Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Energize Me

These Cranberry-Pistachio-Almond Bars would have been a gorgeous alternative to Christmas cookies, but Jen over at Use Real Butter didn't give me the idea until after Christmas! Actually, she's blogged a few versions of her homemade fruit and nut style-Lärabars, and I've always wanted to try them. I remember Lärabars when they first came out, and I still buy them on occasion, but these are so easy to make at home!

Before I get too ahead of myself, I really need to send a little love Jen's way. She has been one of my main idols in the food blogging arena from Day 1 - going way back to 2007 when I knew absolutely nothing about food blogging or photography. We also share a love of dogs and the mountains. Jen has almost convinced me, on numerous occasions, to pack it all up and move to Colorado. Her food, nature and wildlife photography is beyond stunning. Someday, I hope to meet this awesome and inspirational woman!

I started out following Jen's recipe, but didn't realize I only had a cup of pistachios. Fortunately, I also had a cup of Marcona almonds left over from a recent recipe. I decided to mix the two nuts, and decided to also add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla bean paste.

I've been enjoying one of these bars either in the morning, with my Greek yogurt, or in the afternoon for a snack. Everyone at the office really loved them.

Dried Cranberries, Dates, Pistachios, Almonds, Orange for zest
Not shown: Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Paste

Left: Cranberries, Dates, Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Paste
Right: Pistachios and Almonds

Fruit and nut mixtures, and orange zest

Mixed together thoroughly with your hands

Pressed into parchment-lined 8 x 8 baking pan

Transfer to freezer to firm up before cutting

Sliced and ready to eat!

Cranberry-Pistachio-Almond Energy Bars
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 16 bars

1 1/2 cups dried Medjool dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds
Zest of one Orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Place the cranberries, dates, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste in a food processor and process until paste-like. Transfer the dried fruit mixture to a large mixing bowl. Place the pistachios and almonds into the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour the nuts into the mixing bowl with the dried fruit. Add the grated orange zest. Using your hands, mix well so that the nuts are incorporated evenly. Line a 8 × 8-inch baking pan with parchment and transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Press firmly and evenly, making sure to get the mixture into the corners. Put the pan in the freezer for about an hour. When the mixture is frozen, lift the contents from the pan. Carefully slice the frozen square into eight slices (or whatever size you wish) and then slice each one of those in half. Store in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator. Makes about 16 1 x 4-inch bars.


Denise & Trapper

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