Wednesday, April 28, 2010

vegan fruit + nut bars: sticky bun

homemade snacks inspired by lärabar

I don't want Lära to get mad at me, but I might stop buying her bars as frequently. Influenced by Katie's collection of fudge babies, I've created my first batch of raw fruit and nut bars, dubbed Sticky Bun. They are naturally-sweetened, and free of gluten, grain, soy, and dairy, making them a great snack or dessert choice for people for many different diet persuasions.  Those to want to eat strictly organic foods will also enjoy making these from organically-grown ingredients.  Just be sure to avoid them if you have a nut allergy.

While the ingredients and method are straightforward, making these bars will require some special kitchen equipment.  The raw nuts and dried fruit must be chopped into a sticky mixture, which I accomplished using the food grinder attachment on my KitchenAid mixer.  A food processor should be up for the task, as well, but I would not recommend using a blender.  Is it possible that a workable texture could be produced using a knife and cutting board?  Perhaps for someone training for a food prep marathon!

Believe it or not, this recipe is on the higher end of the range for number of ingredients used (only six!).  Similar bars can be created with as few as two ingredients, dates and one variety of nut.  From that simple base, the flavor of the bars can be changed drastically with the addition of your choice of ingredients.  In addition to dried fruit, experiment with flavorful ingredients such as cocoa and chocolate, coffee, and even natural flavor extracts.

Sticky Bun Fruit + Nut Bars
makes 10 bars, about 1.4 oz each

  • 1 cup/ 8 oz dried dates
  • 1/3 cup/ 1.5 oz raisins
  • 1/2 cup/ 2 oz raw walnuts
  • 1/3 cup/1.5 oz raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup/ 1 oz raw cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Special equipment: food grinder or food processor
  1. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Process in food grinder or food processor according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Collect fruit and nut mixture in a bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon onto the mixture and mix thoroughly with hands, squeezing to form the mixture into a ball.
  3. On a clean surface, form mixture into a flat log. Using a thin knife, cut log into ten slices. Store in an airtight container.

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