If you loved raisins as a kid, chances are you love dried fruit now. It’s delicious, easy to carry and best of all—it’s healthy. When packed into a dessert, dried fruit can add a well-needed punch of condensed flavor, elevating your dish and making your friends guess what your secret ingredient is.
Recipes for dried fruit bars can be hit or miss—sometimes they’re too messy, other times they’re too grainy. Our favorite dried fruit recipes strike that balance between chewy and flavorful, like this one, that’s sure to melt in your mouth.
How to Make Dried Fruit Bars
For the Filling:
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1-1/2 cups sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Crust:
- 1 cup butter, softened (Here’s how to soften butter quickly.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Step 1: Thicken the filling
Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, then combine the yolks, sour cream, sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a heat-proof bowl. Whisk the ingredients over the simmering water until blended, then stir in the cranberries. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 15–20 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Off heat, whisk in the vanilla.
Editor’s Tip: Got a craving for a different fruit? Use it! Swap out cranberries for dried cherries or dried blueberries (because can you think of anything better than desserts that use blueberries?).
Step 2: Start the crust
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, salt and baking soda, then gradually mix the dry mixture into the wet one. Stir in the coconut with a spoon.
Step 3: Ready, set, bake
Pour half the crust mixture into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Save the other half! You’ll need it soon. Bake the crust for 8–10 minutes.
Step 4: Bake the bars
Remove the crust, then spread the filling over the top. Crumble the remaining crust over the top and bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then cut into bars and serve.
Are dried fruit bars healthy?
As with any other dessert recipe you try, this answer depends on the recipe. This particular recipe uses some healthy and tasty ingredients—like dried fruit and oats—but they won’t negate the not-so-healthy ingredients, like butter and sugar. Dried fruit on its own is a great, healthy snack that can help you fill your midday craving without guilt—plus, it’s incredibly easy to make dried fruit at home. But dip it in sugar and butter and you’ll quickly lose that nutritional value.
Is dried fruit Paleo?
Yes! Just don’t go overboard. According to the American Paleo Organization, dried fruit is the perfect healthy snack for active people and those going on hikes, but they must be eaten in small quantities to be considered part of the Paleo diet. Fruits are chock-full of sugar, even when dried, so eat them in moderation. Check out our best Paleo recipes for more ideas.