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Lärabar Jŏcalat Sample

2009 June 07

I finally found my cacao nibs at Whole Foods Market; they were cheaper than I was expecting. So with cacao nibs in-hand I was free to try the recipe for the Larabar Jŏcalat recipe over at the Chocolate & Zuchinni blog (by Clotilde Dusoulier). Disclaimer up front – I only used the ingredient list and followed my own instructions. I’ve made several batches of Larabars already over the last few days, so I simply made some adjustments. There was a moment when I thought, “Holy smokes Batman, these might not turn out!” If you get there, just keep pressing forward.

Ingredients

  • 1.75oz / 50g Mixed nuts. I used cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans.
  • 3.5oz / 100g Date paste. I couldn’t find any so I made my own according to this recipe. It involved measuring out some pitted California dates and throwing them in the food processor.
  • 3.5oz / 100g Medjool dates. You can find these at most grocery stores. Make sure to pit them first.
  • 1/3tsp. ground Cardamom. This should equal the amount Clotilde called for: seeds from two pods.
  • 3Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 rounded Tbsp cacao nibs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8tsp. Cinnamon

Methods

  1. If you couldn’t make any date paste, go ahead and do that now with about 3.5oz of pitted dates. Throw them in the food processor and let them go for a spin. It took maybe 30 seconds. You may need to add a little bit of water (little, as in less than a tsp) if they’re kinda gummy. Remember – you’re looking for a paste. This being my first experience I erred on the less water end of the equation.
  2. Roughly chop your Medjool dates (did you remember to pit them?) and give them a go in the food processor. I decided to leave them kinda chunky. I thought it would help make sure I would get date chunks in the bars when I was done. Not so. Just whatever you do – don’t turn it into a paste.
  3. Chop the nuts. Scrape down the sides of your food processor so it’s mostly clean (don’t wash it) and then chop the nuts by pulsing the processor. I goofed a little bit and overdid it – the pieces were smaller than I was intending. You want chunks, now powder or sand.
  4. With the nut bits still in the processor, add the remaining ingredients (cocoa, cacao nibs, cinnamon, salt, cardamom) and give the mixture a couple of quick pulses to combine the ingredients.
  5. Add the date paste and the Medjool dates to the nuts and have at it until everything is well mixed. I ended up with a sandy mixture that looked nothing like my other Larabars (cue horror flic music, enter monster stage left).
  6. Fears aside, line a small loaf pan (8″x12″-ish) with wax paper and pour your chocolaty date mixture in. Looks tasty – go ahead and sample a tiny bit. Press the mixture down all over with your fingers and compact it really well. You’re looking for something that might resemble a Larabar in a loaf pan when you’re finished.
  7. When you’re good and done compacting your Jocalat mixture, cover and place it in the fridge for at least a couple hours to let it set. When you pull it out to divide into bard you’ll be thankful to have the was paper so you don’t have to try scraping out a “nonstick” pan.

Collection of photos taken at various steps of the recipe

I realize I took plenty of artistic license with the directions here, but it all seemed to turn out really well. Next time I make this recipe I will probably chop the nuts less, then fold them in with the dates and the date paste right after I add the cocoa et. al. ingredients (step 4). Given the consistency of the date paste it might be a better idea to just process everything together but start with coarser nut and Medjool pieces.

Many thanks to Clotilde for a great recipe!

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