(DougCookRD.com) Fruit and nuts bars are all the rage these days. No nonsense snacks that, if made with quality ingredients, provide quick great-tasting food energy along with a good dose of fiber, protein, phytonutrients, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and healthy monounsaturated and plant-based omega-3 fats. They’re portable and travel well making them ideal for knapsacks, gym bags and purses [even the a 'murse' or 'manbag'].
The trouble with store bought versions is that they can be quite pricey but with a little effort, a food processor, and simple ingredients, you can make your own homemade versions for a lot less.
Check out these simple instructions on how to create your own dried fruit and nut bars. This recipe calls for almonds, dates, and raisins, but you can get creative and experiment with different nuts and dried fruits as well as thrown in some chia or hemp seeds, or ground flax seeds. If you find they don’t clump or stick together, add some extra dried fruit or a bit of water.
- 10 dried dates, pitted (often found in the produce section)
- One cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- A food processor
- Pour the pitted dates, raw almonds, and raisins into the food processor. Secure the lid.
- Process ingredients for about two minutes, or until they are chopped and mixed thoroughly. The fruit should appear smooth, yet you’ll still be able to see bits of nuts. The mixture will look like firm cookie dough.
- Alternatively you could do the fruit fruit and then nuts second. Just be sure not to puree them, the fruit should be well blended and the nuts/seeds, a bit chunky, you don’t want to make nut flour
- Tear off a 12 in. x 18 in. piece of plastic wrap and lay it flat on a counter or cutting board. Place the fruit and nut mixture in the center of the plastic wrap.
- Pull up the plastic on either side and begin to press it together to form one large bar, keeping the layer of plastic between your hands and the dough to prevent sticking. Squeeze the mixture firmly together — if it’s loose, it’ll fall apart when you try to eat it.
- You’ll end up with a quarter-inch thick bar that’s about 3 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. Alternatively, using water to wet your hands, pinch off small amounts of the mixture and roll into small balls if you prefer.
- Wrap the large bar tightly in the plastic. Place the bar flat in the freezer for an hour to harden slightly, which will make it easier to cut into bars.
- Remove the large bar from the freezer, unwrap it, and place on cutting board. Divide bar in half, and then cut each half into thirds, creating six bars total.
Photo credit: Janey A and Jake Z