By Request


Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Apples are a basic ingredient of these fruit bars. The bars can
be made low in fat or, in the richer version shown here,
sweetened with a drizzle of sugar icing.

Bars offer healthy rewards

THE fruit bar carries the aura of healthy eating: Typically made with oats (good fiber) and dried fruit (good for you), they seem to have enough nutritious ingredients to counter the sugars and fats that make them chewy and moist. At least we can tell ourselves that.

Dana Izumi is on a fruit bar quest.

"I have been searching everywhere for a fruit bar recipe much like the ones I used to buy at the old King's Bakery. They were thick, yet moist and not too nutty."

Came up empty on the King's Bakery formula, but perhaps this trio of choices will suffice. The first comes from Kay Nishida, who calls her creations Energy Bars. Nishida is the mother of Colin Nishida, who owns the Side Street Inn and Fort Street Bar & Grill restaurants. The no-bake bars are a favorite of hers for sharing. They are full of dried fruit, peanuts and sunflower seeds, lightened up with crisp rice cereal and sweetened with marshmallows. Sort of like Rice Crispy Treats with oomph.

The Washington Apple Commission offers two more chewy fruit bar recipes, one a low-fat version packed with dates, the other a richer bar that includes pecans, plus a variety of dried fruits.

Energy Bar

2-3/4 cups crispy rice cereal
1-1/2 cups quick oats
1/4 cup EACH unsalted peanuts or macadamia nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, chopped apricots, raisins and dried cranberries
1/2 block butter or margarine
4 heaping tablespoons chunky-style peanut butter
1 pound miniature marshmallows

Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil.

Combine cereal with oats and microwave on high 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine nuts and fruits; set aside.

Melt butter in a nonstick pan over low heat. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Add marshmallows. When melted, stir in cereal mixture, then fruits and nuts.

Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Cool until firm, then cut into bars. Makes 36.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Low-Fat Chewy Fruit Bars

10 ounces flour
1 teaspoon EACH baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4-1/2 cups pitted dates
1/3 cup water
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, not packed
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-18-inch baking sheet with vegetable oil.

Blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In food processor fitted with blade, combine dates with water and process until almost smooth. Add brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Pulse just until blended.

Stir date mixture and apples into flour mixture just until blended. Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool before cutting. Makes 24 bars.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 212 calories, 3.8 g fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 2.4 g protein, 45 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber.

Fruit and Nut Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup EACH chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries or raisins and chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well-combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, add flour mixture, and beat on low until a smooth batter forms. Stir in apples, apricots and cranberries or raisins.

Spread batter in pan; top with pecans and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until center is firm and golden brown. Cool in pan. With serrated knife, cut into 8 bars. Drizzle bars with icing, if desired.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 321 calories, 5 g protein, 13 g fat, 211 mg sodium, 75 mg cholesterol, 50 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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