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DIY Holiday Gift: Trail Mix Bars

December 9, 2013

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I don’t know about you, but it seems like every year my list of friends, family, and coworkers to whom I need to give a holiday gift gets longer. Finding the time, energy, and finances to give a unique present to everyone on the list is nearly impossible. So each year I come up with a few homemade goodies I can give as gifts instead.

This year, I’ll be making homemade fruit and nut bars. Not only are these a great treat for your loved ones, but they’re healthy too. From cookies to pies, and candy of all kinds, sweets are everywhere you turn this time of year, so it’s refreshing to bite into something with a little bit more nutritional value.You can edit the ingredients to your recipients’ taste buds and dietary needs. They can also be made ready for gifting by wrapping in parchment paper and twine, or just placing into snack bags with festive ribbon.

Happy gifting!

Trail mix bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed nuts – I used organic almonds, pepitas, and cashews
  • 1½ cups dried fruit – apricots, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates, raisins, in any combination
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup organic brown rice puffs or uncooked, quick cooking, gluten-free oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • a pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a 13” X 9” pan with parchment paper.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl – nuts, chia seeds, rice puffs or oatmeal, dried fruit, cinnamon, sea salt, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Add brown rice syrup.
  5. Incorporate all ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Press mixture into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes. They may seem too soft, but give an ample amount of time to cool and they’ll be ready to slice into your favorite shapes.

Baker’s note: Spruce up this recipe and make it your own by adding indulgences like dark chocolate, toffee, or pretzels. For all the nut butter lovers out there, add a half-cup of your favorite nut butter for a softer, chewier texture.

What will you add to this recipe to make it your own?