Monday, October 4, 2010

What the heck do I do with....Dried Fruit?

I'm always on the fence about dried fruit. Do I like it? Don't I like it? Is it yummy? Is it bad for you? I say it's ok, everything in moderation (well most things). Just make sure the dried fruit you are getting is not processed with Sulfur; sulfur dioxide is used to preserve the color and flavor of the fruit, and has been shown to induce asthma in those individuals sensitive to it. Dried fruits are packed with fiber and vitamins and minerals but are also high in sugar, so enjoy in moderation.

I made this delicious snack cake after going apple picking. We have an abundance of apples and I'm slowly going through them. I found this recipe in Living Without Magazine, a magazine dedicated to gluten free recipes as well as recipes surrounding other allergies. But don't stop reading, because you can make the recipe with standard flour (whole wheat in a particular would go nicely).

The recipe uses both fresh fruit (it actually calls for pears but I used an apple and a pear), dried fruits (I used cranberries, apricots, Hunza raisins and 1 date, because I had one laying around), chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. To sweeten the bar the recipe calls for maple syrup and date sugar. I used Grade B maple syrup and coconut sugar, not date sugar. Coconut sugar is a low glycemic sugar (lower than cane sugar or honey) and can be used 1 for 1 as a substitute for white sugar. It's a great alternative since it has many vitamins and minerals in it, and it is a sustainable product. The recipe also calls for either quinoa flakes or oats. I love quinoa, in any form, but I used raw oat flakes, simple because I had them.

Overall, the bar is nutritionally dense, and delicious.

Let's talk Flour blends for those who need gluten free options: I tend to lean toward this blend of flour that has the following flours or startchs in it: teff, millet, brown rice, tapioca and is a high protein, high fiber blend with a nice flavor. I found this blend in Living Without magazine. Here is the recipe: 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup millet flour, 1/2 cup teff flour, 2/3 cup tapioca starch and 1/2 cup potato starch. Just mix together well. Most of these flours can be found at Whole Foods or other health food stores or on line as a last resort.

Here is the recipe for the bar, w/pics:

Recipe from Living Without magazine


¾ cup gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend
1 cup toasted quinoa flakes or gluten-free oats
¼ cup date sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup maple syrup or agave syrup
¼ cup oil of choice
1 egg or flax gel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pears, peeled and coarsely grated
½ cup chopped dates, dried apricots or dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted, optional
¼ cup hulled pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix together flour blend, toasted quinoa flakes or oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.

3. Stir in maple syrup, oil, egg and vanilla. Add pears, dates, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Stir well to combine.

4. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over mixture.

5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Cool. Cut into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


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