Thursday, March 11, 2010

D.I.Y. Fruit & Nut Bars!

You know those delicious, wholesome fruit and nut bars that you get at the grocery store. (Hint, they start with an L. L*** Bars.) You can make them yourself, to your taste and liking. Those bars are very tasty, the store bought ones, but they can get very pricey. Let's make some of our own! Get our your food processor, your favorite nuts, your favorite dried fruit, a pinch of salt, and optional spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)

The nut to fruit ratio is simple. 1 to 1. If you like a crunchy bar, put the nuts and fruit in the food processor together at the same time and blend until combined. If you want a smoother bar, like me, grind the nuts first, then add the fruit and blend until combined. Go ahead and toss in your pinch of salt and a few dashes of your optional ground spices at this stage.

The most common fruit in these said bars are dates, but I use any ol' moist dried fruit that I have around, like these prunes and raisins. Works for me.

A good serving size is about 2 tablespoons. I line a cupcake pan with plastic wrap, drop in 2 Tbsp. of the mixture, and press them in the holes with the bottom of a cup so they become nice, flat discs.

They are nothing to look at, but these homemade fruit & nut bars are perfect for travel and snacking. I store mine in zip-top plastic bags separated by wax paper and keep them in the refrigerator. The batch pictured above was made from 1 cup prunes, 1/2 cup raisins, 3/4 cup hazelnuts, 1/4 cup almonds, and 1/2 cup walnuts. (1 1/2 cup of fruit to 1 1/2 cup of nuts.) It made about 12 servings. This recipe is perfect to mix and match. The last time I made them, I threw in some flax seeds for kicks. Just think, the possibilities are endless! Let me know what you put in yours!

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