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Fruit, Nut and Oat Bars

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I have always loved snowy days. Bad weather and messy roads mean that have-to-do errands get postponed and I get the luxury of spending the day at home…and much of that day is spent in the kitchen. Unfettered time allows me the opportunity to experiment with “what if” ingredient combinations, and sometimes…if I’m lucky…it turns out right on the first attempt. 
These fruit, nut and oat bars were one of those lucky first attempts. I keep dried fruit, unsweetened dried coconut, flax seed, old-fashioned oatmeal and several types of nuts on hand to use in making my cereal (Murray’s Muesli, posted May 27, 2014).  Organic coconut oil is a staple in my baking supplies, and I bought the carob powder about a year ago for another recipe; luckily, it keeps indefinitely, so it was still on my shelf.  I used to think that real maple syrup was a luxury, but I have discovered that a small amount of maple syrup delivers such rich flavor that I now use it on my pancakes instead of artificially flavored, thinner syrups. Storing maple syrup in the refrigerator greatly extends its shelf life and makes this natural sweetener available for many uses.
So…this recipe was created with ingredients on hand, and as I began to mix the fruit and nuts, I began to wonder, “Can I sweeten this naturally, but without sugar?”…and I remembered the maple syrup stored in my refrigerator. As the blended ingredients began to develop a thick, smooth consistency, I wondered, “Can I actually make a dessert bar that would maintain it’s shape and consistency without being baked?” So, I pressed the mixture firmly into a dish and placed it in the refrigerator to chill for approximately 2 hours and it then sliced perfectly.
Finally, it was time for the taste test and I was amazed.  This simple fruit, nut and oat bar had a smooth, creamy texture paired with an intensely rich flavor…but with no eggs, no gluten, and no refined sugar, it was actually a “healthy dessert”!  But please don’t let that keep you from trying the recipe, because it’s deceptively delicious!
“Don’t Tell Me These Are Healthy, Just Let Me Eat”
Fruit, Nut and Oat Bars
makes approximately 16 2×2 inch bars
¼ cup pecans
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup raw almonds
¾ cup raisins
8 medium pitted dates
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil (coconut oil comes in a solid form)
2 tablespoons flax seed
1 tablespoon carob powder
1 cup old fashioned oat meal
¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut chips (available in bulk bin section of organic food type grocery stores)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup (real maple syrup…not the imitation stuff full of hard-to-pronounce artificially flavored ingredients)
Note: The fruit, nut and oat bars can be made without coconut. Adjust the remaining ingredients by using only ¼ cup coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
Put the pecans, walnuts and almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the nuts until they are the texture of coarse meal. Add the raisins and dates to the nut mixture and pulse until the dried fruit and nuts begin to form a thick consistency. Add the coconut oil and mix with the fruit and nuts. Add the carob powder, oatmeal, dried coconut and maple syrup to the fruit and nut mixture. Pulse the oatmeal and coconut until they are finely chopped and begin to blend with the other ingredients to form a smooth, paste-type consistency.
Spoon the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch (or smaller) pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to press the mixture to create an even surface. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours to set the consistency before serving. Cut the mixture into 2 x 2 inch squares to serve.
(It is not necessary to store the remaining bars in the refrigerator. The texture and consistency remain the same at a cool room temperature after the initial period in the refrigerator.)

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3 Responses to “Fruit, Nut and Oat Bars”

  1. Dan Says:

    I’ve tried them – they’re wonderful!

  2. Pat Bailey Says:

    Yeah, this is a real keeper. Just happened to have everything on hand and made these in less than 20 minutes. Had an impromptu dinner with new neighbors last night and served these as dessert. They were a big hit! Thanks Ninevah.

  3. Rose Hood Says:

    These are truly delicious and simple to make! Yummy! Yummy!