Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fruit and Nut Power Bars (Primal : GAPS : grain-free : gluten-free)

During a recent out-of-town trip, my family fell in love with my mother-in-law's homemade Fruit and Nut Bars. Upon our return home, my husband begged requested that I learn to make some of the bars.  Chewy, slightly sweet, and nicely filling, these Power Bars make for a quick breakfast or a great grab-and-go snack any time of day.

This recipe is based on my mother-in-law's delicious Fruit and Nut Bars, of which the original recipe can be seen on the Honey Pacifica blog. When possible, the nuts and seeds should be "crispy nuts," which have been prepared with the traditional method of soaking in salt water and then drying at a relatively low temperature.  This traditional method helps in reducing the naturally-occurring anti-nutrients that are present in nuts and seeds.

Fruit and Nut Power Bars
Makes 16 small bars, or 8 large bars
Version 1: Peanut Apricot Power Bars
Version 2: Pecan and Fruit Power Bars
  1. Line an 8X8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.  The paper should be long enough that it hangs out of the dish on two sides.
  2. Stir together the salt, nut butter, coconut flour, and honey in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the chopped fruit, nuts, and seeds. Mix well to combine.
  4. Dump the mixture into the paper-lined glass dish.  Use a spoon or the extra-long sides of the parchment paper to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Do not trim off the excess parchment paper, as it will be used when removing the bars from the pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely.  Then use the long sides of the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the bars to the desired size.  We prefer to make the bars small, so they are the perfect size for our kids to eat.  
  7. Store the power bars in the refrigerator.  To make them easy to grab-and-go, you could wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap and/or parchment paper.  These bars get a bit soft if they get warm, so take along an ice pack if you'll be packing these along for later.
 *Measure the amounts after chopping the ingredients rather than before.

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Patty said...

Where do you find unsulphured apricots? All I've seen are preserved. I would think however that any properly prepared dehydrated fruit would work well as a substitution in these recipes.

Sarah Smith said...

I find unsulphured apricots at our local natural foods co-op. They would likely have them at any healthfood chain store, such as Trader Joe's or Whole Foods as well. But yes, you could substitute any dried fruit of your choice!

Dr. John said...

Peanuts are not good for humans. Aflatoxins, saponins, and lectins in peanuts are all known GI irritants leading to pathological gut permeability. Autoimmunity, joint pain/arthritis, and systemic inflammation can occur.

Make the recipe with macadamias, almonds, and pecans (roasted/butter) would be much healthier.

Dr. John

Sarah Smith said...

I appreciate your input, John, but I think your statement is too sweeping, too broad. I know that peanuts are not good for SOME people, but to say that they are bad for everyone is too strong, in my opinion. To some degree, the source of the peanuts can make a big difference as well. For instance, peanuts grown in dry climates are much less likely to have mold growth, and therefore less of an issue for aflatoxins.

Even in my own family, we have mixed reactions. Peanuts give me heartburn, but my husband actually has a harder time digesting pecans and almonds whereas peanuts give him no issues.

Regardless, though, this recipe can be easily adapted to use any nuts that work well for the people who will be eating them.

Patty said...

Regarding peanut butter: I recall reading that one can eliminate many health problems by pouring off much of the oil that forms on the top of the peanut butter. I've no other recollections of that article, so I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts as to why this might be a benefit besides reducing some of the Omega-6 fatty acids?

Anonymous said...

Like any recipe, you can adapt and change it to your own personal preferences. Even when I first made this recipe that my son, daughter and some grandkids love so much. I used what I had on hand. The original recipe did not call for any seeds but I had some and I added them. I have used coconut flour, almond flour, almond butter, sunflower butter, pnut butter and so on. Same goes for the dry fruit. When I don't have it, then they become nut and seed bars. Again, your choice of seeds and nut combinations, fruit combinations are up to and your own creativeness. Now one of my grand daughters didn't like the original recipe with the fruit so that is why I substituted more nuts and added the seeds. She still didn't like them. However, when I added a small amt of 60% chocolate, she loved them. My next batch for her will be made with 70%. Another thing we just discovered is how good they taste with lemon. My daughter had some essential lemon oil on her fingers and picked up a bar. She just raved about the taste and then I tried it. So again I will be experimenting with the oil. I am less generous in my sizes for the bars. I cut mine into 25 pieces, just enough for a few bites. If not, they would be gone in a blink of an eye as coworkers are gobbling them up too. As for things being bad for you, why were they put on this earth in their pure form? Barb said...

Oh yummy, pinning these right now, I saw this recipe on the nourished living network pinterest fruit board. Thanks for a yummy recipe.