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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars.

Go figure that I’m at the end of my pregnancy, about to embark another another major life (and schedule!) change, and yet I find myself suddenly drawn back to the kitchen.  Maybe it’s nesting, maybe it’s the change in seasons – either way I’ve been having fun cooking, eating, and occasionally even photographing and documenting.

With limited time and convenience foods around every corner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending more money and buying more packaging for quick grab-n-go snacks like granola bars.  Rather than plunk down another $2 per bar this week, I decided to take a stab at making my own.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

These weren’t really a direct attempt to replicate any one bar, but if I had to pick I’d say they are closest to KIND bars (our favorites!).  I’m certainly not the first person ever to recreate a popular snack bar, but this was my first time trying and I was really happy with how they turned out.  Why didn’t I do it sooner?

Making my own not only allowed me to save money, but it also gave me the opportunity to add healthy boosts like chia and hemp seeds that the store-bought version might be lacking.  These are definitely being added to our weekly meal prep list!

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (12-14 bars)

  • 1 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup organic brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

These are ridiculously simple to make, and now that I know that I’m hoping to throw together a big batch each weekend to keep in our pantry all week long.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, and get started by measuring out the almonds and walnuts. It is important to note that these measurements were taken when the nuts were still whole, not after they had been chopped (same goes for dried fruit).

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Add all of the nuts, dried fruit, and seeds to a big bowl, and stir to combine.  You can sub in (and out!) whatever fruit and nuts you prefer and have on hand, but my advice would be to not skip the ginger. It gives a nice, unexpected punch to an otherwise relatively predictable flavor combination.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Stir in almond meal and pour brown rice syrup over the entire mixture. Stir thoroughly until the mixture is sticky and all components appear to have at least some syrup coating. You want it to be well mixed so it will hold together well after cooking!

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil, leaving excess that hangs over the edges (you will need this to lift the bars out afterward). Spray or grease the foil so that nothing will stick.

Pour the fruit and nut mixture into the pan and press down so that the mixture is tightly packed into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

After 20 minutes, the mixture will not appear to be set, but that’s okay. Pull it out and let it cool on the counter for about 15 minutes as is. Once that time has passed, the mixture should be set up and starting to harden a bit more. Use the excess foil to lift the entire mixture from the pan, and transfer to a cutting board.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Slice into even bars, but do not attempt to remove them from the foil just yet. They are still sticky and flimsy as they continue to harden, but you want to get them cut before they are too hard and cause breakage.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Allow bars to cool completely and harden, and then they should remove easily from the foil.  Resist the urge to peel them off early, or they will fall apart due to not being completely set and hardened.  You might have to hide them from tiny fingers.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

Store with wax paper between them in an airtight container.  Pack for snacks, lunches, and quick energy boosts throughout the day!

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

I’ve been putting these in my diaper bag all week, one for each of us.  They serve as a great healthy snack with a controlled amount of sugar, which is important to me as as both a mom, and as someone who tries to be mindful of her own snacking.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

I was happy that they hardened up well and held together nicely, making them easy to transport and causing very little mess.  Cullen absolutely could not get enough, and for a kid that would be happy to survive solely on toast, I was happy to see him getting good healthy fats and protein from things like nuts, chia, and hemp seeds. 

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

These are easily customizable as long as you stick to the same basic ratios.  Try a different sweetener (but make sure it’s sticky enough to hold together!), add chocolate chips or coconut flakes, make a tropical version using dried mango, pineapple, and papaya.  There are so many ways to make these different, and yet still delicious.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

And make sure to share a few with friends.

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars by Daily Garnish

As always, enjoy!

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71 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Lisa     at 8:15 am

I make homemade granola bars once a week for my kids’ lunchboxes. Looking forward to making these next week. Thanks!

[Reply]

Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs     at 8:18 am

Looks delicious! Love the photo of Cullen trying to wrangle one :)

Have a great weekend!

