Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recipe: cranberry vanilla nut bars

All of my life, I've been a snacker. Maybe it's the always-be-prepared girl scout in me, but for years, you'd never find me without some kind of shelf-stable sustenance hangin' out in my purse. Even before I went grain/gluten-free almost two (!) years ago, I was a huge fan of larabars, a simple bar made just with dried fruit & nuts. While they're tasty & super portable, I can't always justify spending $1.29 per bar every trip to Trader Joe's, and thus-- I got to experimenting in my kitchen :)

The goal was to make these as cheaply and easily as possible-- mostly making do with things I already had lying around, but also ensuring I wasn't spending more in money & time making them than I would buying them, because um, hello. I used deglet noor dates, which can be found a bit more inexpensively & easily than medjool. Slivered almonds were the nut of choice, mainly because they were already in my pantry, and also more cost-effective. Lastly, cranberries, because 1. yum, 2. cheap! I wasn't even going to post about this, but you guys. These were so so so so good, I just had to. Definitely more economical, dare I say even more tasty than store-bought, and a flavor you can't find anywhere but your own kitchen! A win in my book.

Wrapped in saran wrap because hey, I never claimed to be a food blogger :)
1 c. nuts (I used almonds, slivered)
1 c. dates (deglet noor, whole & pitted)
1/2 c. dried fruit (cranberries)
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp. water

Add all ingredients except for water & vanilla into food processor, process until well chopped. The end goal here is for a dough ball, so if your ingredients are wet enough to form itself into a ball, great! You're done. If not, add the vanilla and water and process until ball forms, or until sticky & holds together. Even if your dough forms without liquid, I'd still recommend adding vanilla, it's delish! Take dough ball out of food processor, lay on a sheet of saran wrap. Fold saran wrap over dough (to protect your hands from stickiness) and press dough until it lays flat and somewhat square-shaped. Toss it in the fridge until it's cool and firmed up, cut into pieces, individually wrap & store in fridge! I make about 9 small squares, but serving size is up to you. Feel free to play around with ingredients within this basic framework-- enjoy!


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