Paleo Chocolate-Cranberry ‘LARA’ Bars

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Homemade-LARA-Bars-Dark-Chocolate-Cranberry-4809-682x1024I feel like we spend a FORTUNE on bars in this household.  No I don’t just feel it, I know it!  My middle child could sustain herself entirely on bars of almost any form.  Around here, some of our favorites are KIND bars and Larabars.  But at $1.20-1.79 a pop, that  is pretty pricey!!!

So when I came upon a recipe to create our own protein dense bars, I just HAD to try it.  I knew it would save me money, but unless it was delicious, who cares?!

Well, not only are these a ‘knock out of the ball park’ fabulous, they are easy to make too!  I think two things really set these apart and take them above and WAY beyond Larabars: the toasted nuts and the dark chocolate flavor!!  These are also much more moist than the original too.  I wrap individual portions in waxed paper and store them in the freezer for a grab and go snack…not that they ever last long.

My girls thought they were brownies….really!  They do hint at dark chocolaty brownie goodness, so if you’re like my girls, you’ll think you’re having a dessert!  I slightly tweaked a recipe I found on Elana’s Pantry.  This recipe is practically begging for tweaks and personalizing: change out the dried fruit, change the nuts, add in different goodies, have fun with it!

Makes 12 servings, depending on how you cut them (about 262 calories per bar)

Homemade LARA Bars - Dark Chocolate Cranberry-4800

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate-Cranberry 'LARA' Snack Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
  • 2½ cups pecans, lightly toasted (300 degree oven, spread out on a cookie sheet, for about 10 minutes, you'll will smell them, toasty and wonderful. Careful not to burn them, it will happen quickly!)
  • ¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened & high quality...makes a big difference in the taste here, I love Dagoba)
  • 15-20 large Medjool dates, pitted, or about 8-9 oz. NOTE: don't use other date varieties...these are the Cadillacs of the date world, much softer and more caramel flavors than other varieties.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Optional Add In's: coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, any dried fruit
  1. Blend toasted pecans and cacao powder in a food processor until powdery and coarsely ground. Do not process so long that you have nutbutter!
  2. Add in dates and process until blended into dry ingredients, this might take a minute!
  3. Pulse in the vanilla until well combined.
  4. Add dried cranberries, pulsing a few times to mix (you could also do this by hand, but I am lazy!)
  5. Press mixture into an 8x8 inch dish. Freeze or refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm, and then cut into 16 squares.


This was shared on Sugar Free Sundays,  Make Ahead Monday,  Love, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Kids in the Kitchen, Whole Foods Wednesdays, This Chick Cooks, Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Hearth & Soul, Thriving on Thursdays, Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, GAPS Friendly Fridays, Foodie Fridays, Friday Foodie Fight, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, My Meatless Monday, Better Mom’s Linky, Make Your Own Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Made From ScratchMonday,Monday Mania, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Lunchbox

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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks Tagged with: , , ,
24 comments on “Paleo Chocolate-Cranberry ‘LARA’ Bars
  1. I have a problem with only one thing….I KNOW you are not lazy!!! I am excited to try this Tessa….thanks!

  2. Tessa says:

    OK, maybe not, but I am NOT a stickler for looks when it comes to food and I always like minimizing the dishes, I HATE doing dishes! Let me know how they turn out, I had several adults try it and they were wowed!

  3. klmoreno says:

    yum, yum and double yum! i have to admit i was skeptical b/c I'm not a fan of Lara bars but these are awesome and way cheaper than store bought version!

  4. I am a fan of Lara bars because they don't have peanuts, sunflower seeds, rice, or soy (4 of my allergies/ sensitivities, and it's very hard to find a bar without at least one of these!) but don't usually buy them because of the price. I am so excited to try these!! Can't wait.

  5. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe at Make-ahead monday! Hope to see you again next week!

  6. Mellow says:

    Pinned! Looks great, thanks!

  7. Rogene says:

    I’m not a big fan of the commercial “bars” but I do occasionally make my own. Will have to try this recipe. Looks good.

  8. Tessa, I truly have to stop visiting your site until AFTER I’ve eaten something!! I’m drooling over this recipe! The cranberries and chocolate grabbed my attention, and then the addition of coconut would be perfect for us. Thanks for sharing!

  9. wonderful! thanks for sharing with Kids in the Kitchen! pinned and tweeted!

  10. Miz Helen says:

    Oh my goodness Tessa, these snack bars are just amazing! Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. Tessa, these look fantastic and just the thing I’ve been looking to try. Thanks so much for linking up at Thriving on Thursdays!

    Anne xx

  12. Sheryl says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your recipe is on Today’s Feature Post from Cast Party Wednesday! Thank You for sharing your recipe with us!
    —Sheryl @ Lady Behind The Curtain—

  13. Swathi says:

    Delicious chocolate bares, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop. Your recipe will be shout out at tomorrow’s Hearth and Soul blog hop at Zesty South Indian Kitchen

  14. Yum! Thanks for sharing with GAPS Friendly Friday! A reminder for all you GAPSters – remember to choose the honey, not the agave nectar, and skip the chocolate chips 😉

  15. I love larabars! I make mine with sunflower seeds- I want to try this chocolate cranberry variety with sunflower seeds as the base!

  16. Fudgy date goodness! Sign me up.Thanks for sharing it with us at Whole Food Wednesdays.

  17. I am so happy to make these- what a great-looking protein bar! Thanks for sharing this at Seasonal Celebration Sunday! Rebecca x

  18. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  19. I made these today and they are AWESOME!!! Thanks for another winning recipe :)

    Cassidy @ Cassidy’s Craveable Creations recently posted…Sweet Potato Casserole {Paleo & Egg Free}My Profile

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Paleo Chocolate-Cranberry ‘LARA’ Bars"
  1. […] I first made the Lara Bars Squared and posted them here, it really got my creative juices flowing.  There seemed to be endless […]

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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