[Reply]

Theresa     at 8:21 am

Yum! These sounds delicious, KIND are also my favorite type of bar. I’ve been wanting to try making some bars at home, so thanks for you timely recipe! Have a great weekend!

[Reply]

jen     at 8:23 am

this is great, I love kind bars but don’t like almonds and only a few do not have them. so I can make these and add the nuts I like and cheaper too huge bonus thanks!

[Reply]

Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 8:37 am

Yummm these look so sticky and nutty and delicious! Kind bars are my favorite too – love that you created your own. I will have to try these!

[Reply]

Lauren @ The Highlands Life     at 8:38 am

Yum! I love making my own granola bars or even date balls. Quick and easy for grabbing and snacking on the go.

[Reply]

Mina     at 8:40 am

I am definitely going to finally try making bars of my own! Is there a sub for almond meal? Will WW flour work? Thanks!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’m worried WW flour might taste too raw and chalky. I think I’d try something like oat flour first!

[Reply]

Sarah G Reply:

My husband has almond allergies, and I have great luck substituting hazelnut meal/flour in every recipe. We’ve been doing it for over a year with perfect results every time. (Celiac household, so we do a LOT of gluten free baking, which involves a lot of recipes with almond meal)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great tip – thank you!

[Reply]

Tracy     at 8:48 am

thank you for the recipe. How long will they keep?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’d say at least a week as long as they are in a container?

[Reply]

Jesse     at 9:06 am

definitely in need for something like this for fall, i’m so sick of spending money on bars that seem overly processed and expensive to boot!

thanks for sharing this recipe, emily. maybe i’ll try it with some dried cherries. i can’t get enough of those.

[Reply]

Erika     at 9:08 am

Love the recipe to make our own “kind” bars! Thanks!

[Reply]

Marie     at 9:11 am

They look delicious. I’d be interested in seeing the per-bar cost of making these from scratch compared to the packaged $2 granola bars!

[Reply]

Nina Reply:

Ditto :-)

[Reply]

Ashley N. Reply:

I third that! :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I thought about that too! I already had all the ingredients on hand, so not sure of original price, but I’ll pay better attention to the bulk prices next time we’re at the store!

[Reply]

Jan Reply:

A little disappointed in your response. I would definitely be interested in the cost per bar. The cost of nuts is high, so I’m wondering if it’s really a savings.

[Reply]

Danielle Reply:

She admitted that she doesn’t know and will make certain to find out in the future. What was she supposed to do, drop everything and run to the store for you?

I would say that in my household it would be a savings one way or another. I always have some assortment of nuts, seeds and dried fruit in the pantry anyhow. I just typically eat them by the handful rather than as a bar.

[Reply]

jennifer-anne Reply:

I made the recipe last night after a trip to the bulk store to buy the ingredients. Total trip cost was $19 – with enough ingredients left over to make a second batch.
I chose not to use walnuts or pumpkin seeds – but purchased alternate nuts and seeds to use instead.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

This is so helpful — thank you for coming back and letting me (us!) know! So definitely a big savings if $19 gets you 24-28 bars. Plus you get to customize and add whatever you like. Hope you liked the final product!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’m not really sure how to provide a better answer right now without any price information available. I used all ingredients I already had in my pantry!

[Reply]

Carlee     at 9:12 am

These look awesome! I’m wondering when Cullen was able to start eating things like these. We have a 14 month old and I didn’t know when I could start giving him bars with nuts in them. Not worried about allergies anymore, but choking. Thanks!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Hmmmm memory feels foggy, but I want to say I let him try whole almonds around 18 months? He also has a totally full mouth of teeth, other than 2 year molars. It depends on how comfortable you feel with your child’s ability to chew and swallow efficiently. Sometimes Cullen still jams too much raw baby carrot in his mouth and gags, so I just give him one at a time. With these, I’m not really worried but I still make sure I’m paying attention, and not like zoning out at the wheel or something.

