fruit and nut bars

  • Currently 4/5
yields: 8 bars

1/2 c whole nuts - almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc.
1/2 c dried fruit, coarsely chopped - cranberries, cherries, figs, etc.
1 c high-fiber cereal (like Kashi GoLean)
1 c puffed rice cereal
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp wheat bran
pinch of salt
1. preheat the oven to 350ºF. prepare an 8x8-inch pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
2. arrange the nuts on a sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes or until fragrant. allow them to cool and then give them a rough chop. combine the chopped nuts, dried fruit, and cereals in a heat-proof bowl. use your fingers to separate the fruit if it clumps together.
3. reduce oven temperature to 300ºF.
4. combine butter, brown sugar and honey in a medium sauce pan and stir to moisten the brown sugar. set over medium heat and bring to a boil, swirling the pan once or twice to make sure all the ingredients combine. as soon as the sugar mixture comes to a full boil and the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. this should take about 5 minutes.
5. off the heat, stir in the vanilla, wheat bran and salt. be careful because the sugar will bubble up. immediately pour sugar syrup over the cereal mixture and use a heat-proof spatula to stir everything together. make sure the nuts, fruits, and cereals are evenly coated. pour the cereal mixture into the pan and use the spatula or wet fingers to press the mixture into the pan as firmly as possible.
6. bake 20 minutes for chewy bars or up to 30 minutes for crispier bars. allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. turn out onto a cutting board and use a sharp knife to divide into 8 bars.
7. we like to wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap so we can quickly grab them and go. the bars will keep for several weeks in an airtight container, or you can also freeze them.
Meal   SnackCooking Method   Baked
Prep Time   less than 15 minutesCooking Time   45 minutes
Features   Low-Sodium, Vegetarian

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