Remember these cashew date bars? We were (and are) big fans of those. But after eating a lot of them, I wanted something different. Something that tasted like fruit. Obviously, you can’t put fresh fruit in a granola bar and expect it to last very long or travel very well. So I got to thinking about dried fruit. But once I looked at the dried berry options at the grocery store, I saw that every single one of them had added sugar. And since I wanted to keep these snack bars free of refined sugar, I turned to freeze-dried fruit. (Sidenote: After making these bars several times, I saw some dried fruit with no added sugar in a different store, so apparently it is possible.)
Sounds weird, yes? This was the first freeze-dried product I’d ever tried. I actually read an article recently about freeze-dried meals for backpacking trips and such, and it’s actually kind of crazy cool what freeze-drying can do! I’m not about to start eating freeze-dried meals on the regular, but I’m pretty excited about the possibilities of freeze-dried berries.
These Easy Berry Cashew Bars require only 4 ingredients (5 if you count water), and come together in minutes. Plus, there’s no refined sugar here, folks! Just the natural sweetness of dates, and the delightful flavor of berries. Yum, yum, yum.
Since spring is here and prime hiking/travel season is about to begin, it’s time to add these to your snack arsenal.
- 1¾ cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1¾ cup dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup freeze dried berries (I used blueberries and raspberries)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with wax paper or foil, leaving a little overhang on the sides to lift the bars out easily.
- Combine the cashews and dates in a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until finely ground and sticky. Add the freeze dried berries and pulse again until combined. Add the vanilla extract and up to a tablespoon of water until the dough is sticky and comes together.
- Remove dough from the food processor and press into the lined baking dish. Press down to flatten the dough and pack it all together.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Lift the wax paper out of the pan and cut the dough into 8 bars. Wrap the individual bars in wax paper or saran wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.