If you have not yet heard of Nakd bars, I suggest you pop down to the shops now and try one. They are dried fruit and nut bars that come in a wide variety of flavours. They are made with 100% natural ingredients and taste delicious. I have tried many different cereal bars and I think that this has got to be my favourite.
However, the biggest problem with Nakd bars is that they are not cheap. To buy individually, they cost at least 75p (or 57p if you buy them as a pack of four). So, I decided to try and make my own. Nakd helpfully include the contents of each bar, and the proportions, on the side of their packets, so I knew that it wouldn’t be hard to recreate them! However, as always, before giving it a go, I had a quick Google for some recipes. I’ve put together a brief outline of the recipes I’ve tried and my thoughts on them.
1st recipe – ‘Pina Colada’
While searching on the interest, I came across this recipe. It looked delicious and I love pineapple and coconut, so I gave it a go. Having made this, I wouldn’t really describe it is ‘Pina Colada’ – you can’t taste the pineapple at all. However, one of my chief samplers described it as tasting like the inside of a Bounty bar (Note: must resist making this again and covering it in chocolate. I’d then be struggling to claim that this snack was even vaguely healthy).
In comparison to the other mixtures that I have now made, this one was extremely dry. However, once it had cooled in the fridge for a bit it just about held its shape, but was still a bit crumbly. Nevertheless, it only lasted a few days in my household…
2nd recipe – ‘Gingerbread’
My favourite Nakd bar flavour is the gingerbread one. So, of course, I wanted to make this one at home.
I used this recipe here – with a few adaptations. First, I tripled all the ingredients in the recipe as I wanted there to be enough to last a few weeks. (Where it says ‘dried ginger’ it means ground ginger, the spice). I also added about 2tbsp of chopped up stem ginger in syrup. This might not suit everyone’s tastes as it makes the bar very ginger-y, but I liked it to have a bit of punch!
4th recipe – ‘Bakewell bar’
This time I decided to go ‘free style’. I am huge fan of almonds and cherries. I knew that even with a very vivid imagination I could not convince myself that a dried fruit bar was actually a bakewell tart – but I wanted to do my best.
Unhelpfully, I failed to write down the recipe/quantities, as I was in a “throw everything in the food processor” sort of mood. So I’m having a bit of a guess at what I put in. Please don’t follow this exactly – I am sure that I have forgotten to write down some crucial ingredients. This makes around 48 bars that are the same size as a Nakd bar.
As usual, the first thing to do is blend the nuts in a food processor. I added:
400g almonds, 400g cashews, 100g pecans. I then put these in a separate bowl.
Then blend the berries. After a bit of blending, it should have formed a big ball inside the food processor. If it is looking very dry and not forming a ball, add a very small splash of water.
I used 240g dried berries and cherries mix (I used the Forest Feast mix), 200g cranberries, 100g dried cherries, 250g dates, a handful of prunes.
I then removed half of the berry mix. I put half of the nut mix back in the food processor and then blended it. I removed this and repeated this with the second halves until it had all combined together.
I then lined two big baking trays with greaseproof paper. I put my big mound of fruit/nuts on the paper and tried to flatten it. I then put a layer of greaseproof paper on top and used a rolling pin to flatten it to my desired thickness (I did not use a ruler but I guess they were around 1cm-1.5cm thick). Leave in the fridge for around 24hours before cutting up into squares / bars. Store in the fridge – I keep them in plastic tubs with greaseproof paper to separate each layer.
5th Recipe ‘Dates and Apples’
This time I actually remembered to write down what I was throwing in to the food processor, and how much it all cost me! I took a trip down to Mill Road and bought most of the dried fruit there. I haven’t worked out if this is the cheapest place to buy it in Cambridge but I thought I would give it a try.
Blend in the food processor:200g cashews (£2.50), 400g almonds (£4). Put in a separate bowl
Then blend: 250g prunes (£2.30), 650g dates (£4), 300g apple rings (£3) and 400g figs (£1)
Total price – £16.80
Combine the fruit with the nuts – using the same method as in ‘Bakewell’ (above)
I measured it out, and this makes 48 ‘Nakd bar’ size bars. If I bulk bought each Nakd bar from the supermarket (e.g. Ocado sells them in packs of four for £2.49, so 48 bars would cost £29.88), then making them at home saves me £13.08.
If I were to make this bar again, I would probably take out the fig as at the moment it tastes like a ‘fig, date and apple’ bar. Which is still tasty!
Things I’ve learnt along the way:
- They tend to taste better if you make the mixture, flatten it out and pop it in the fridge, and then leave it for a day or two before cutting up. The flavours seem to be a lot stronger this way.
- Obviously, we cannot wrap this homemade bar up in a convenient wrapper that will slip in your bag – like you would have if you had bought it from the shops. However, if you wrap each slice individually in greaseproof paper, and then pop it in a sandwich bag, I’ve found it does the job.
- When you are mixing them in the food processor, don’t overload it! It will start to make a very strange noise, overheat and then turn off…
- From my experience, dates and/or prunes are very useful in making the bar stick together
- As much as I kid myself, these aren’t all that healthy and they do contain a lot of sugar
Hopefully, this might give you a bit of inspiration to have an experiment in the kitchen and create some of your own dried fruit and nut bars. I know that buying the nuts and fruit individually is not cheap either, but as I’ve shown above, it is still cheaper than paying for the Nakd bars – plus you get to have a bit of fun, experiment, and try to create the flavours that you really want.
I had planned to make this as my next batch, but I managed to eat the raspberries before I got round to blending up the rest of the mixture… Let us know if you have any good ideas!