These healthy fruit and nuts bars are so delicious and so easy to make- and secretly rich in plant based iron! They are gluten and grain free, paleo friendly, packed full of good fats, protein and antioxidants and use only 8 ingredients.
FRUIT AND NUT MIX
- 1 1/3 cup (185g) packed, dried best-quality apricots (see notes)
- 1 cup (100g) goji berries (see notes)
- 1 cup (70g) shredded coconut
- 1 cup (130g) sesame seeds
- 1 cup (130g) almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup (70g) runny, natural peanut butter (see notes)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g dark chocolate (1 used 90%, but anything between 60-90% will be great)
- 1 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
- Add the apricots and goji berries to a food processor and pulse to form a thick paste. This can take a while, and it wont become smooth, however you want a mixture that is quite broken down and very soft or spreadable. If your mixture does not seem like a wet-ish mass (it should) add 1 tsp of water at a time (to the food processor while its running) until it does. Don’t add more than 3 tsp of water though. Set aside.
- Add the coconut, sesame seeds, almonds and peanut butter to a large bowl. Mix well, and use your hands to get everything mixed evenly. Spread on the lined baking tray in a thin layer then bake for 7-9 minutes or until the mix becomes fragrant and just starts to brown. BE CAREFUL to not burn! Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Don’t skip this step. I have, and it burns your hands in the next step!
- Pour slightly cooled nut mixture back into the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the apricot and goji mixture into the bowl as well, taking time to get all of the blended fruit into the bowl. Add vanilla, then mix the contents well. It is easiest to get your hands in there, squeezing everything together. If the fruit you used was quite dry (and you didn’t get enough water in during step 2), you can easily remedy this by adding an extra 1 Tbsp nut butter. You want to be able to pick up an amount of the mix and shape it together to hold well, but not be so wet that it sticks to your hand and is too wet to work with. Once you have reached this consistency, squeeze some of the mixture into desired shapes. I choose small logs about 2 Tbsp in size- you could do balls instead. Place each one back on the lined tray, and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Place tray in the freezer for 1 hour.
- After the hour, break the chocolate into small chunks and add to a heat proof bowl with the 1 Tbsp peanut butter. Set over a pot of just simmering water (make sure the bowl sits above the water line, and does not touch it). Melt fully, then remove from the heat.
- Remove bars from the freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate. I find using two forks easiest to do this, dropping each one into the bowl, then rolling them to coat. Use the two forks to pick the bar up and allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl before placing the bar back onto the lined tray. Repeat with all the bars, then place the tray back in the fridge to set.
- Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge (for up to 2 weeks) or the freezer (up to 3 months).
- I use the best quality dried apricots I can find 9and organic ones to reduce sulphate consumption- but that is my personal preference). The apricots I used were very soft, juicy and flavoursome. If your apricots are hard and stiff increase the volume to at least 220g in total.
- Goji Berrys come in varying degrees of quality, similarly to dried apricots. Opt to use ones that are softer and juicer where possible, but don’t stress too much about the. it is just important to take note that if your fruit is dry and hard the recipe will have less moister than mine and thus the mix might end up too dry. This is easily remedied- just add more water when blending the fruit.
- You can sub peanut butter for any preferred nut or seed butter.
Keywords: Vegan, plant based recipes, paleo friendly, grain free, fruit and nut