[Reply]

Sally Mae     at 9:14 am

you rock! I’ll be making these tonight. :)

[Reply]

Katie @ Serenity in the Storm     at 9:23 am

These look great! I’ve been making raw carrot cake bars every other day for the last week or so. I just can’t get enough of them. It’s so fun trying out different bar recipes. I’m a Lara bar fan myself, and have found those surprisingly easy to replicate at home with just a few ingredients. :-)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I like Lara bars too but was feeling too lazy to pit dates. :)

[Reply]

Nina     at 9:25 am

This might be a good way to use the leftover pulp from almond milk. I’ll have to try!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

That is a great idea!

[Reply]

Sara @ LovingOnTheRun     at 9:38 am

These look delicious and so so healthy!!

[Reply]

Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run     at 10:27 am

yummm. pinning this recipe for sure. i love the addition of ginger. & yes to chia and hemp seeds!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Hillary!!

[Reply]

Heidi     at 10:46 am

I’m not a huge fan of brown rice syrup – do you have any suggestions for an alternative sweetener that would harden up in the same way?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I would try agave nectar or honey!

[Reply]

Stacy Reply:

I second agave nectar – I have used t in bar recipes before. It does give a distinct taste, so make sre you like it first.

[Reply]

Ali     at 12:24 pm

Those look so good! I’ve been wanting to make my own bars too. I buy them too often in the store and they are pricey little things!

[Reply]

Shel@PeachyPalate     at 12:44 pm

Really love that they’re grain free too! They look yum…totally pinning!

[Reply]

Bridget S.     at 3:50 pm

Would honey or maple syrup work as substitutes? I love kind bars too!

[Reply]

Alex @ Kenzie Life     at 6:38 pm

Oh these look so delicious! I really love KIND bars but I don’t have them nearly enough. My favorite ones are Zing bars, which hold me over during class until I can eat a late lunch. My goal is to make these this weekend!

[Reply]

Stacy     at 8:12 pm

All the dried cranberries I can find here aren’t sulfate-free. We have a Natural Grocers (who have dried fruit, just not cranberry), Kroger, and Target, but no Trader Joes or Whole Foods. Any suggestions?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Hmm I used Trader Joe’s. :/

[Reply]

PhillyLass     at 6:32 am

These look great! Do you think parchment paper would work? I try not to use foil because of the aluminum. Also, would maple syrup work to bind everything together? I just got a great big jug of it as a gift and I don’t make pancakes or waffles much.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Yes, parchment would definitely work. I’m not sure maple syrup will be sticky enough — it’s much thinner than brown rice syrup.

[Reply]

Emily @ Life on Food     at 3:45 am

No only do they taste good but I love all of the pretty colors.

[Reply]

Alexis @ Hummusapien     at 10:20 am

I just made these and followed the recipe exactly, except I used honey instead of brown rice syrup. They’re absolutely fantastic!! Like a KIND bar except way better! I halved the recipe and baked it in a 7 x 11in pan and used parchment paper instead of foil. Once i let them cool, I cut them and stuck them in the fridge. They do stick together, but probably not as well as the brown rice syrup version. Either way, they’re absolutely delicious and perfect for snacking on the go!

[Reply]

Heidi Reply:

Thanks for letting us know how subbing honey worked out!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much for this, Alexis!! Happy to hear they were good and stuck together okay. Sounds like agave isn’t sticky enough, so glad to know honey might be a better sub option.

[Reply]

Marissa@ohhhsolovely     at 1:20 pm

those do look really delicious!i’ve always questioned whether or not it’s cheaper for us to make our own or not. i always feel like after buying the supplies, i’ve spent just as much!

[Reply]

Allison     at 6:43 pm

Where do you purchase organic brown rice syrup? I made these this weekend and used agave instead- they didn’t hold together at all :( Not to worry though- we ate some of the mixture on top of oatmeal this morning and it was soooo good!

[Reply]

Cynthia     at 5:27 am

Hello from Spain!

