Recipe Review: Dried Fig and Nut Bars

We've been weaning ourselves off of prepackaged convenience foods from the grocery store. But so far, we just haven't managed to get away from snack bars. They're just so dang convenient!

We've tried a few recipes here and there, but they're often packed with fat or depend on corn syrup as a binder (something else we've been trying to cut back on). When we saw this this recipe on Chow.com for Dried Fig and Nut Bars, we hardly dared hope that our wish had finally been granted!

The list of ingredients is blessedly brief and wholesome--sugar is the most processed food the recipe calls for.

We ran into a bit of trouble with the hazelnuts. Not really the recipe's fault, but getting the skins off of hazelnuts was a major pain. Most skins come off easily if you toast the nuts and then rub them in a kitchen towel, but these hazelnut skins refused! We ended up leaving most of them on, and didn't notice any negative flavors or textures in the final bar.

The steps were very simple and easy to follow. We were a bit nervous when it came time to boil the sugar and honey--caramelizing sugar still makes us nervous. But the mixture hit the right temperature at exactly 6 minutes! If you don't have a candy thermometer, you should be safe following this time.

And the verdict? Mmmm...so-so.

The taste was fine, just not very interesting and a bit of a letdown after all the nutty, toasty aromas that had filled the house while the bars were baking. The texture was excellent--chewy and crunchy, just the way we like it.

We were afraid that the portions (a 3" x 1/2" x 1/2" bar) were a bit skimpy. But the bar is so full of nuts and figs that this ended up feeling like the right size.

We think recipe has potential though, so here are a few ideas for next time!

  • Add other dried fruits for more flavor
  • Leave the nuts whole or chopped into larger pieces
  • Add in a handful of grains like oatmeal, flax seed, or puffed rice

Anyone else have any good snack bar recipes we could try?

Related: What Foods Can You Carry on the Plane?

(Photo Credit: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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