See ya later, overpriced, over-packaged, store-bought granola or energy bars. Once you learn how to make your own, you'll never go back.
this recipe calls for just three ingredients: Nuts, dried fruits, and Medjool dates (which are also fruits, but don't let that confuse you). The key is picking the right kinds of each for a truly amazing flavor.
There's Nothing Like A Great Date
You’ll need whole Medjool dates and not any other kind. There's a noticeable difference between Medjool dates and the other varieties; Medjools are large, super soft, very sweet, and sticky compared to other kinds. Which is just what you want.
Bring On the Nuts
You can buy nuts anywhere but when you're making a batch of bars, head to your stores with bulk bins. That way you can get exactly the right amount of the nuts (or combination of nuts) you love — without ending up with lots of leftovers.
The top nuts for bars are cashews, almonds and pecans. Whenever possible, try to get roasted nuts which will give your bars a more robust flavor. If you’re buying from bulk bins or bagged nuts, the labels will specify if they’ve already been roasted or not. If you can't find roasted nuts, they are super easy to roast at home . (More on that below!)
Get a Little Fruity
Head to the bulk bins for dried fruits, too. Cherries and nuts are natural BFFs, and dried cranberries and golden raisins are also great picks.
Bonus Points for Spices and Chocolate (Of Course!)
If you feel like it, go ahead and break the 3-ingredient rule: Add some zippy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, or a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger. And mini dark chocolate chips are never wrong anywhere, especially here.
Combos to Try
- Pineapple, papaya, mango, banana chips and shredded coconut paired with a mix of walnuts and almonds.
- Apricots and golden raisins paired with almonds. Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom.
- Cherries paired with cashews. Add mini dark chocolate chips after food processing.
- Apples and raisins paired with walnuts, almonds and cashews. Add a pinch of cinnamon.
DIY Fruit and Nut Bars Recipe
Makes 18 one-ounce bars.
- 1 cup Medjool dates (about 8-10 dates)
- 1 cup roasted nuts
- 1 cup dried fruits
- ¼ cup of mini dark chocolate chips (optional)
1. Roast the nuts
If your nuts have not been roasted, do it now.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place nuts on a baking pan or cookie sheet and roast about 5-8 minutes. You'll need less time for smaller nuts, more time for larger nuts (like whole walnut pieces). The nuts should be golden and give off a nice subtle scent. Let cool completely before heading to the next step.
2. Prep the dates
Cut dates in half and remove pits and stems if there are any.
3. Process everything
Place nuts, dates, and fruit in a food processor and process until you reach the consistency you want.
If you like things a little more crunchy and chunky, stop the food processor sooner. Prefer a smoother bar? Just process longer, until the nuts are finely ground.
4. Spread and press
Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with waxed paper or parchment. Place the fruit and nut mixture in the pan and use another piece of waxed paper or parchment to press it down and spread it out. (The paper helps keep your hands from getting all sticky!)
If you're adding chocolate, now's the time. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the fruit and nut mixture and press them down into the surface. Use your hand or and a drinking glass to even everything out.
5. Cut and enjoy!
Lift the mixture out of the pan using the waxed paper lining. Use a sharp knife to cut into about 18 pieces (or any amount or size you want).
Wrap each bar individually in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container.