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Fruit and Nut Bars Tested Recipe

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Fruit and Nut Bars Recipe

These Fruit and Nut Bars are decidedly different from the other bars and squares on the site. Crisp and chewy in texture, they are full of dried fruits (cherries, dates, and apricots) and nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts), that are held together with a batter that contains no butter or oil, just one beaten egg. These make a healthy to-go breakfast, a great snack to pack in lunchboxes, or they would be perfect to take along on your next picnic or hike. The added bonus is that they will keep for several weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

 

This Fruit and Nut Bar recipe calls for dried cherries, dates, and apricots. Now, don't feel you have to follow this recipe exactly, as you can vary the dried fruit and even the nuts as per your own preferences. Just keep the amounts the same; that is, 3 cups of dried fruits and 1 1/2 cups of nuts. Dried fruits have come a long way in recent years in both availability and quality. We are no longer limited to just dried dates and raisins. Today we are offered apricots, apples, pears, cherries, cranberries, strawberries, and even blueberries and raspberries. But there are a few things to keep in mind when buying dried fruits. First, try to buy in bulk from a grocery store or natural food store that has a high turnover. Not only will the fruit be fresher, but you can see, smell, feel, and often taste the fruit to make sure it is fresh and of high quality. Pre-packaged fruit can also be excellent but it is harder to tell the quality of the fruit through the plastic bag. Make sure to check the expiration date on the bag. Always look for dried fruit that is plump, moist, and has good color. Never buy fruit that is dried out or moldy. There is a debate about whether to buy 'sulphured' or 'unsulphured' dried fruits. Some like to buy 'sulphured' which means that it has been treated with a sulphur dioxide solution. This preserves the fruit's bright color and makes the fruit very soft and moist. The downside is that some people can taste the preservative while others are allergic. Of course, 'unsulphured' means it has not been treated before it is dried and some say the flavor of untreated dried fruits is far superior. The downside is that the fruit's color may be slightly faded looking, especially dried fruits (like apples, pears, and bananas) that oxidize quickly.

 

Fruit and Nut Bars: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) square baking pan that has been lined across the bottom and up the two opposite sides with aluminum foil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, walnuts, and dried fruit. Use your fingers to make sure that all the fruit and nuts have been coated with the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or hand mixer) the egg and vanilla until light colored and thick (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are coated with the batter. Spread into the prepared pan, pressing to even it out.

Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cooled, lift the bars from the pan by the edges of the aluminum foil. Use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares.

Can be stored for about 10 days at room temperature or longer if refrigerated.

Makes 16 - 2 inch (5 cm) squares.

References:

Daley, Regan. 'In the Sweet Kitchen'. Random House Canada. Toronto: 2000.

Medrich, Alice. 'Cookies and Brownies'. Warner Books, Inc. New York: 1999.

Shere, Lindsey Remolif. 'Chez Panisse Desserts'. Random House. New York: 1985.

Fruit and Nut Bars

1/3 cup (45 grams) all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups (145 grams) walnuts (can also use pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds), chopped

1/2 cup (65 grams) dried cherries or cranberries

1 1/2 cup dates, figs, and/or prunes (pits removed and cut into quarters)

1 cup (165 grams) dried apricots, cut into bite size pieces

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 
 
     
 

 

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