Fruit, seed and nut bars – without added sugar

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Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bars

Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bars (Photo credit: suavehouse113)

Since I don’t eat any dairy or refined/artificial sugar products (both give me terrible migraines and make me feel ill), I can’t eat much in the way of prepared baked goods, desserts or snacks.  My naturopath recommended I try Lara Bars.  They aren’t bad, but I don’t like most of the flavours and they are expensive.  I tried a few recipes I found on various websites, but they didn’t work out – mostly because I am lazy and didn’t want to spend a lot of time making them. Some of them just tasted nasty – no sugar, no dairy, no fun.

However, I eventually did find a recipe on enlightened cooking, which I have adapted to a make a bar that is pretty tasty.  Plus it is quick – about 10 minutes prep and 15-20 minutes to bake.  The only equipment you need is a food processor, a square pan and parchment paper or foil.

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds (with skins)

1/2 cup apricots

1/2 cup dates

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (unsalted)

1/4 raw  sunflower seeds (unsalted)

1/4 cup cacao nibs

2-3 tbsp apple juice or water

1 -2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

 Start by grinding the almonds in the food processor until they pieces are relatively the same size.  Add dates/apricots/raisins and grind with almonds, then add the seeds and the cacao nibs. Add apple juice/water and/or maple syrup. Mixture should stick together but not be too wet.

Pour the mixture into a cake pan lined with parchment or foil and pat it down, so the top is relatively even. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 300 degree F oven.

Once the bars are done in the oven, I let them cool completely (otherwise they will fall apart as you cut them up) and cut them up into about 12 -16 bars.  I store them in a ziploc bag or a plastic container (if I can find a matching lid which at our house is like winning the lottery).  

You can use any dried fruit/seed mixture you wish – the dates help bind everything together but I have made the bars successfully with raisins soaked in hot water for a few minutes (they were as hard as rocks having languished in my cupboard for too long).

I don’t think these are exactly a low-cal snack.  According to the original recipe, each bar has 208 calories. The author recommends using an 8×8 cake pan and cutting the final product into 8 squares. Since my bars are much smaller, they will likely have fewer calories.  They are certainly more nutritious than potato chips, which is one of the few prepared snack foods I can actually eat.  The bars are yummy, so the challenge for me is to only eat only one at a time.

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