Life is all about experiments. The more you do, more it will make you better.
Just like this whole wheat fruit and nut bar.
Couple of years back when I started baking the cakes and pastries, I never imagined that one day I will experiment with different types of flour, that too with durum whole wheat flour. Till now I was using the regular recommended flour from the supermarkets, that are known to yield good results. I was happy at that.
Then one day it hit me, I realized I am just following the recipes that are being used million of times repeatedly, I am not adding anything to it, I am not learning anything, I am not evolving.
If you do not experiment enough, you will never learn. You will never evolve. You will never able to create anything.
So this experiment was very meaningful to me, it has opened my eyes to new things, that I have learned to appreciate now, it has dissolved my unknown fears and showed me new avenues in baking.
Experimenting with different kinds of wheat flours and non-wheat flours enables the bakers to create products with different texture and flavor. All you need to know is to achieve the right balance.
Flours are the core of any baking process, any baker will attest to that. And all flours behave differently.
The first step in baking is to understand the flour that you are using in the recipe. Is it enriched or is it bleached ? Is it hard spring wheat or durum wheat ? Every attribute is going to make the difference in the finished product.
Indian whole wheat flour, also known as “aata” in Hindi, is milled from semi-hard durum wheat. This flour is good for health and has very low gluten, hence baking with aata results in dense breads. I am yet to try this flour in baking breads, but before that I thought of using it in slices or bars.
Indian whole wheat flour or aata is made from whole wheat kernels, it is stoneground and has light brownish hue . This flour is naturally enriched as everything – germ, endosperm and bran is milled together and is not a bleached flour .
This protein rich, egg free, power packed healthy bar has a dense texture, like it should be and I have added more nutritious ingredients like oats / barley along with chopped dry fruits.
Like every baking process demands, I have twice sifted the flour. Aerating the flour is essential in baking, it helps to add the air in the flour, making the baked products lighter with good texture. This is egg free recipe, and since no eggs has been used here, the bars are more crumbly in nature. Eggs gives the structure to the baked products, so this recipe can not be adapted to bake a cake.
- Stone ground whole meal / whole wheat flour : 1 cup (I have used Indian Ashirwaad aata / flour)
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened) : 2 tbsp
- Rolled barley / oats : ½ cup
- Ground almonds : ⅓ cup
- Soft brown sugar : ⅓ cup
- Fruit medley (chopped) : ½ cup (I have used dried cranberries, dates, dried apricots, raisins)
- Walnut chopped : ½ cup
- Margarine melted : 3 oz
- Maple syrup : 1 tbsp ( I have used pure maple syrup for the flavor, if not available then replace it with honey)
- Low fat milk – 1 cup
- Icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.
- Spray a 10 * 6 inch shallow baking pan with oil and line it with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and cocoa together into a large bowl.
- Stir in the rolled barley or oats, ground almonds, brown sugar, fruit medley and walnuts. Make a well in the center.
- In a separate bowl, melt the margarine, add the maple syrup or honey, milk and combine them.
- Add the above wet mixture into dry mixture bowl, and with the help of spatula combine them till you get a uniform well combined batter.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked. Check it with a cake tester.
- Leave in the pan to cool, then flip it over onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Dust it with icing sugar, if you wish to.
- Serve it as snacks with your evening tea, or with some berries and fruits or yogurt.
Whole wheat fruit and nut bar is one healthy snack option, you can munch on it when ever you like to. We prefers it as our daily protein intake on our long -long road trips across America. It will stay good at room temperature in temperate climate for one week. If in doubt, then zip lock it and store in dark and cool place.
Update – Few things can be termed as instant hit. This is one of those hit recipes that two of my readers has tested in their kitchen and loved it. If you have tried it and want to share your views, do write it in the comment section or let us know it through Facebook. It would be good if you can share the pictures too.