Dried Fruit and Nuts = Healthy Fruit-nut Bars

A post, last month, by David Lebovitz caught my eye. It was called Fruitcake Bars. While I’m not a fan of conventional Fruitcake I do like breads that incorporate dried fruits and nuts and this particular recipe was mostly dates, which I love and toasted nuts, which I also love. It sounded incredibly easy and I had all the ingredients so I gave it a try. After I tried it the first time, and loved it, I tried it again using a little different combination for both the fruit and nuts. Here’s the basic recipe for what I now call Fruit-nut Bars:

Grease two small loaf pans and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325° F and position the rack in the center of the oven.

Chop 2 cups of toasted nuts. To toast the nuts bake them for about 10 minutes at 350°, or until just starting to brown. I used walnuts and pecans this time.  Chop 2 1/2 cups dried fruit. I used dates, apricots and cranberries.

In a large bowl, toss together 6 tablespoons almond flour (or wheat flour), 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoons packed, light or dark brown sugar, the nuts and dried fruit. Use your fingers to mix, separating any pieces sticking together.

Beat 1 large egg with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, then mix it with the fruit and nut mixture until every-thing’s coated.

Spread the mixture into greased baking pans and press gently to even out. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the tops are golden brown and have pulled away just-slightly from the sides of the pan Cool on racks, in the pans. Remove from pans when completely cool.

A heavy sharp knife, such as a bread knife, is best for cutting the Fruitcake. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, if it lasts that long. Mine were usually gone in one to two days. Individual cakes can be wrapped in plastic. Try serving slices with Mascarpone. It’s delicious.  I have plans to make a slightly different version again next week. Depends on what fruits and nuts I have on hand or what interesting fruit I find at the market this weekend.  They’re a nice snack to have around. Healthy too.

When you’re shopping at the Farmers’ Market purchase: dried fruits, nuts, and eggs. Some markets will also have almond flour.