Dried fruit is an excellent choice for those that want to add more fruit into their daily lives because it’s easy to eat (no peeling required!), portable, and has a longer shelf life than fresh fruit. However, dried fruit is also a great way to add a boost of fruit-filled nutrition to some sweet treats! With that in mind, Traina® Home Grown offers some “sweet” ways to use dried fruit in desserts and beyond.
Scones, Muffins and Cookies — From cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies or blueberry scones to tropical sunshine muffins with apricots, mangoes, and pineapple bits, dried fruit adds tasty texture to all kinds of pastries.
Pancakes — Chocolate chips get a lot of the pancake play, but who says dried fruit can’t be used? It’s a fantastic way to add some nutrition to the morning meal. Used in their dried state, they add some great contrast to fluffy pancakes; for a softer, moisture result, they can be reconstituted. (Easily reconstitute dried fruit by soaking it in water or juice until it plumps up!)
Smoothies and Yogurt Parfaits — Blended into smoothies and layered into yogurt parfaits with granola, coconut chips or chia seeds, dried fruit is a great addition to these sweet treats too.
Hand pies — Delicious hand-held treats, individual hand pies are a fun and scrumptious dessert for spring. Dried fruit can be used in place of fresh for the filling to take the flavor profile to another level.
Sugar Substitute — For those that don’t want to use white sugar in a baking recipe or don’t want to use honey for vegan preferences, dried fruit is a great swap out! Many baking recipes now rely on dates or date paste as a natural whole foods (and naturally delicious!) replacement for white sugar, honey or agave. Dates can also serve as desserts themselves – and can be stuffed with nuts, seeds, coconut shavings, mascarpone cheese or dark chocolate chips as a sweet appetizer or after-dinner nosh served with wine or coffee.
Fruit “Butter” — Both fresh and dried fruit can be used to make fruit butter — which could be described as a luscious, dense and intensely flavored jam that is ideal for serving with artisan meats, cheeses and breads on a charcuterie board. Boiling dried fruit, water, sugar and any flavoring extracts desired until the mixture thickens and reduces down is the basic “recipe” for this easy process that results in flavor-rich butters that can be used in a variety of ways.
Dried fruit is delicious right out of the bag on its own, but there are so many fun ways to jazz up sweet favorites with just a sprinkle. And it never hurts to add a little dried fruit to any meal!