Apple Pie Bars

Even the “healthiest” granola or protein bar you find on the grocery store shelf can contain ingredients you may not want to consume regularly. KIND Bars, filled with nuts and seeds and coated with a drizzle of chocolate or caramel are, by far, the one bar that has the shortest, most whole food ingredient list of all the healthier snack foods, and still contains sugars extracted from other foods.

Larabars, Cliff Bars, Naked Bars, RXBars or any other brand of bar you find packaged at the grocery come in tempting flavors like blueberry muffin, carrot cake, chocolate chip brownie, and apple pie but can easily be made right at home with a few choice ingredients! This can save you money, and more importantly, giving you total control over the ingredients you use.

This month’s recipe is a healthy substitute for your favorite bar with an apple pie theme, as it is apple season after all! They are made up of fruit & nuts (and sometimes cocoa powder/chocolate chips, depending on the flavors you’re going for)– and that’s it! No weird, unpronounceable ingredients. Keep in mind that this recipe is adaptable to your liking, so if you don’t want to use nuts, you can substitute with various seeds instead, with the same result.

This recipe hits all the sweet and chewy buttons with a little crunch, using just 6 ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, dried apples, raisins, and cinnamon. The ingredients go for a quick spin in the food processor, chopping up the nuts and turns the dates & raisins into a paste that holds the bars together. The fruit and nut mixture comes together in a few minutes, then you just press it into a baking pan, cut it into bars, and your homemade bars are ready to eat! There’s no cooking or chilling required. This recipe makes ten bars.

One bar per serving gives you: Calories: 190 | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Sugar: 18g

You may find that this recipe has a lot of carbs and sugar, however, because there are no extracted sugars, artificial colorings or flavorings or other unknown additions, the phytonutrients, fiber, and vitamins and minerals provide way more benefit than the extra carb/sugar aspect, specially if you don’t overindulge. So enjoy as a healthy treat or eat it as a pre- or post-workout snack.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Apple Pie Bars

Ingredients

  • 9 large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raisins packed
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened apples
  • 1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in the food processor, with the dried fruit on the bottom, and blend until the fruit & nut mixture is finely chopped and sticking together.
  • Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking dish with wax paper, with extra around the sides (used to lift the mixture out of the pan in order to cut them.)
  • Spoon the mixture into the pan and cover with the another sheet of wax paper. Press the mixture around the pan and into the corners with the back of the spoon until it is evenly spread. When you are satisfied with the thickness and shape, remove the top sheet of wax paper.
  • Lift the bottom wax paper out of the pan and lay flat. Cut the mixture into 10 equal bars. Wrap or enjoy right away.
  • Wrap individually in wax paper or place into a container, alternately layering with wax paper so they don’t stick together.
  • Store in pantry for up to 3 months or refrigerator/freezer for up to 6 months, but they won’t last that long!

Options

* Use Medjool dates and not another variety, since the stickiness of the Medjool dates is what binds everything together.

* If your raisins and dates seem dry, soak them in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes before using.

* Make your own dried apples in the oven on the lowest setting (150-max 170 degrees) with the oven door open to dehydrate them, after slicing them very thin. Be careful not to cook them.

* Substitute chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts.

* Substitute oatmeal for the nuts or seeds