Celebrating Tu B’Shvat – Fruit and Nut Bars (Gluten-Free)

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Gluten-Free Fruit and Nut Bars

Today is Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for trees.  It is a custom to eat dried fruit and nuts native to Israel on Tu B’Shvat. These Fruit and Nut Bars incorporate some of these foods including almonds, dates, figs, and pomegranate.

Tu B’Shvat literally means the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat. It is a minor holiday but the Jewish Mystics in the Middle Ages developed customs for Tu B’Shvat filling it with symbolic meanings. They created a seder meal, in the same manner as a Passover Seder,  featuring the seven species, the Shivat Haminim of the land of Israel.  Almonds are also customary as almond trees flower at this time in Israel.

“…a land of wheat and barley and (grape) vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and (date) honey.” (Deut. 8:8)

Over the years Tu B’Shvat has transformed to become an ecological holiday that raises awareness on environmental issues through a Jewish perspective. It is also known as the Jewish Arbor Day as Jewish children worldwide buy trees to be planted in Israel.

Tu B’Shvat Resources:

Hazon’s Tu B’Shvat Resources -Includes a Seder and sourcebook.
Canfei Nesharim Tu B’Shvat Resources – Program ideas, children’s activities, and Torah related articles on environmental issues.
A Holiday for the Trees – Jewish Food by Gil Marks

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Dried Fruit and Nut Bars
This is a gluten-free adaptation of Janna Gur’s Tu bi’Shvat loaf cake in The Book of New Israeli Food. I added a tart pomegranate glaze to the cake to offset the sweetness of the dried fruit.

coconut oil or butter (for greasing)
7 tablespoons almond flour
5 tablespoons palm sugar, or other natural sweetener
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
small pinch of cloves
1 1/2 cups dried fruits (dates, figs, apricots, raisins, cranberries) coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups walnuts and pecans (or other nuts) coarsely chopped
pomegranate molasses (optional glaze)

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Grease an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil or butter.
3. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and spices. Add the mixed nuts and fruit to the bowl and mix until batter is thoroughly incorporated.
4. Spread the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.
5. Allow to cool before cutting with a serrated knife into bars.
6. Glaze the top with pomegranate molasses (optional).

This post is linked to The Nourishing Gourmet | Pennywise Platter Thursday.

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