I’m not usually one for elaborate, time-consuming dessert recipes. Give me a piece of fruit or healthy energy balls and I’m a happy mama. These fruit and nut cake bars are a bit more time intensive, but very worth it. They’re a delicious, portable, single serving size dessert option.
I’m frequently traveling somewhere, whether it’s to the chiropractor’s office, kid’s sports practices, or the nearby beach. Cookie bars are a nice make-ahead dessert option for these busy days. And unlike pie or pudding, they’re a less messy option for potlucks and get-togethers. Even if there’s nothing on the agenda for the day, they’re still a yummy treat.
Fruit and Nut Dessert Bars
Most cake bar recipes are made with a box of cake mix. These are the real food version! You won’t find vegetable oil, yellow cake mix, or funfetti sprinkle cake mix bars here. Not that I’m against cake, but cake mix cookie bars from a box aren’t my idea of a worthwhile dessert.
These fruit and nut cake bars are gluten-free, grain-free, and naturally sweetened with honey and coconut sugar. The jam in the middle adds a nice chewy flavor. You could easily make a chocolate chip cookie bars version and add some semi-sweet chocolate chips to the middle instead of jam. Or try a PB and J version with some peanut butter and jam in the center.
For the jam layer, you can use whatever you have on hand that sounds good. I have a chia seed blackberry jam recipe here that’s delicious. Or try my friend Heather’s strawberry freezer jam.
I use walnuts in these because I like their chewy, meaty flavor. You could also use pecans, almonds, or cashews if you prefer. And if you need to skip the nuts altogether then you can replace them with some seeds instead. Try sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Can’t decide? Try a blend of different nuts and/or seeds!
Prepping the Pan For Cake Bars
You can grease and flour the pan if you have some gluten-free flour on hand. Another option is coconut oil cooking spray or parchment paper. Since the crust for these cake bars has honey in it, it can stick to the bottom of the pan if there isn’t a barrier.
Fruit and Nut Cake Bars Recipe
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 TBSP honey
- 3 TBSP butter (or coconut oil, melted)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup water
- ⅔ cups jam (or fruit puree or fruit butter, any flavor)
Nut / Seed Topping
- 1 ½ cups walnuts (or other nut or seed)
- 3 egg whites
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
Make the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease and flour an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.
- In a medium-sized or large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, reserving the egg whites for the nut topping.
- Stir in the honey and melted butter or coconut oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda into coconut flour.
- Add the coconut flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the water and mix until combined.
- Dollop the crust mixture evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking pan and use your hands to spread and press down the dough evenly.
Add the Fruit Layer
- Spread the jam evenly across the crust. If it’s too thick and you don’t think it will spread easily, try warming the jam slightly to thin it.
Make the Topping
- Use a blender or food processor to chop the walnuts until finely ground.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites until stiff.
- Whisk the coconut sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon into the egg whites, then fold in the ground walnuts.
- Spread egg white mixture over the jam on the crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a dark golden brown.
- Cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.
- If you’d like to try making your own quick jam, this chia seed pudding recipe includes a simple chia seed blackberry jam recipe.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
Craving some more easy recipes or need something yummy for your next potluck? Try one of these recipes!
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (we love these with dark chocolate chips!)
- Chewy Avocado Brownies
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream (omit the butter for vanilla ice cream)
- Chocolate Coconut Energy Bars (tastes like a chocolate cookie bars recipe!)
- Berry Crisp
How will you customize your fruit and nut cake bars? What filling and topping options will you use? Leave a comment and share below!
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