Looking for a natural and healthy snack that’s quick and easy to make and the whole family will love? Look no further than these Natural Fruit & Nut Bars.
What Inspired me to make Natural Fruit and Nut Bars
As a father of three growing girls it is sometimes a struggle to provide them with something that is healthy and nutritious in today’s world of on-the-go sugary, bad for you, mass produced treats. Even the so called “nutritious” energy and fiber bars on the market are loaded with sugars, starches, preservatives and colorings.
One of the newest products on the market today are fruit and nuts bars that are almost a cross between an fruit roll-up and a granola bar. While on the surface they look healthy and nutritious, some of them still contain added sugar and emulsifiers. After seeing them I challenged myself to make a version of this type of bar that’s tasty, but is as healthy and natural as I could possibly make it. So, here we have my Natural Fruit and Nut Bars.
These are actually pretty easy and quick to make. Initially I was somewhat nervous making these as I wasn’t sure if they were going to hold up and stay together the way I wanted. I am happy to report the final product turned out quite nice.
- Whole Almonds
- Sunflower Kernels
- Chia Seeds (read health benefits here)
- Dried Cranberries
- Fruit Spread
Bringing it all together:
Start out by preheating the oven to 350°F. Place the almonds and sunflower kernels and a small baking sheet and let toast for about 8 minutes.
While the nuts are toasting, combine the fruit preserves and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
While the nuts are baking and the sauce is simmering, toss the dried cranberries and raisins in a mixing bowl.
After the 8 minutes are up on toasting the nuts, spread the chia seeds on the sheet tray and toast for an additional 3 minutes and pull from oven to cool for 5 minutes.
You’ll see that the almonds are glossy and darker in color. This means enhanced flavor. Once the nuts have cooled for a few minutes, dump them in the mixing bowl with the dried fruit and toss to combine.
By this time the sauce should be thickened and slightly cooled, pour over nuts and fruit and combine.
Take this mixture and scrape onto the same pan your toasted the nuts on that has been lined with some parchment paper.
Spread in an even layer until you get the desired thickness of the bar. You can make the bars as thick and thin as you want. Just know the thicker the bar, the longer you will need to bake in the next step.
Reduce heat on oven to 325° and pop the flattened fruit and nut mix into the oven for another 10 minutes or more depending on thickness. After the baking time is over and the bars are almost dry to the touch on top, remove from oven and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to cut and serve.
After properly cooled, turn out bars on cutting board and peel off parchment paper. Cut into desired shapes. I cut mine into small squares and got 30 for my pan.
Now they’re ready to move to your serving platter and let the family get healthy! Enjoy!
- 1.5 Cup Whole Almonds
- 1 Cup Sunflower Kernels
- 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/3 Cup Raisins
- 1 8-9 ounce jar Raspberry Fruit Spread
- 1/4 Cup Honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place almonds and sunflower kernels on small baking sheet and place in oven for 8 minutes, then place chia seeds on sheet and bake for an additional 3 minutes.
While nuts and seeds are in oven, put dried cranberries and raisins in mixing bowl. Also, combine honey and fruit spread in small saucepan and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Once nuts and seeds are toasted, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then combine with fruit in mixing bowl.
Once nuts and dried fruit are combined, pour thickened sauce over fruit and nuts and mix. Mixture should come together and form a sticky ball.
Scrape mixture onto baking sheet that you toasted then nuts on that has been lined with parchment paper. Spread mixture until you get the bar thickness you want.
Return pan to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and place in fridge for 30 minutes or when you are ready to cut.
Flip sheet onto cutting board and cut into individual bars or squares. Serve and enjoy!