This recipe looks absolutely fantastic. I would love to do it and I would like to know if in your opinion I can use marple syrup instead of organic brown rice syrup. Also, any suggestion to use instead of almond meal? I am afraid we do not have the same ingredients here in Spain and some are very difficult to find.

Thank you!

[Reply]

Cynthia Reply:

Hello again,

Forget about the almond meal. I thought it was something different. We do of course have it here.
Thanks!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Maybe try honey? My only worry is that it won’t hold together quite as well. Brown rice syrup is super sticky!

[Reply]

Cynthia Reply:

Thank you for the advise and congratulations for your new baby! You look all so cute.
Un fuerte abrazo!

[Reply]

Annie     at 8:53 am

would agave work in place of brown rice syrup?

[Reply]

Allison Reply:

I tried these first with agave last weekend because I didn’t have any brown rice syrup… they didn’t hold together at all :(

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Boo, I’m sorry. But I appreciate you coming back to let me (us!) know. I was worried agave wouldn’t be sticky enough. I hope the mixture was still edible as a crumble or topping!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It sounds like it doesn’t hold together as well with agave!

[Reply]

marquis @realrawkitchen     at 11:29 am

YUM! I recently made something similar but I love the combination in yours. Mine was more like a chocolatey treat so not something sustainable if you want to keep your figure ;) I love this because it obviously holds together well, passes the toddler test, and is still nutritious, whole ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

[Reply]

Sarah G     at 11:39 am

My 4-year-old and I made these together this morning, and even though we forgot the second 1/4 C of agave, they came out finger-licking good! So delicious! Falling apart on the edges; probably more of a granola, but very good. I won’t forget the rest of the agave next time. We already have plans to make some with cashews and dates (the little ones already chopped and coated in oat flour will be so easy to work with!)

Thanks a million Emily. I’m starting to check your twitter regularly to see if you are in labor ;-)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

So happy to hear you liked them, and that they provided a fun mom/daughter activity! I think they stick better with brown rice syrup, but glad to hear the crumble was still tasty. Dates are always a good addition!!

[Reply]

joelle (on a pink typewriter)     at 11:51 am

1. These look delicious.
2. Love that pic of Cullen’s hand grabbing at the plate!
3. I have that same placemat.
4. Best wishes to you as you near the end of your pregnancy! :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Joelle!

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Pumpkin Spice Ginger Walnut Muffins.     at 4:07 pm

[...] Two recipes in a row?  Someone stop me!  Actually, I’m fairly certain someone is going to bring my train to a screeching halt very soon, but we’ll figure that out when the time comes. [...]

Meal Planning: Week of September 29     at 4:03 am

[...] Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars [...]

Kerri     at 7:43 pm

Hey, I just wanted to say that I tried these with honey and they did not work AT ALL. Not sticky enough. Maybe my honey had a different moisture content. I put them back in to the over for another 20 minutes to toast up a little more and now just have a nut mixture to eat with a spoon or a yogurt topping. There are worst things in life! I did make one other sub in the fact instead of almond meal (I was out) I used PB2. I wouldn’t think that would have made a difference, but maybe it did.

[Reply]

Fruit and Nut Bars | rosamala     at 1:47 pm

[...] restaurant dishes)–I just wanted to stick to protein and dried fruit.  I had stumbled across this recipe a few months ago and had made a mental note to try it out.  Today was the perfect opportunity to [...]

Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars | The Body Department     at 9:12 am

[...] [Recipe via Daily Garnish] [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Banana Coconut Overnight Chia Pudding.     at 10:45 am

[...] For a tiny seed, they pack a big punch!  We sprinkle them in oatmeal, add them to homemade granola bars, and use them as egg substitutes sometimes in vegan baking.  And now, we eat them for [...]

Kelly-Approved Treats | kellybaked     at 2:04 pm

[...] Fruit & Nut Bars from the Daily Garnish – I really love the apricot and ginger in these. They are similar to the Copycat Kind Bars (pictured above) I’ve posted before but are softer and chewier, which I really enjoy. [...]

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