Carob and nutty fruit bars

Makes about 12 bars

1 ½ cups (375 ml) toasted slivered almonds
1 cup (250 ml) walnuts, pecan or macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chia seeds (optional)
½ cup (125 ml) mixed seeds, such as sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 cup (250 ml) flaked coconut (optional)
½ cup (125 ml) unsweetened carob chips (optional)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cardamom (optional)
½ teaspoon (2 ml) ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sea salt
1 cup (250 ml) pitted dates, chopped
⅓ cup (80 ml) honey
2 egg whites
1 cup (250 ml) roughly chopped mixed dried fruit, such as apricot, mango, goji berries, cranberries and raisins
2 medium apples, cored and grated
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Method

 

1.Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
2.In the bowl of a food processor, process ½ cup almonds until finely chopped, 20 to 30 seconds.
3.Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining almonds, nuts, seeds, coconut, carob and spices. Stir to combine.
4.Puree the dates, honey and egg whites for a couple of seconds in a high power blender.
Add the pureed fruit, chopped fruit and grated apple, drizzled with lemon juice, to the nut and seed mixture.
5.Mix well to combine.
6.Line an 20 by 20 cm square baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter. 7.Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and evenly spread out with a spatula. Use your hands to firmly flatten the mixture.
8.Bake until golden brown around the edges, 30 to 45 minutes.
9.Transfer to a wire rack to cool. It will continue to firm up as it cools. Slice into 12 equal size bars, and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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