You’ll never have to buy a store-bought granola or energy bar again. I’ll teach you how to make your own using any delicious combination of flavors you prefer. Read on to try out these unbelievably easy and guilt-free fruit and nut bars!
The recipe formula for fruit and nut bars is easy as 1-2-3.
Really, this recipe requires only three ingredients: Nuts, dried fruits and medjool dates.
1. Medjool dates
You’ll need whole medjool dates. There is a noticeable difference between medjool dates and buying other varieties of dates — they are not all created equal! Medjools are large, super soft, very sweet and sticky compared to other kinds.
Take advantage of grocers in your area with bulk bins. This is a fantastic way to buy the exact amount of the nuts or combination of nuts you love. It’s also a great way to experiment without breaking the bank.
I love cashews, almonds and pecans, so I usually use them for these bars. But as of late, I’ve been buying a roasted mixed nut combination. That’s the beauty of this recipe! You have the freedom to use any combination of fruits and nuts you wish!
I highly recommend using roasted nuts. You definitely don’t have to, but roasted nuts will give your bars a more robust and finished 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, you can roast them at home.
3. Dried fruits
Take advantage of the bulk bins when choosing your dried fruits, too! Cherries and nuts are a delicious combination, but it may be too tart for some.
I’m using a combination of dried cranberries and golden raisins. They’re inexpensive and a winning combination for little ones.
Also, feel free to add some spices (like cinnamon or nutmeg) or a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger to give your fruit and nut bars some oomph! Mini dark chocolate chip morsels are also a great addition for more texture and flavor. Chocolate must be added in after food processing.
Here are some amazing fruit and nut flavor combinations to try for your bars:
- Pineapple, papaya, mango, banana chips and shredded coconut paired with a mix of walnuts and almonds.
- Apricot 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
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 chip morsels (optional)
Step 1: Roast the nuts
If your nuts have not been roasted, let’s start by roasting them. (If you bought roasted nuts, you can skip this step.)
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 in color. Let cool completely before moving forward.
Step 2: Prep the dates
Cut dates in half and remove pits and stems if there are any.
Step 3: Process all the ingredients
Place nuts, dates and fruit in a food processor and process until your desired consistency.
If you like more crunchy and chunky, stop the food processor when it looks ground but still chunky.
Or continue to process until the nuts are finely ground.
Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with waxed paper or parchment. Place fruit and nut mixture in the pan and use a piece of waxed paper or parchment to press the mixture down and spread it out.
If adding chocolate, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the fruit and nut mixture and press them down into the mixture. Use your hand or and a drinking glass to even out the surface.
Lift the mixture out of the pan using the waxed paper lining. Use a sharp knife to cut into 18 pieces (or any size you wish).
Wrap pieces in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container.