Monday, August 5, 2013

Whole Wheat Fruit & Nut Bars (and Coconut Oil)

Every once and awhile, I’ll bust out of my cooking comfort zone and discover a recipe or ingredient that is game changing. With all the attention coconut oil has been getting this past year, I finally picked up a jar of virgin coconut oil at my local Whole Foods last week.

While preliminary research indicates that coconut oil may have anti-inflammatory properties and may actually help to boost our good (HDL) cholesterol, it does have a high saturated fat content; about 86 to 90 percent of its total fat content is saturated. A fellow registered dietitian, Rosie Schwartz wrote a wonderfully informative article, presenting both the pros and cons of coconut oil. We highly suggest you read it here.

Our thoughts? Rather than using coconut oil with abandon, we feel best recommending you use it within your daily saturated fat budget. On the upside, it really is a delicious baking alternative for butter and for those looking for a vegan cooking source.  It’s also a good oil to use for high heat cooking. 

And now, for a recipe featuring virgin coconut oil.

 Whole Wheat Fruit & Nut Bars

These bars could not be any easier to make – and the result? A slightly sweet, yet wholesome breakfast to-go, snack, or after-dinner dessert.


1 cup dried fruit of your choice, such as raisins, currents or tart cherries
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup nuts of your choice, such as pecans, walnuts or almonds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup

1.      Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.      In a large bowl whole wheat flour, nuts, and salt.

3.      In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup.

4.      Pour coconut oil maple syrup mixture over dry ingredients.

5.      Stir in dried fruit.

6.      Pre-oil a 9 x 9 baking pan. Press batter into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes 16 squares.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love.

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