Fruit Bars 16.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

No Bake Treats Aug 27, 2014

Here's an intensely flavorful snack packed with dried fruit, nuts, seeds and coconut: a great addition to your no-bake repertoire.

The key to a tasty result is to use a variety of ingredients; integrating a little coconut oil helps to bind the mixture while a good slurp of vanilla extract rounds out and deepens the flavor.

Once pasty (honestly, that's the ideal) and pressed into a small loaf pan, the confection is refrigerated until firm and easy to slice.

You'll need a 7-by-4-inch loaf pan. Author Lisa Yockelson says a heavy-duty food processor is essential for this recipe. Do not substitute a blender or low-powered food processor, and do not leave the processor unattended as it runs.

Make Ahead: The fruit-mixture loaf needs to be refrigerated for at least 5 hours and up to overnight. The uncut loaf or sliced bars can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; individually wrapped for long-term storage.


Servings:
16

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 2/3 cups moist dried apricot halves (about 6 1/3 ounces), snipped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup moist pitted dates (about 2 3/4 ounces), snipped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup moist dried apples (about 1 3/5 ounces), snipped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature (may substitute coconut "butter")
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1 ounce), plus more for optional garnish
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, preferably flaked sea salt

Directions

Line the bottom and sides of the loaf pan with a double layer of plastic wrap wide enough to allow the long sides to eventually overlap and seal the fruit bar loaf.

Combine the apricots, dates and apples in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds, or until chopped. Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, coconut flakes and the brown rice syrup or honey, if using; pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the cashew pieces, pumpkin seeds and salt; pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute.

Continue to pulse for about 1 more minute, until the mixture is dense, comes together in big, clinging clumps and becomes pasty. If the mixture balls up during this time, stop and carefully break it up. (If the mixture is not thoroughly processed until pasty, it will not adhere to itself well enough, and will not cut cleanly once thoroughly chilled.) You should be able to see small bits and flecks of the nuts and seeds rather than one solid color.

Carefully remove the blade from the food processor, and use a sturdy offset knife to dislodge any fruit bar paste that might cling to the blade, then use the knife to scrape and transfer globs of the fruit mixture to the loaf pan. Use a flexible spatula to firmly press the mixture into an even layer. If desired, coarsely chop extra coconut flakes, cashews and/or pumpkin seeds (about 4 teaspoons total) and distribute evenly over the surface, gently pressing them in place while the mixture is still sticky. Fold over the flaps of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate for 5 hours, or up to overnight, until quite firm.

Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the loaf into 16 equal slices (bars), or store the fruit-bar block whole in the loaf pan and slice to order. Keep refrigerated, either way.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author Lisa Yockelson.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.