I used to be a chunky peanut butter fan but once I discovered Trader Joe’s brand, I fell in love with their creamy style. It’s so creamy and runny and perfectly salted that chunky just couldn’t compare. I tried Trader Joe’s chunky and was unimpressed. But then I read an article from AOL Food which blindly tasted 20 different peanut butters and named Whole Foods brand crunchy peanut butter as their #1 rated peanut butter. I didn’t believe it could be the best but naturally I had to try it. The Whole Foods brand is 365 and their crunchy peanut butter is a force to be reckoned with. This natural peanut butter is perfectly salted and has an wonderful and slightly sweet roasted peanut taste. The creaminess between the chunks is the perfect consistency and as a bonus this peanut butter needs minimal mixing. When I bought it there was no oil separation and has yet to separate like other natural peanut butters. The price? $1.69 for an 18 oz jar which beats the already low price of Trader Joe’s brand peanut butter.
That almond above? That is a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almond dipped in sea salt and turbinado sugar. To break that down for you, it’s an almond covered in a rich dark chocolate with large crystals of sugar for an extra burst of sweetness in addition to large crystals of salt for that sweet/salty combo. The reason it’s the main picture is mainly because it looks more appetizing than the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar. The other reason is that they are absolutely delicious. I love gourmet and artisan dark chocolate bars but I always reach for these almonds first because each one is like a meal, it has every flavor you could want in such a small package. Buy a package of these, you will not be disappointed.
Last but not least is the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar itself. I was informed by VeggieGirl of this upcoming flavor in the popular Larabar lineup. I finally found one but was a little disappointed by the ingredients: dates, peanuts, salt. This was supposed to taste like a peanut butter cookie? I liked the simple and unprocessed nature of the bar but I was hoping for it to live up to the name. But after tasting it I was impressed. For only containing 3 ingredients, this was a pretty tasty bar reminiscent of a peanut butter cookie. And why shouldn’t it be? The basic ingredients are the same as my Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies minus the egg. But I wouldn’t recommend that you go out and spend $1.60 for 51g of chopped dates and peanuts. What I do suggest is to follow my copycat recipe for the Larabar in what can only be called the Peanut Butter Cookie Nickbar. Using the nutrition facts and weight of the bar I was able to calculate the precise quantity of ingredients necessary to concoct this energy bar. I’ve provided two methods below to measure out the ingredients so you can get the perfect ratio.
78g roasted unsalted peanuts
75g whole dates, chopped
pinch of salt
Or By Volume:
3/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped dates (buy them whole, chop them yourself)
pinch of salt
* Note: Make sure to buy whole soft dates (Barhee, Halawy, Khadrawy or Medjool type)
1. If measuring by volume make sure your dates are chopped before you measure out 1/2 cup. If measuring by weight, coarsely chop the dates before or after weighing them, it doesn’t matter (The Law of Mass Conservation, remember?).
2. Process the dates in a food processor until a fine paste is achieved and pour into a bowl. Process the peanuts and salt until you get small chunks, this should only take a few seconds. Add the peanuts/salt to the bowl and mix together with your hands until well mixed. If the mixture is not sticking together, pour the mixture back into the food processor until it starts to clump together on its own (and see note below).
3. Shape into 3 equal bars, surround in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Note: I bought the dates pre-chopped and they were a bit drier and did not chop up finely enough in the food processor. This ultimately made mixing the ingredients impossible, so I had to process the mixture together resulting in the peanuts grinding to more of a peanut paste which held the bar together instead of the dates. The end product looks different and has a different texture than the real Larabar but the taste is almost identical. Avoid this by buying fresh dates which are moister and will better process into a paste.
And finally, here is a picture of the Nickbar. Like I said, it’s not that pretty to look at, but that is partially due to over-processing the peanuts in the food processor. Below that, I’ve included the nutrition facts for the Larabar which has been mimicked by the Nickbar.