A few weeks ago I bought a box of apple fruit and cereal bars from Trader Joe’s. They were delicious but they were pretty sweet and there were only 6 in the box so me and Chase were fighting over them. I decided to see if I could produce a reasonable substitute myself and maybe boost the nutrition up a bit while I was at it.
My first idea was to adapt a fig newton recipe for my purposes. Eventually perusing enough recipes for newton knock-offs and fig bars led me to something I felt was serviceable. I’m really happy with the results and so is Chase. Not to mention that they were dead easy.
I was curious how they stacked up nutritionally so I signed up for an account at http://www.recipecal.com. The results are just an estimate but I think that these fare pretty well. I’m no baby nutritionist so who knows. At the very least, I know exactly what ingredients went into the bars. I’ve never even tried the ones specifically designated for toddlers but common sense tells me that they won’t be much better.
In the end I adapted a recipe from Whole Foods. You can find the original recipe here.
Apple, Mango, Apricot Fruit & Cereal Bars
The original recipe says it yields 16 but Chase eats much smaller pieces.
1/2 c each dried apricots, mango and apple slices. (I used unsulphured and unsweetened fruit)
Juice of one orange
1/3 c boiling water
2 c rolled oats
2/3 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp cold butter
1/3 c water
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Preheat over to 350, grease an 8″ baking dish and set aside
Combine filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat and cook for about p5 minutes. Allow the filling to cool while you make the crust.
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a couple of time to combine. Add the cold butter in pieces and process to incorporate. Add water and process to incorporate without overmixing.
Divide the crust in half and press half into the prepared baking pan with your fingers.
Process the fruit a food processor until smooth adding water as necessary to get the right consistency. Spread the crust with the filling not quite to the edge. Press the remaining dough on top of the filling and drizzle with maple syrup.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
I found the filling to be too thick while I was processing it and added a little water to thin it out. The crust came together really nicely and was really easy to work with. I had no problem pressing it into the pan but I really wanted the top to be cohesive so they would be as much like commercial bars as possible. I added the top in four parts pressing them as flat as I could before laying them on top of the filling. There are probably ways to get it perfectly flat but I thought that the result was good enough. They were east to get out of the pan with no parchment paper or anything, just a little pam or butter and held together perfectly.