Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.
Fruit and Nut Bar Recipe
I first discovered these delicious and satisfying breakfast bars when I was still working full-time. I’m not a morning person, so these were easy to take along to work and eat later when I felt more inclined. They hold together very well, so I would put a few in a ziplock and just throw them in my bag. They were also great to tide me over until dinner on a long workday. The recipe was shared by a local bakery on our San Antonio Living morning show.
These bars contain loads of healthy nuts and seeds—and just a quarter cup of oil for several dozen bars. You can also use egg whites instead of whole eggs and substitute other types of flour for regular wheat flour. You can use any favored dried fruits. I tweaked the recipe to add more liquids. I assume the bakery used a very large mixer. This recipe will not fit in a standard home mixer. It was impossible for me to adequately incorporate all the ingredients by hand without adding more liquid.
In full disclosure, these breakfast bars have a lot of ingredients and are labor-intensive. I will admit, however, that they are worth it. They freeze and thaw well, which I consider a bonus.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup oat bran
- ½ cup ground flax or ¾ cup flax seeds
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 10 oz pureed prunes
- ¼ cup oil
- 16 oz egg whites
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 2-4 Tbsp water (rinse prune containers)
- 2 cups brown sugar or 1 cup Splenda brown sugar
- 4 oz raisins
- 2 10-oz pkg dried mixed fruit
Comments on Ingredients
- Flour: Consider using non-wheat flour or a combination of flours. I usually used two types of flour for this recipe. There are many available: oat, almond, coconut, amaranth, soy, buckwheat, spelt, white rice, brown rice, and tapioca flour.
- Prunes: I bought baby food pureed prunes.
- Eggs: I used the equivalent of 8 whole eggs. If you’re not concerned about calories or cholesterol and want to use whole eggs, use about 8 medium to large eggs. If using egg whites, like Eggbeaters, ¼ cup is the equivalent of 1 large egg, so use 2 cups of egg whites.
- Brown sugar: The recipe called for 2 cups of brown sugar. I always use light brown sugar unless the recipe specifies using dark. You can use artificial brown sugar sweetener, the equivalent of 2 cups of brown sugar. My palate is very sensitive to artificial sweetener aftertaste. I usually use 1 cup of brown sugar and the equivalent of 1 cup of artificial sweetener.
- Raisins: I use mixed raisins. I buy a mix of large and small brown raisins and large and small golden raisins.
- Dried fruit: I suppose you could use almost any dried fruit or a combination of fruits. I’ve tried some variations, but I am partial to dried cherries. I usually use a 10 oz package of mixed dried fruit and a 6 oz package of cherries.
- Liquid ingredients: I did a lot of tweaking on the number of egg whites, prunes, and water. The volume of the ingredients did not fit in a standard kitchen mixing bowl, so I mixed by hand. The original recipe had very little liquid and was impossible to get the ingredients adequately mixed.
- Measure all dry ingredients—flour, oats, bran, flax, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a large bowl, like a very large stainless steel mixing bowl.
- Work in liquids, then fruits, then nuts.
- Form into thick bars and place on baking sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Comments on Instructions
- Mixing: These bars are a chore to get mixed. The recipe is from a bakery in San Antonio from around 2006. They may be a snap if you have a huge mixing bowl and a dough hook, but this recipe doesn’t fit into a home-model electric mixer bowl. I had to tweak the recipe, adding additional liquid to make it manageable to mix by spoon and hand.
- Incorporating the fruits, nuts, and seeds: You have to continuously put in the effort to keep the chunky ingredients mixed in as you’re making your bars or cookies. Otherwise, you wind up with an excess left in the bowl after you’re portioned everything out. It’s especially challenging to minimize the amount of flax seeds left in the bowl.
- Bars or cookies: I lost track of the original, non-tweaked version of the recipe years ago. I’m not sure what the original recommendation was for portioning and baking. I’ve done bars and rounds but used pans instead of portioning by hand.
- Baking: I usually use a muffin tin for jumbo muffins to make it quicker and easier to form large cookie-like “bars” than forming by hand. I fill the tins about 1/3 to ½ full. I bake them for about 8 minutes at 350, then transfer them to a baking sheet and bake for another 8 minutes. They seem to cook more evenly this way.
- Baking pans: I most often use the jumbo muffin tins, which make 6 per pan. I have 3. You can also get pans that accommodate 4 to 6 small loaves. This recipe makes several dozen, so you will have to bake in batches. In the pictures, you can see regular standard-sized muffin tins. My dad’s wife made these. I think she did the entire cook time with them in the pans.
© 2018 rmcrayne