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

Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
In the bowl of a food processor, process ½ cup almonds until finely chopped, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining almonds, nuts, seeds, coconut, carob and spices. Stir to combine.
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. Mix well to combine.
Line a 20 by 20 cm square baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and evenly spread out with a spatula. Use your hands to firmly flatten the mixture. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 30 to 45 minutes. 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.

Heidi du Preez


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