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Make a batch of these easy homemade dried-fruit bars to tuck into your kid's lunchbox all week.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2010


Recipe Summary

2 hrs 45 mins

Nutrition Profile:



Fruit Filling


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare crust: Combine 3/4 cup nuts (or oats), whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated.

  • Whisk egg, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture

  • to the food processor. Process, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts (or oats). Set aside for the topping.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  • To prepare fruit filling & assemble bars: Combine 2 cups dried fruit, cider, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 cups dried fruit and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.

  • Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1 1/2 hours.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the crust and topping (Steps 1-2) for up to 1 day. Cover or individually wrap and refrigerate the cooled bars for up to 5 days.

Tip: Lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat and has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores.

Easy cleanup: Dessert pans can be a headache to clean. Skip the soaking and scrubbing by lining your pan with parchment paper before you bake.

Nutrition Facts

243 calories; protein 3g; carbohydrates 40.1g; dietary fiber 3.1g; sugars 13.9g; fat 8.9g; saturated fat 2.2g; cholesterol 17.1mg; vitamin a iu 710.6IU; vitamin c 1.3mg; folate 23.9mcg; calcium 19.3mg; iron 1.2mg; magnesium 21.8mg; potassium 240.4mg; sodium 74mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 11g.

Reviews (1)

Rating: 5 stars
This is a great discovery. I was searching for a way to use up a Christmas gift basket that contained two big boxes of mixed dried fruit. This recipe reminded me of a family favorite cookie — raspberry bars — so I decided to try it. I followed the recipe with one tiny addition. I used 1/2 c of oats and 1/4 c of walnuts in the crust mixture. Then I added a 1/4 c of oats to the reserved crust mixture for the crumb topping. I did add about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the fruit on the stove. All these autumn flavors were just calling out for cinnamon to me. I’m not sure it made any difference in the end. I foresee buying more bags of dried fruit from Trader Joe’s to make this again. Yum! Read More