Tried and tested: Pressed dried fruit and nut energy bars

I’m a big fan of Nakd bars, especially the cocoa orange one, but I’m horrified by the price tag and only ever rarely bought them, saving them just for when I needed a boost on the way home after a long day out for work meetings.

Looking at the ingredients list, there didn’t seem to be a lot to them and I began thinking that I could surely make these at home for a fraction of the price. Just about that moment, I saw a post on my Twitter feed from BBC Food with a link to these pressed dried fruit and nut energy bars, home-made Nakd bars by any other name!

The ingredients list is short and the process quick. At around £2.50 for four bars in the shops, a single bar works out at around 63p (even more if you grab a single bar) but I’ve calculated that I can make these for around 45-50p a bar.

Of course, I’ve made changes to the recipe, that’s what tried and tested is all about. I’ve cut back the ingredients to the bare bones, I’ve played with flavours and I’ve tried scaling back the recipe. The original recipe says it makes 12 bars, but I think it makes double that. They keep well in the fridge once wrapped and stored in an airtight container.

You can play around with the flavours and quantities as long as you maintain the ratio of 4 parts dates to 3 parts nuts and dried goods (e.g. 400g dates and 300g nuts or 200g dates and 150g mixed nuts and dried fruits).

I leave you with two versions that are a hit in our house; cocoa orange and tropical. A few ingredients in a food processor, a bit of time in the fridge, cut, wrap and enjoy whenever you need to satisfy the snack craving.

Nutty date snack bars

Ingredients Equipment to have ready
Cocoa orange version Food processor
300g cashew nuts Weighing scales
400g pitted dried dates Tablespoon measure
4 tbsp cocoa powder Spatula
1.5 tbsp orange extract Baking tray
Cold water Greaseproof paper
  Sharp knife
Tropical version Tupperware or other airtight container
A few pieces of shredded coconut, dried banana, dried pineapple and dried mango
Cashew nuts enough to make up 150g with the dried fruit and coconut
200g pitted dried dates
Cold water

Method (cocoa orange version)

  1. Put the cashew nuts in the food processor and blitz until the nuts are in small pieces.
  2. Add the dates, cocoa and orange extract and a table spoon of cold water. Blitz to break down the dates, adding a drop more water if needed to bring the mixture together into a dough like ball. Just add tiny drops of water at a time to avoid a sticky mess!
  3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof. Tip out the mixture and push down with the spatula onto the tray to make a giant bar, smoothing the top and getting it as even a thickness as possible.
  4. Cover and leave in the fridge to set for at least an hour.
  5. Slice into bars and wrap them in greaseproof paper. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Method (tropical version)

  1. Put the coconut, dried fruits and cashew nuts in the food processor and blitz until the nuts are in small pieces.
  2. Add the dates and a table spoon of cold water. Blitz to break down the dates, adding a drop more water if needed to bring the mixture together into a dough like ball. Just add tiny drops of water at a time to avoid a sticky mess!
  3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof. Tip out the mixture and push down with the spatula onto the tray to make a giant bar, smoothing the top and getting it as even a thickness as possible.
  4. Cover and leave in the fridge to set for at least an hour.
  5. Slice into bars and wrap them in greaseproof paper. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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