Grant discovered the LÄRABAR a few years ago when he bought some for us for a day of hiking. We were quickly hooked. Once Jasper could eat real food, he became a huge fan of them too. The only downside to the LÄRABAR? They’re usually at least a dollar a bar, and they’re individually packaged (which is how they stay so moist and delicious without the use of preservatives). Around the time we figured out how much Jasper likes LÄRABARs, I found a recipe to make a homemade version to save money and packaging. Grant and Jasper love the homemade versions and affectionately refer to them as SÄRABARs. I refer to them as “meltdown stoppers” because having one on hand single-handedly stops a Jasper meltdown in its tracks.

You’ll need a food processor for these in order to puree the dried fruit down to the right consistency. Try them for yourself!

A poorman’s LÄRABAR, loosely adapted from Enlightened Cooking’s recipe

1 cup dried fruit  (I vary the dried fruit based on what I have on hand, but I almost always use dates as the base for the sweetness they provide. For this batch, I used 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 dried apricots)
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts (Again, I use what I have on hand. For this batch, I used almonds, but walnuts are my favorite)
A dash of cinnamon (or nutmeg is yummy here too)

Rule of them: Use 1 cup of fruit to every 2/3 cup of nuts. You can double of halve the batch based on your needs. Get creative with your concoctions, and check out Enlightened Cooking’s variations for ideas.


  1. Place the nuts in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Dump the finished nuts into a separate bowl.

  2. Place the dried fruit in the food processor (the fruit will pick up any leftover remnants from the nuts) and pulse until the dried fruit becomes a ball of stickiness – it takes a solid couple of minutes.
  3. After you have the fruit paste, divide the “fruit ball” in half until you have about ten (give or take) equally sized portions of the fruit. Take each portion and roll it in the nuts. You kind of squish it around until the nuts are incorporated into the fruit and the result is not sticky to the touch. It takes some practice, but it’s fun once you get the hang of it. If you have older children, this would be a perfect project for them. You can either shape them into bars like the real thing, or if you want smaller portions, sometimes we make them into a cookie shape. The finished product isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but they are delicious!