Homemade berry-date fruit bars

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This is another attempt to fill my freezer with healthier snacks I can grab when I have busy days at the hospital. I love the organic fruit bars you can buy (i.e. apricot and manuka honey) but they cost way too much for my student budget. Enter a homemade version, and this way you know exactly what’s in it as well!

Berry-date wholemeal fruit bars

Adapted from Food and Whine: Homemade fruit bars

Filling:

  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup water

Dough:

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 generous tbsp flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup cup wholemeal flour
  • 3/4 cup plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line two cookie trays with baking paper.

In a saucepan, simmer filling ingredients on medium-low until the water has evaporated and the fruit looks quite soft.  Leave to cool for a few minutes.

Blitz oats and flax seeds in food processor until you get a coarse flour. Transfer to a bowl. Blitz your fruit mix in the processor and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flours and oat-flaxseed until a dough forms (if too sticky add some more flour). Flour your workspace and divide dough into manageable portions (I did 3). Roll the dough out on floured board until about 0.5cm thick. Trim edges to make a rectangle. Leaving 5cm space on the edge, place a line of filling along the rectangle, then fold over the dough to make a bar. It will look fragile and like it can’t possibly hold together but it will! Cut your roll into your desired sizes and place on the trays. Repeat until you have used all the dough and filling (any excess dough can be turned into thumbprint jam cookies!). Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden (not too dark). Transfer to a wire rack to cool, where they should firm up a bit and become quite hardy.

Makes ~20 4cmx4cm bars with a bit of leftover dough. Store baked bars individually wrapped in the freezer for convenient healthy snacking or leave on the bench in an airtight container for a few days.

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