Fruit & Nut (or Seed) Cake Squares – grain-free with vegan & sugar-free option

These Gluten Free Cake Bars are a great healthy dessert - made with fruit and nuts. Grain free & Sugar Free with Vegan option

{Looking for a healthy dessert option?  Naomi Huzovicova from Almost Bananas has you covered with these lovely Fruit & Nut Cake Bars.  They’re a gluten free dessert that is sure to please.}

One of the benefits of living in a foreign country is the exposure to new foods, or more fascinating, new combinations of ingredients I already know.

For example, Slovaks eat their french toast as savoury, with ketchup and tartar sauce and lunch meat.

When I tell people we eat it sweet, with whipping cream and maple syrup (or what have you), they make a face that says “Whaaaat?”

Or when I make a beef stew and Slovaks say “This is so delicious! I’ve never had this before!”

Every single ingredient in a regular beef stew is a normal ingredient in Slovakia, they’ve just never put it together that way before.

One combination I haven’t gotten used to is sweet pasta. If it’s homemade potato pasta, it’s delicious.

With regular spaghetti noodles–well–I just haven’t quite gotten there.

Think pasta–with jam! After delivering twins (two years ago as I write!), I got a plate of spaghetti, poppy seeds, and a pile of icing sugar at the hospital. Fortunately I had brought my own vittals too :).

Anyway, that’s how I learned this apricot walnut squares recipe. It’s not a weird food combination (like the sweet spaghetti), but it’s a new recipe combo for me.

These Fruit & Nut Cake Bars (made with jam and walnuts here) are as common here in Slovakia as chocolate cake is in North America.

It’s a staple of my mother-in-law’s, but I’ve revised it to be free of gluten, grains, refined sugars, and dairy.

The original is one of my husband’s favourites, and he said this revision does them justice. I may have eaten the whole pan of the first attempt on my own, they are that good (well, when I made them, everyone else in the family had a stomach bug–but still).

If you don’t have apricot butter or jam, any fruit jam/puree will be delicious, though it’s better on the thicker side.

These Gluten Free Cookie Bars are a great healthy dessert - made with fruit and nuts.

For another healthy dessert option, you might try:

- Orange Walnut Cardamom Balls or
- Mixed Halvah Treats

What different food combinations have you encountered and enjoyed or disliked?

Shared at The Prairie Homestead.

Comments

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  1. Joanne Peterson says:

    These bars look delicious and the ingredients list is something I have on hand. The ingredient list is not lengthy, which is a plus, and these bars appear to go together like a breeze. All the way around a keeper!

    Thank you for posting!

    Joanne

  2. Just a few important facts regarding the use of zylitol:

    The sweetener is derived from xylan (a polysaccharide), which is present in the plant cell walls of birch and beech trees, rice, oat, wheat and cotton seed hulls, corn cobs and stalks, along with sugar cane bagasse. Due to cost factors, most xylitol today is made from corn, rather than beech or birch. Chemically, all xylitol is the same, although GMOs are often present in non-organic varieties.

    Organic chemist Shane Elison explains the production process of the sweetener in “Xylitol: Should We Stop Calling it Natural?”:

    Elison continues, “[x]ylitol will rip up your insides, namely the digestive tract. It’s being touted as a natural product, most likely so that it can bypass regulation. Thus, very little studies exist on its side effects.” As anyone who has been overly enthusiastic about ingesting xylitol in large quantities can attest, the sweetener certainly lives up to its reputation of causing stomach distress, flatulence and loose stools. This alone is enough for anyone who cares about well-being to cast a weary eye upon the sweetener.

    Moreover, it’s interesting to note that polysaccharides are forbidden on a GAPS diet since the sugar encourages leaky gut syndrome. Digging a little deeper, another disturbing fact comes to light: Danisco (a worldwide supplier of xylitol) is owned by DuPont – the same corporation who concealed evidence that Teflon non-stick coating is a highly toxic carcinogen and substantially disrupts the reproductive system. Not exactly a company with a stellar track record for holding health in high regard.

    And then there’s the issue of xylitol that originates from China – a country known for its lax food standards, ranging from melamine contaminated milk to hidden GMOs. Even certified organic products from the country are suspect according to this article. Chances are, if your xylitol is from China, it’s sourced from GMO corn and has questionable processing practices.

    This is NOT a good products to use. I would advise the use of the listed rapadura over zylitol in any form or recipe.
    Here is a great source of info regarding rapadura/sucanat (which is no longer being recommended and why)

    http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/08/10/a-sweet-sweet-summer-unrefined-dehydrated-whole-cane-sugar-sucanat-rapadura-panela-and-muscovado/

    • Hi there, Carol. I appreciate your commenting.

      I know Katie of KS and in fact, we are friends and live near each other.

      About xylitol, it isn’t ideal and I only use it from birch. I would consider using it from corn that is non GMO but I haven’t done that yet. I also don’t use it much now since I am on a gut healing diet.

      The problem is that I have candida and sweeteners that feed it exacerbate my problem so I really have very few choices. I am trying to make decisions the best I can. I have done a lot of research into it and can’t figure it all out.

      I don’t know if Elison is right or not. There are folks saying it’s fine.

      I do find the Danisco information troubling but just b/c a company is fraudulent about one product doesn’t mean they are about all. I say that having a husband who lived in China for 2 years and is very hesitant to buy anything from there. That being said, not all from China is bad.

      I can’t use rapadura b/c of candida. The option for xylitol was given since so many of my readers have candida. The only “OK” sweeteners are xyl, erythritol, stevia, inulin (which doesn’t really work), lo han & yacon (in small amounts), and glycerine.

      I hope that helps you understand where I am coming from but I do really appreciate the dialogue.

      I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  3. These look absolutely decadent! I don’t have any coconut flour on hand at the moment, but am bookmarking this to try when I do! Thanks for sharing :) ~Aubree Cherie @ Living Free

  4. Jenny L. says:

    Can’t wait to try these! I have never liked sweet and savory together. My brother and I always eat our French toast with butter, salt and pepper with bacon on the side. It is delicious this way but probably foreign to people that are used to the syrup version.

    • It’s funny how we perceive foods based on what we are used to, isn’t it? Slovaks often ask me how I can eat sweet and savoury together (pancakes and maple syrup with bacon) but eat meat with canned fruit all.the.time. French toast your way sounds good to me!