Monday, March 18, 2013

Rum Carrot Cake Lara Bars with Raisins and Walnuts

I cook just like I create art - using a little of this, a little of that and a lot of imagination - until, one big mess later, I have something I'm satisfied with.  I rarely use recipes, and if I do, they're mainly for, inspiration.  My last foray into the world of food was different.  I've been making homemade lara bars for my 14-month-old son since they're healthy and he loves them (yay all around!).  The last batch was so temptingly delicious that I immediately made another batch (partly because my husband and son had already eaten most of the first, and partly so I could actually figure out what I'd done so right in order to record the recipe).  Without further explanation, I'd like to share my recipe for what I call Rum Carrot Cake Bars:

* 1 c. toasted coconut (broil on high, 1 1/2 minutes or until lightly golden brown - watch closely)
* 1/2 c. quinoa flakes
* 1/2 c. almond meal (or almonds ground to a fine powder in a food processor)
* 1 t. cinnamon
* 1/4 to 1/2 t. nutmeg according to taste
* 8-10 peeled, washed baby carrots
* 1 t. vanilla
* 1 t. rum flavor
* 1/2 c. raisins
* 6 pitted dates
* heaping 1/4 c. walnuts

(Note: A couple of items can be substituted for health or preference reasons.  1/2 cup of rolled oats may be substituted for either the coconut or almond meal. Walnuts and rum flavor are also optional.)

Separate 1/2 c. of the toasted coconut.  Reserve the other half.  Blend coconut, quinoa flakes, almond meal, cinnamon and nutmeg briefly in food processor, 5-10 seconds.  Add baby carrots, vanilla and rum.  Blend and pulse until finely chopped in.  Add raisins and dates.  Pulse until well mixed, leaving various sized bits for texture if desired.  Do the same with the walnuts.

The Rum Carrot Cake mixture can be rolled into small balls or pressed into a baking pan.  Use approximately a 6x9 pan lined with wax paper.  Either roll balls in remaining 1/2 c. of coconut or sprinkle over the top of bars before cutting.  Refrigerate.

Did you discover the mouthwatering joy of homemade Lara Bars a little late, like I did, or have you been a fan for years?  What's your favorite flavor / recipe?

(by Erin)