Thank you to the J.M. Smucker Company for sponsoring this post!
Last week I posted the recipe for my Lemon Millet Fig Cake with Walnuts and Candied Ginger and mentioned that I was planning on making some fruit bars next. I like homemade fruit bars and wanted to develop a whole grain recipe without refined sugar, something with wholesome ingredients that could serve as a grab-and-go snack or even an impromptu, on-the-road breakfast.
These Whole Grain Almond Fruit Bars fit the bill. Made with 100% whole grain flour, honey and almonds, these fruit bars are a sweet indulgence you can feel good about giving your kids and enjoying yourself without too much guilt!
I hadn’t made fruit bars before and what inspired the idea was catching a glimpse of Smucker’s new Fruit & Honey fruit spreads while my kids and I were grocery shopping. (Here’s a coupon for any Kroger store.) I always avoid 95% of the jam section in grocery stores because the majority of the products are packed full of high fructose corn syrup. So I was really pleased to see these new fruit spreads from Smucker’s that are naturally sweetened with honey.
I grabbed all four flavors, eager to try them out, and started thinking about something I could create with them. I thought about using them in a cream cheese-based frosting or a filling for a baked good. The later prompted the idea for these fruit bars.
When we got back home my kids excitedly grabbed the new magnifying glasses we had given them the day before and headed to the backyard to inspect grasshoppers and potato bugs. While they were sharpening their entomology skills outside I went to work in the kitchen.
I opened all four flavors (I wanted to use them all in my fruit bars – I’ll explain later), and they are all excellent. Not overly sweet, but sweet enough with a nice, vibrant flavors.
I was excited to experiment with my fruit bars and fill them with these naturally-sweetened fruit spreads. The fruit bars were done baking just as my kids came in from a satisfying session of bug hunting and they walked into a kitchen filled with the wonderful aroma of almonds and cinnamon. Can you guess what they requested? You got it. And I was more than eager to let them indulge in these wholesome treats!
Something that made this recipe especially fun was getting to experiment with the other item that arrived in the mail with our kids’ magnifying glasses – my new Wilton Non-stick Square Treat Cake Pan.
I envisioned perfectly shaped, individual fruit bars that were easy to grab and go and I was very happy with the results. One of the things I really like about Wilton’s Square Treat Pan was that it enabled me to use different fillings in each bar for a nice variety. I really love my new pan and look forward to using it again and again.
NOTE: I’m using this pan for this recipe but you can use a regular 8×8 square baking pan instead.
Let’s get started!
Cream the butter with a mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add the honey, egg, almond and vanilla extracts and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
A thick but soft dough will form.
Stir in the almonds and oats.
Divide the dough in half and form 12 (approx 1-inch) balls out of each half of dough (24 total).
NOTE: If you’re using a 8×8 inch baking pan, simply divide the dough in half, then press half of the dough into the bottom of the greased pan, spread with the jam, and gently press the other half of the dough on top and bake as instructed.
Grease the pan. Press each dough ball into the bottom of the squares.
Spread some jam onto the dough, leaving some space at the edges so the jam doesn’t all flow out.
Doesn’t this look awesome? LOVE my new pan, so perfect for these squares!
Flatten the other half of the dough balls in the palms of your hands and lay them on top of the jam.
Gently press the dough down around the edges. Be careful not to press to hard or the jam will squirt up.
Gorgeous – they’re ready to bake!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are just barely beginning to turn golden. Let the squares sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.
Enjoy with a glass of milk or on their own!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup raw honey
- 1 teaspoon quality pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon quality pure almond extract
- 1½ cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour (I recommend spelt, it's an ancient grain that is milder than wheat, bakes up softer, and digests more easily)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup Smucker's Fruit & Honey Fruit Spread or jam of choice (use the same or multiple flavors for each square)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cavity square treat pan. You can also use a standard 8x8 inch square baking pan (see NOTE).
- Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl with a beater until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, honey, vanilla and almond extracts and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine. Add the oats and almonds and stir to combine. The dough will be stiff. Divide the dough in half and form 12 1-inch sized balls from each half of dough (24 total).
- Press 12 of the balls of dough into each cavity of the baking pan. Spread some jam on the dough, leaving a border around the edges so the jam won't ooze out as easily. Gently press the remaining balls of dough on top, pressing down gently on the edges to seal.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden.
- Remove and let the bars sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company®. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.