*Photos Updated June 2012*
Inspiration: Our breakfasts usually involve something like a couple of eggs, maybe an omelet, maybe some bacon. We don’t eat carbohydrates on a day-to-day basis (in the refined sense – I sure love my black beans and cashews and butternut squash!), so variety with breakfast can be a challenge. Why is it that the standard breakfasts in this country are riddled with so many empty carbohydrates and sugars that are going to do nothing in the way of….well, anything? Anyway, we always love finding great protein-filled breakfast options, and these bars seemed the perfect choice.
What We Loved: OK, these are good. When I sat down to eat the first one for breakfast, I almost felt a little guilty, because it seemed like I was eating a rich and indulgent dessert. The main thing that strikes me with these bars is the wonderfully rich and creamy flavors and textures – predominantly the almond butter (which is great if you love almond butter as much as we do) and the coconut flavors from the coconut oil. They both combine so well for a really smooth, rich base for these bars. Layered on top of that, all of the chopped nuts add a great crispy texture, and the dried fruit gives nice little tart and chewy bursts of flavor. And holy cow, look at all of those great proteins and fats! We have both been obsessed with these and looking forward to them every morning (we’re on batch two right now), and they really do provide for a satisfying breakfast that keeps us full until lunch. They’re definitely our newest addiction.
Helpful Hints: It can be a little tough to cut these into bars and remove them from the pan, but it’s really not a big deal if they break or crumble a bit. You can just pat them back together. You can also switch up the nut and fruit varieties for any that you prefer. And as an aside, nut flour is nothing but nuts that have been very finely ground to the consistency of a powder.
1 cup almonds (I use roasted and salted)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup nut flour (hazelnut flour is good) or coconut flour
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
Scant 1/4 cup of honey (optional – I leave it out)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup dried fruit
1. Place the nuts in a food processor, and process until they are a coarse meal. Don’t pulse too much – you want pieces of nuts to remain. Place the nuts in a medium-sized bowl with the nut or coconut flour.
2. Place the coconut oil and almond butter in a bowl, and microwave for about a minute. Stir together well, then mix in the honey (if using), vanilla, and salt.
3. Add the almond butter mixture to the nuts, and then fold in the fruit. Smooth into a baking dish. Chill in the fridge for one hour, or until solid. Cut into squares, and keep chilled until ready to eat.