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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown

Kids can cook: Choose-your-own-adventure Snack Bars

Let's get one thing straight: the best tools for cooking can be your hands! These fun no-bake bars are a great option for snacks or breakfast, and are riffable in many different directions. Including some options here, but please feel free to find your favorite options.


This is an intro to your food processor, the machine that not only makes a huge amount of noise but can also make a dough out of pretty much any mix of ingredients as long as you have some moisture and gooey ingredients (dried fruit) and some nuts. That's the base recipe; you can change the taste by changing the fruit and nuts and mix-ins.


That's right: this is a recipe that YOU get to invent. While it is important to remember to follow steps and proportions given in any recipe, it's also important to include ingredients you like best!


Each batch makes 6 bars; you can cut them smaller or larger, depending on your preference.


Choose-your-own-adventure Snack Bars

Yield: 6 bars


Ingredients

1 cup nuts -- Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, macadamias. Toasting enhances the flavors.

1 cup sweet dried fruit -- Dates, raisins, figs, prunes


tiny pinch salt


1 cup mix-in (optional) -- Dried cherries, dried blueberries, dried apricot, dried pineapple, cranberries, goji berries, more chopped nuts, dried coconut, chocolate chips, coffee beans, cacao nibs, shredded carrot, etc.


2 - 4 tbsp flavoring (optional) -- Cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, citrus zest and juice, ginger, mint, cloves, coconut oil


Directions


Line a 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 square pan with foil or parchment, set aside.


In a food processor, process the nuts, dried fruit and salt until finely ground. Add the mix-in(s) of choice, and process until the mixture is in uniform chunks, about the size of very small gravel. You might need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula if they don't seem to be mixing well. If the mixture seems too dry to easily stick together, add warm water 1/4 tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. Err on the side of adding less water, because you can’t take it back!


Squish the mixture into the prepared pan, and smash it as flat as you can. Once you have it well compressed, pull out of the pan with the foil/parchment, and using a sharp knife, cut into 6 bars. Wrap each bar separately in parchment paper or plastic wrap. If you're in a hurry, you can shape the dough into eight to twelve balls, instead. You can store these in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container for up to a month.

Flavor options


Apple Pie 1 cup mixed almonds and walnuts 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup mixed raisins and dried apple 2 tbsp cinnamon


Banana Bread 1 cup almonds

1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup dried banana

Blueberry Muffin 1 cup cashews 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup dried blueberries Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 vanilla bean, scraped


Cappuccino 1 cup mixed almonds and cashews 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup coffee beans 1 vanilla bean, scraped


Carrot Cake 1 cup mixed almonds and walnuts 1 cup mixed dates and raisins

tiny pinch salt 1 cup mixed dried pineapple, shredded coconut, and carrot 1 tbsp coconut oil 2 tsp cinnamon


Cashew Cookie 1 1/2 cups cashews 1 1/2 cups dates

tiny pinch salt


Cherry Pie 1 cup almonds 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup dried cherries


Chocolate Chip Brownie 1 cup mixed almonds and walnuts 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup chocolate chips 1/4 cup cacao powder


Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte 1 cup mixed almonds and cashews 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup mixed chocolate chips and dried cherries


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 1 cup cashews 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup chocolate chips


Chocolate Coconut Chew 1 cup mixed almonds and walnuts 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup shredded coconut 4 tbsp cacao powder


Coconut Cream Pie 1 cup mixed almonds and cashews

1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup shredded coconut 2 tbsp coconut oil


Ginger Snap 1 1/2 cups mixed almonds and pecans 1 1/2 cups dates

tiny pinch salt 2 tbsp fresh ginger 1 tbsp mixed cinnamon and cloves


Key Lime Pie 1 cup mixed cashews and almonds 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup shredded coconut Zest and juice of 1 lime


Lemon Bar 1 1/2 cups mixed cashews and almonds 1 1/2 cups dates

tiny pinch salt Zest and juice of 1 lemon


Peanut Butter & Jelly 1 cup peanuts 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup dried cherries


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip 1 cup peanuts 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup chocolate chips


Peanut Butter Cookie 1 1/2 cup peanuts 1 1/2 cup dates

tiny pinch salt


Pecan Pie 1 1/2 cup mixed pecans and almonds 1 1/2 cup dates

tiny pinch salt


Tropical Fruit Tart 1 cup mixed almonds and cashews 1 cup dates

tiny pinch salt 1 cup mixed dried pineapple and shredded coconut Zest and juice of 1 orange 1 tbsp coconut oil




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