I’m on day two of my sugar-free week. It’s going okay, but I nearly cried today when I ordered a burger for lunch (a splurge anyway, I know) and realized after the waitress left that I would not be able to have any ketchup on my burger. Those who know me can tell you that I am not a “just a little ketchup, please” kind of girl. In my entire 30 years of life, I’m pretty sure every burger I’ve ever eaten has been accompanied by at least a 1/2 cup of ketchup. Not today, though. I flagged the waitress down and asked her if she could please put some tomato on my burger, to kindof take the place of the ketchup. It was actually delicious, and I feel very proud of myself for sticking to my no-sugar goal (even though I was staring across at the Hubs’ burger and fries, liberally drizzled with ketchup, but I digress…).
One thing I know I can have this week is Larabars. If you haven’t tried them, they’re basically dried fruit and nuts blended in interesting flavor combos. My favorites are the coconut cream pie and the cherry pie flavors, although the chocolate chip brownie is pretty great too(But, I can’t have that one this week because of the sugar in the chocolate chips…sugar, it’s everywhere). These little bars are super flavorful and great for kicking a sweet craving in the butt. Unfortunately, in my area Larabars are a whopping $1.50 apiece, and I don’t think I’m a fan of spending $10.50 just on Larabars this week. Happily, there are tons of homemade faux-larabar recipes on teh interwebs. After much research, I settled on a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie to base my own version on.
These bars came together in about 5 minutes, and I must confess I was not prepared for how delish they are. They taste exactly like oatmeal raisin cookie dough, without all the bad stuff in it. This recipe made me 8 faux-larabars for around $4 in ingredients. Can’t beat that! I sliced mine into bars, and I’m storing them ready-wrapped in the fridge so I can grab one mid-day when my usual tea-time sweet craving hits. I also plan to head back over to Chocolate Covered Katie to try her other faux-larabar recipes asap.
Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Bars (Faux Larabars)
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
Makes approx. 8 bars
1 cup quick oats
1 1/4 cup raisins
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pulse oats in food processor several times until coarsely ground. Add remaining ingredients. Process in food processor until dough forms a rough ball. This can take a few minutes. Shape as desired (see options below). I used the pan method to make bars.
Bars – Pan Method: Line a small pan with parchment paper, leaving enough parchment hanging over edges to use as handles. I used a 11″x7″ pan, but I only used about 6.5″x7″ of the pan space. Basically you just want a pan small enough to let you use the edges and corners to make a nice neat little square of dough. Press dough evenly into pan until uniformly 1/2″ thick. Life flattened dough from pan using parchment paper handles; place on cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 8 bars. Layer bars between pieces of parchment paper, and refrigerate in a covered container.
Bars – Free Form Method: Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a rough log, and flatten with your hands to about 1/2″ thickness. Layer between pieces of parchment paper, and refrigerate in a covered container.
Balls: Divide dough into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Store in a sealed container, on a piece of parchment paper, in fridge.