You simply must try these vegan, gluten-free bars, which, though simple, add up to far more than the sum of their humble ingredients. Walnut and blueberries are featured, as they are both antioxidant powerhouses. The surprise ingredient is silken tofu. It disappears into the mix and holds everything together.
My favorite fruit combination for this (in addition to the blueberries) is dried plums (aka prunes), apricots, figs, and cherries. But any kind of dried fruit will work, as long as it is neither crystallized, nor parched and leathery.
- Nonstick spray for the pan and the measuring cup
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 3 cups additional dried fruit (mixed, per your taste)
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup agave nectar (or to taste)
- 3/4 cup mashed silken tofu, soft or firm
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a glass pan). Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Use scissors or a knife to cut the larger pieces of dried fruit into slices approximately the size of a dried cherry. Combine the dried fruit with the walnuts in a medium-sized bowl.
- Sprinkle in the rice flour and salt, and toss until all the fruit is evenly coated.
- Spray a 1/4 cup measure with nonstick spray. Measure in the agave nectar, then pour it into the fruit mixture. Add the mashed tofu, and mix with a spoon—or your hands—until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it turns brown around the edges, and the top surface is dry to the touch. You can take the pan out of the oven at this point, or, for an even chewier result, turn off the oven and wedge open with a wooden spoon and leave the pan in there for up to 20 minutes longer.
- Remove the pan from the oven, cool for about an hour or more, then cut the mixture into about a dozen small bars. Transfer them to a rack, and let them sit for about an hour. (They'll become chewy while "airing out" on the rack.) Keep the bars in a cookie tin at room temperature— or, if you'll be keeping them for more than a few days, seal them in a heavy plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Eat at any temperature. (They're even good frozen!)