These whole-foods fruit-and-nut energy bars are perfect, portable, junk-free, delicious, and wildly wholesome snacking. Minimal packaging, maximum energy, and quick and easy to make. Full of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
They're loosely modeled after various expensive packaged bars, but they're so much cheaper, they're fully customizable, and they're sized just right for kids, i.e. they're small. Which is good because they are pure food and so quite filling.
Yield: 8 bars
Follow the basic 2 to 1 ratio of dried fruit to nuts and create your own flavors. But these are some of our favorites: Cherry Tart: walnuts, almonds, dates, cherries Peanut Butter Snap: peanuts, dates, dash of vanilla, sprinkle of salt Apricot Muffin: almonds, dates, apricots Apple Brown Betty: pecans, dates, apples, pinch of cinnamon Key Lime Pie: coconut, pecans, dates, apples, finely grated lime zest
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the nuts fine, then tip them into a bowl.
Now grind the fruit until it turns into small clumps, then add the nuts back in and process again until a small handful of the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. (If this never happens, then add in a few more dates; conversely, if the mixture seems too damp, add a few more nuts.)
Tear off four squares of wax paper, then tear them in half to make 8 rectangles.
Divide the mixture into 8 parts by picking up handfuls and squeezing. Squeeze and press some more to form each lump into a rough rectangle, then wrap in the wax paper. I do this the way I would make a burrito: I lay the bar near and parallel to a short side of the rectangle, then fold the long sides in, then roll it all up. Store them in air-tight container in the refrigerator.