We decided to bake something on the healthy side of baking. If there really is such a thing. You could say that a homemade ding dong is healthier than a store bought ding dong because there are less preservatives and other stuff in them but you couldn't really say the a homemade ding dong is healthy period.
We figured less butter, eggs and sugar would constitute healthy so, we chose to make fruit and nut bars from the Joy of Baking website. We had almost all the ingredients except for the dried apricots and the choice of figs, dates or prunes, of which we chose Dates. Erin particularly wanted to use dates because of her fond memories of the China Ranch Date Farm, which she visited over 10 years ago. If you make it with any of the other combinations let us know how it tastes. We also used Pecans instead of Walnuts because we had some left over from our Pecan Sandies post.
There was a good amount of chopping. The pecans had to be chopped. The apricots had to be chopped and the dates too. We aren't that great at it but anyone with limited chopping proficiency would have it done in a jiff.
Everything without the egg wash yet
The ingredients came together quite quickly. In fact we would recommend making this if you have a bit of extra time instead of buying bars at the grocery store. They don't use too much flour so you are mainly getting to enjoy the taste of dried fruits and nuts.
We were really happy with the way they came out. They smelled and tasted great. They were sweet without a lot of sugar, but not too sweet. It's a perfect snack to make and keep around. According to the original recipe they can be stored for up to 10 days. Ours didn't last that long. They were eaten up by co-workers and family members long before that.
Lessons learned: We should bake more with dried fruit. It's really good and good for you.