Fruit n Nut Chocolate Bars

fruit and nut chocolate bars

I wanted to make a traditional Italian Christmas cookie so what better place to look than my box of memories from when I used to live in Foligno, Umbria in 1996?! 

Originally this was supposed to be similar to a fruitcake but I tweaked it to make these crunchy, rich and delicious bars.  Of course, I wasn’t happy because they were missing my favorite key ingredient, so I coated them with 70% dark chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350F

Makes 24 two-bite bars

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unpasteurized honey (I used wildflower by https://beekeepersnaturals.com )

2-3 tbsp red wine or juice from 1/2 orange

1/3 cup organic walnuts, chopped into medium-sized pieces

1/3 cup organic hazlenuts, chopped

1/3 cup organic almonds, chopped

1 cup or 7oz 70% organic dark chocolate

1/4 cup dried organic cranberries

1/4 cup organic raisins

1/2 cup organic unblanched all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I used https://bobsredmill.com )

2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract

rind of 1 organic orange

2 tsp ground ceylon cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Place dried fruit and 4oz or just over 1/2 cup of the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, gently warm honey, add vanilla, wine/orange juice.  DO NOT allow it to boil, just a slight simmer.
  3. Pour honey mixture into fruit and chocolate bowl and mix well, until chocolate is melted.
  4. Add spices and flour, mixing well.
  5. Press dough in a square baking pan lined with parchment paper so that bars are about 1.5cm high.
  6. Bake in 350F oven for 12-15minutes.  Let cool before cutting into bite-sized bars.
  7. Melt the other 3oz of dark chocolate and dip bars into the melted chocolate to coat the tops.  Place in refrigerator to set.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month in fridge or freezer.  Will keep on counter for 2 weeks.