Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nutty fruit bars

Ever since going Paleo, processed foods are rarely an option. However, many Lara Bar varieties contain nothing more than nuts and fruit for the most part. I've bought several boxes of them, as they are handy when traveling or out-and-about with the kiddos. Every time I read the label of one of the bars, I think to myself, This is basically nuts and fruit -- I should be able to make these.

So this recipe, while original in the sense that I didn't look it up and have never seen a recipe similar to this, was inspired by the Lara Bars I've eaten.
Close-up of a half-eaten nutty fruit bar
1 C dried apricots (no suger added)
1/4 C dried cranberries
1/2 C almond meal
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 C pepitas*
1/3 C sunflower seeds*
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted) + some for greasing pan

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Grease baking pan (I used a stone bar pan
  3. Place dried fruits and coconut oil into a blender (or Blendtec). Grind or pulse until combined, scraping as needed
  4. Add the dry ingredients, and pulse until well combined, or until desired texture is achieved
  5. Scoop out the ingredients onto the baking pan; spread out and then smash down to really pack the mixture together. It's very sticky -- you may want to lube up your fingers with the oil, or use a dough roller or flat, wooden utensil. Confession: I just used my bare hands and licked them when I was done (YUM)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
  7. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. I cut mine after five minutes of cooling
  8. Store in sealed container in fridge once cool
Since I concocted this recipe on the fly and gave no consideration to how much the recipe would yield, I ended up a bit short in terms of filling the bar pan. I just spread the mixture out, smashed it down, and formed it to a thickness I thought made sense. Doubling the recipe would yield thicker bars (surely that would be a good thing, but may require additional cook time). I cut mine into eight, uneven rectangles, but I think nine or ten would have been more appropriately sized. I used a Pampered Chef medium-sized bar pan.

These snacks are delicious; they're chewy but not sticky (to touch). I think both the sweetness and the chewy texture will accommodate more nuts/seeds than what I used in this recipe. Future experimentation may be required!
* Any nut or seed could be substituted for the pepitas and/or sunflower seeds. Additionally, depending on texture preference, the seeds (nuts) could be ground prior to mixing with other ingredients.

Nutritional information
Serving = 1 bar
8 servings per recipe
Per serving:
Fat (g)       15.5
Protein (g)   4
Sugar (g)    13.1

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