I am hooked on making homemade Lara-like bars (like these Coconut Creme and Chocolate Espresso bars), and seem to always have a batch in my fridge for snacking on. I have a huge sweet tooth, and they actually feel like a dessert to me, even though there is no sugar added. I was chatting with a friend the other day and she was saying how they looked good, but that one of her daughters is allergic to most nuts, so she was looking for a nut-free alternative. I told her I would fiddle around and let her sample what I came up with. These were a hit—with my friend and her daughters, my family, and a few of my other friends that I passed out samples to. Whether you are allergic to nuts or not, you will love these easy snack bars! They come together in just 10 minutes, and last in the fridge for a week or two.
You can adjust this to fit the contents of your pantry or your preference. Just keep the proportions pretty close. As long as you end up with a “sticky dough” you should be ok!
40 g dried pineapple (1/2 c) (I got mine at Trader Joes—no sugar, no sulphites)
10 dates (200 g)
½ c sunflower seeds
½ c hemp seeds
1 c coconut
2 T coconut oil
1 t vanilla
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ c puffed brown rice cereal (optional: they stay crispy for a day or so, and then absorb the moisture. They lose their crunch, but still taste great!)
2 T sesame seeds, divided
Break up the pineapple in your food processor until it is in small chunks. Add dates, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and coconut. Pulse together until it is a crumbly mixture, starting to stick together. Add coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and pulse again. Remove from food processor and place in a bowl with puffed rice and 1 T sesame seeds. Knead together with your hands until the rice puffs are evenly distributed.
Press mixture into an 8×8 inch pan, lined in each direction with parchment paper (like a cross). You might need to wet your hands to keep your hands from sticking! Once it is relatively flat, sprinkle remaining sesame seeds over the mixture and press with your fingers. Place in the freezer to firm up for 10-30 minutes (or longer, it’s fine). Remove from freezer once set and cut into squares, triangles, or bars. Store in fridge. Enjoy!