I’m sorry. I thought I would be back, but honestly? There hasn’t been much around these parts to post about. Or if I did make something worth posting, I didn’t measure or photograph it. I did measure and photograph these bars, but typepad doesn't seem to want to upload them right now and it took 5 minutes to upload one picture. So look at these much prettier pictures from White On Rice couple.
A good food blogger I am not.
A new job and workout regime plus my regular dancing schedule has kept me on my toes. Which is why I am so thankful I have these fruit and nut bars to keep me going.
I have been obsessed with Kind Bars for quite some time. The fact that I could see whole almonds and cranberries reassured me that I was eating something healthy in a way my beloved Peanut Butter and Chocolate Clif Bar can not. And now I’m obsessed.
Running late for work? Grab a bar. Going for a run? Eat a bar first. Done with the run? Eat a bar. Dessert? Bar. Waiting 5 minutes for a picture of a bar to freakin upload? Eat a bar.
Seriously, I would say it needs to stop but then I think of all the possibilities. Coconut cashew with dried mango? Pecan with peach? Walnut apple? Subbing out some of the honey with pureed dates? Cookie butter instead of almond butter?
Seriously, the possibilities are endless. I think the only thing I wouldn’t change is the puffed rice cereal. The recipe calls for brown puffed rice cereal, but that requires a trip to Whole Foods and I am not going to do battle with that Real Housewife of Orange County laden parking lot for anything less than Maldon Sea Salt and my Chipotle Garlic Hot Sauce. I can only be around silicone, bleach, and spray tan for so long before I want to point out the irony of them shopping at a natural foods store. So I used the rice crispies that were hiding in the pantry.
Ok. Sometimes I’ll brave the parking lot for cheese. And their fig and nut loaf. (Sounds gross, but so freaking good. Note to self: fig and marcona almond bars)
Go make yourself some bars. I promise its cheaper than a Kind Bar habit. Oh, and if you decide to mix it up, please report back.
Download Fruit and Nut bar recipe
Adapted from Sunset Magazine (home of the 3 week bran muffin)
I doubled the salt because with honey I found the bars to be a touch on the sweet side. If you decide to use salted almonds, use 1/4 teaspoon salt or less. (It prefer salty food to sweet). The original recipe calls for brown rice syrup and by all means use it it you have it. Also, the chocolate melts into the bar, but I see no reason why frozen mini chocolate chips couldn’t be added in place of some of the dried fruit or the chopped chocolate.
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup dried tart cherries (or dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins, etc)
1 cup whole roasted unsalted almonds
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup flax meal
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
About 2 tbsp. coconut oil (or butter)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large heat safe bowl, mix together the cereal, cherries, almonds, apricots, flax, and chocolate. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment. Grease the parchment with some of the coconut oil.
Combine the 2 tablespoons coconut oil, sugar, honey, almond butter, and salt in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Immediately pour bubbling mixture over cereal mixture and stir until well combined. If you’ve recently made rice crispy treats you’ll be a pro at this.
Press mixture firmly into prepared pan, using lightly buttered hands. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Tip out of pan onto a work surface and peel off foil. Using a sharp buttered knife, quarter mixture and then cut each quarter into 5 bars. Store in an air tight container in the fridge, and I’d separate the layers with parchment (pro tip: reuse the parchment from the pan). I don’t know that they would stick together, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. They’ll keep for at least a week, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find you’re running low well before that.
*The original recipe says a serving is 162 calories. I can’t imagine the changes I made change that too much.