Friday, January 6, 2012
Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars (V, GF)
Today's recipe is so healthy, it may downright shock you. I'm not blogging about a Paula Deen-esque granola bar filled with yogurt chips, peanut butter, brown sugar and butter.
NOPE. Absolutely no added butter, oil, or sugar to be found here.
These, my lovely readers, are homemade fruit, nut, and oat bars containing nothing but dried fruit, nuts, grains, and a bit of unsweetened chocolate. You see, I believe in purity with certain things- dessert should be dessert- use butter, use shortening, use sugar. Please, the more the better. Dessert is meant to be indulged in on special occasions or, if you're like me, all of the time in moderation. It is not meant to be a meal, or to provide any sort of nutrition.
The same is true for health food, only inverted. I don't believe in unhealthy granola bars, high calorie muffins (except maybe the pumpkin cream cheese one from Starbucks?), or sugary yogurt parfaits. I simply do not see the point in pretending to be healthy, while eating something that contains the same amount of saturated fat and/or refined sugar as a big hunk of cake. I would much rather just have the cake!
Anyway, I'm done with my rant.
The reason I've decided to make these bars on Pixie Crust is because I've fallen in love with Kind Bars and Lara Bars. Since I've gone gluten free, I've eaten one pretty much every day. The best part? They're gluten free and vegan, so pretty much everyone can eat them. Plus, they're made only of natural, raw ingredients like dried fruit and nuts.
I really like breakfast foods that I can eat on the go because despite the fact that I love baking, I'm not necessarily inclined towards a baker's schedule. I typically hit my alarm until I have only 15-20 minutes to get out of the door. I grab a bar and a piece of fruit and I'm out ready to face the mean freeways of Los Angeles.
Mr. Pixie Crust and I are also on a bit of a health kick now that it's the New Year. Let's just say that we've both packed on a few newlywed pounds. I used to live a lifestyle of eating sad frozen diet dinners every weeknight and going to the gym a few days a week (mainly out of boredom), but now I'm 1000% happier and a bit plumper for the wear.
Don't worry, I'll continue to post desserts 95% of the time, I just figured a break might be in order now that the overindulging of the holiday season has passed.
Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars (Makes 8 large bars)
½ cup flax seed meal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup quick cook oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Oats)
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp cacao nibs
1/2 cup water + approx. 1-2 tbsp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Place cherries in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until chopped.
Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and knead or stir until mixture is pliable and forms a ball.
Press mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Cut into squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter before placing in the oven.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
You can give them cute packaging, if you're so inclined: