, but the plastic wrap one came out a little easier.

    Next time, I will add some coarsely chopped cranberries and pistachios to the mixture for more texture. Will also try adding a pinch of kosher salt. I know salt is intended to bring out the sweetness of sugar in baking, but here I’m hoping it will just add a bit of contrast to cut the sweetness. Don’t know if that is logical, but we’ll see!

    Jen, thanks for the great recipe! It’s definitely a keeper (and keepers are hard to find).

  19. Cranberry Pistachio Bars | gingembre et vanille says:

    […] Inspired from this recipe. […]

  20. Cranberry Pistachio Bars | says:

    […] Inspired from this recipe. […]

  21. RNGR says:

    Beautiful Photos! Of the trail and the food. This looks like a great one for me to try. Thanks for sharing :)

leave a reply