Crunchy Nut Bars

In my post on Coconut Granola Bars, I mentioned that I’ve been looking for the perfect bar recipe for ages with very little success.  Well, in a stroke of really good luck, it seems like I’ve found two great recipes in just a few short weeks!  One of the blogs I follow is called Enlightened Cooking, and cookbook author Camilla has tons of bar recipes, many of which look great, but use nut butters or dates (which I don’t much care for), or lots of sugar to stick together.  But recently she posted recipes for replicas of TRIO and KIND bars.  I had no idea what these were until I happened to be given a free sample of an almond coconut KIND bar, which turned out to be delicious.  I went back to check out the recipe more carefully and found out that this recipe meets pretty much all of my criteria – wholesome ingredients, no nut butters or dates, moderate sugar, and a simple process.  Could this be for real?

I tested it out, and sure enough these bars were not only easy to make, but they tasted great!  Light, crunchy, and a little bit sweet.  I even brought a few to a friend with a new baby, and she immediately asked me for the recipe (for when the baby is not so new anymore of course :).  So while I am a big fan of the taste of the Coconut Granola Bars, I am completely sold on the simplicity of these bars.  I just made batch #4 today and love having these around to snack on!  I made a few tweaks to the recipe to suit my taste, so definitely check back to the original post for more ideas for including dried fruits, seeds, etc.

Almond Coconut Bars

 

Walnut Coconut Bars

 

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Crunchy Nut Bars
adapted from Enlightened Cooking

2 1/2 cups roughly chopped almonds or walnuts (measured before chopping)
2/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut (shaved or shredded)
2/3 cup crisp brown rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup honey or brown rice syrup

Toast the nuts by placing in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking every couple of minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, letting the paper come up on two sides to form “handles”.  (Alternatively, line with foil AND spray with oil.)

In a medium bowl, add the coconut, rice cereal, and salt.  By this point the nuts should be toasty enough; add them to the bowl and mix.  (Note, if you are using large shavings of coconut, you might want to keep it aside and throw it in the hot pan for a minute or 2 after the nuts are done toasting to highlight the coconut taste).

Add the honey or brown rice syrup and mix until all ingredients are well coated.  Transfer to prepared pan, spread as best you can using a spoon, and then use a piece of parchment paper or sprayed foil to push down the mixture evenly throughout the pan.

Bake for 18 minutes and remove to a rack (the bars will still seem really soft, but they are ready to come out!).  Cool for 10 minutes, until the bars are set enough to remove from pan but still warm, and use the parchment or foil handles to transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into your desired number of bars and cool completely.  If you are using foil, the bars may stick until they are 100% cool but they should release easily at that point!  If you still have trouble, place bars in the freezer for a little bit and then try again.

Bars will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature, or can be frozen.

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