Fruit and Nut Squares with Dark Chocolate

I’m one of those people who want a lot of flavor in a little package.  Something that can really satisfy a sweet need without blowing you out to the next pants size.  (I know you know what I’m talking about.)  Enter this “little” darling…..

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This treat is made with dried fruit….why?  More flavor of course and less moisture.  Nuts will give a nice crunch in the bite.  Dried unsweetened coconut (I’m not into propylene glycol) helps to hold it all together.  And of course a bit of chocolate because…..its chocolate!  Dark chocolate to give it as much flavor for its small role.  I used a fruit spread instead of honey which results in a softer square.  Keep these in the refrigerator to keep them firm.

These are easy to make and take little time.  Vary the dried fruit and nuts to suite your taste.  How do you know what works best together?  Taste them together….put a dried cherry, an almond and a couple of semi sweet chocolate chips in your mouth.  Mango and macadamia?  You get the picture.  I admit I went a little overboard on my first go round….but it was sooooo good!!

I took some of these to work last month as treat for Lab Week. (yes I’m a lab rat in more ways than one!)  These little guys made big smiles on our staff.  They are lovely with a cup of Joe in the morning.  Once you’ve had a taste, you will never want to go back just plain sweet again.

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You’ll need:

8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup fruit spread (I used orange mango)

1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

2/3 cup almonds, chopped

1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut, shredded

1 cup tart dried cherries

1 cup dried mango, diced

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Coat a 8 x 12 inch pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together and stir until well combined.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl mix the fruit, nuts, coconut, flour and ginger together.  Add the chocolate mixture and the fruit spread.  Stir until well incorporated.  Spread the batter into the pan, smoothing the top to form an even layer.  Bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool for at least an hour.  Refrigerate until firm.  Cut into 1 1/2 squares and refrigerate covered with parchment paper between layers until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

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