These homemade bars make great snacks or lunch-box treats. You can assemble them in minutes and walk away while they set in the refrigerator — no baking required! Use this recipe as a template for variations using any of your favorite dried fruits and nuts.
Chewy Fruit & Nut Bars
1 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) whole almonds
1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g.) whole cashews
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) dried cranberries
1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g.) chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup (5 oz./155 g.) brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted creamy almond butter
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Line an 8-inch (20-cm.) square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an inch or so of overhang on 2 opposite edges to use later as a handle. Grease foil with 1 teaspoon butter.
In a large bowl, stir together brown rice cereal, almonds, cashews, cranberries and apricots. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir or whisk together brown rice syrup, almond butter, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and salt until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
Immediately pour hot almond butter mixture over cereal mixture in bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix until cereal, fruit and nuts are evenly coated and distributed.
With lightly buttered hands, press mixture firmly and evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Lift out of pan and transfer to a cutting board. Use a sharp buttered knife to cut into 20 bars; remove from foil. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container, with sheets of waxed paper between layers, for up to 1 week. Makes 20 bars.
Make fresh, nutritious, home-cooked meals easier than ever with our cookbook Healthy in a Hurry, by Karen Ansel & Charity Ferreira.