Fruit and Nut Bars
With dried sour cherries and toasted hazelnuts on hand, I decided to tackle the Fruit and Nut Bars from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies. The ratios in this recipe are spot-on, so it makes a good chewy bar no matter what kind of nuts or dried fruit you have in your pantry. This mixes up really fast and would be a terrific lunchbox addition, and you could probably even lower the sugar too!
A few notes about this recipe:
- Before you bake it, this looks like little more than fruit and nuts lightly coated with batter. When it bakes, the dough rises and puffs and fills in the empty space between the fruit and nuts. Have faith! It will work.
- This is like not very sweet granola or breakfast bars.
- Sour cherry gives the bar a nice bite that balances the sugar. Try different fruits, but bear in mind how sweet the final bar might turn out if you go for super sweet dried fruit (like Turkish apricots).
Fruit and Nut Bars
1/4 c + 2 T AP flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c + 2 T (packed) light or dark brown sugar, lump free
2 c walnut pieces
1+1/2 c dates, pits removed and cut into quarters
1 c (lightly packed) dried apricot halves, each cut in half
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8-inch square pan, lined across the bottom and up 2 opposite sides with parchment paper or foil
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Position the rack in the center of the oven.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly.
- Add the brown sugar, walnuts, dates, and apricots.
- Use your fingers to mix the ingredients until the nuts and fruits are coated with the flour mixture, separating any sticky fruit pieces.
- Beat the egg with the vanilla in a small bowl until light colored and thick.
- Scrape the egg into the large bowl and mix with your hands until all of the fruit and nut pieces are thinly coated with batter.
- Spread the mixture in the pan, pressing to even it out.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the thin batter coating is golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool in the pan on a rack. Run a small knife around the unlined edges of the pan. Lift the ends of the paper or foil liner and transfer to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut 16 squares.
Makes 16 bars
May be stored, airtight, for at least 2 weeks at room temperature, longer in the refrigerator.
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.