Ever eaten incaberries? Nah, me either until I received an email from the incaberry folks here in Australia. They wanted to know if I’d like some berries to play with.
I was honest and told them I’d never heard of them before but I was willing to give it a go. They taste much like a dried cranberry with a different flavor if that makes any sense. They are sweet but tart and are often eaten dried with cheese or tossed on cereal or put in muffins.
For some reason all I could think of was making them into a bar or a slice as it’s called here in Australia. If you’re in the states and aren’t young any more, you’d remember the date bars you could buy in a box. You’d make the crust and pat it down and then mix the date mixture and smooth it over the base and then sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top and bake.
I decided that a mixture of incaberries and dates would do the trick. I will confess, I wasn’t running on all cylinders the day I made these. I put the incaberries in the pot along with the dates and after checking the net for how much sugar to put with the berries, I added a cup of sugar per cup of incaberries. What I didn’t think about was how much these puppies would swell (a lot). I also didn’t account for how sweet the dates were (very).
After about an hour I had a potful of these things and I tasted the juice. It was so sweet I wanted to cry. So I did what anyone else would do, I tossed in another handful of berries. Cooked, tasted and still not right because now I had too many berries and the mixture was too tart and a bit bitter. More sugar. Still not right. Then I did what always works. I tossed in a couple of ounces of brandy. Perfect.
I made the crust mixture, buttered the pan, reserved a cup of crust mixture for topping and patted the remainder on the bottom. The incaberry and date paste/filling smoothed over beautifully. I sprinkled the topping and into the oven.
Once they were out I photographed and then tasted. Eh~~ One bite and I figured I could live without them.
Fast forward to the following morning and my friend Di came over to work on her new blog. She’s new to blogging and sometimes it can be overwhelming to get it all under control so we work at it a few hours a week. I offered her a cup of tea and one of the “slices” I’d made the previous day. I didn’t say what I thought of them and she said, “OMG these are SO good.”
I looked at her funny and thought she was just being polite so I took a bite and she was right, they were delicious. The flavors must have come together once they cooled down and sat around for a while. So my first impression was wrong. I had another friend stop by later in the day and she thought they were so good she took the rest of the pan home with her.
Incaberries are really good for you. They have a higher antioxidant capacity than other known superfoods such as apples or gojiberries and they’re also really high in fibre – more than all other common dried fruit. No gluten, no cholesterol, have protein, low in sodium and high in phosphorus and potassium.
I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not a healthy eater. A quick perusal of my recipes and photos make that abundantly clear but I WANT to eat healthier so when I ate the whole bar I felt downright righteous. If you’re thinking, “my God there’s 80 pounds of sugar in that stuff,” fear not. I have 5 cups of that filling left over. The bars fill an 8″ x 8″ pan so I’m set for incaberry and date bars until 2016.
- 1 cup incaberries
- 1 cup dates
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 oz brandy (optional) I don't think it's necessary but it makes an adult treat
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup uncooked oats (quick cooking preferred)
- ½ packed brown sugar
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- If you are the plan ahead sort of person, you could soak the incaberries overnight but that's not who I am.
- Tumble the incaberries and dates into a saucepan larger than you think you need (they will swell)
- Add sugar and cook on low heat until the berries and dates are very soft and thick. Add more water if your heat is higher than mine. The consistency should be like really soft icing.
- Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes and then whiz in a blender or food processor and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Toss all crust ingredients into a food processor and whiz until mixture looks like soft crumbs.
- Reserve one cup of this mixture and pat the rest in the bottom of a buttered 8" x 8" pan.
- Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture on top and bake for 30-35 minutes until light brown.
- Cool completely before cutting apart. They're better on day two.
If you haven’t tried eating an incaberry before, I strongly suggest you give it a try. Think healthy! I give you permission to feel righteously healthy when you make these. Oh, and if you need some filling, I’ve got plenty. A big thanks to the Incaberry.com.au folks for sending the incaberries.
Check out Food Writer Friday – this week it’s Lizzie Moult from Strayed from the Table.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
How funny – they aged well 🙂 I’ve never heard of incaberries before but they sound very interesting. Yes I remember the date bars in a box – made it many, many times. I love a good date bar and these look great!
I must admit, I’ve never heard of incaberries. Date bars I know – in fact I have a recipe for some that my mother used to make for Christmas every year. And I definitely remember the ones in a box. These look interesting – although I like immediate gratification when it comes to food, I’m able to wait patiently for things that need to age. Like wine, for example, and apparently incaberries! Fun post – thanks.
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You says
How interesting, Maureen!
I have never heard about incaberries till today… Looking at one of the pictures, they remind me golden raisins (although the incaberries seem to be darker)…I mean lookwise since you said that they are both sweet and tart like cranberries. I think they look perfect in the bars. I’d love to try both the incaberries and the bars.
Never heard of incaberries. They look good!
Judit + Corina @WineDineDaily says
We have to join the “never heard about incaberries” group. They do look delicious. Thank you Maureen for this interesting recipe and now we have to see if we can find incaberries here in Southern Califronia 🙂
I can’t believe that they’d be in Australia and not be in California. Things like that don’t happen. 🙂
Sue | My Korean Kitchen says
I’ve never heard of incaberries before either. But it looks very healthy. Those bars will be a good breakfast or morning tea alternative!
The Café Sucré Farine says
You always make me laugh and your food makes me drool 🙂 I never heard of these fun berries either but I’m so glad to meet them!!
I have never heard of these either! That fruit spread really looks delicious, and a little brandy goes a long way in a lot of situations 😉
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
My husband would love these for when he goes riding! He is always after healthy bars 🙂
Lorraine: I’m not so sure they’re 100% healthy unless you eat the berries straight out of the bag. 🙂
Rhonda: I couldn’t agree with you more 🙂
Chris: I try, I try. I hope you get some sent to you to play with too and then we can look at your mountain of swollen berries.
Denise: These are NOTHING like golden raisins. If you close your eyes you’ll swear it’s a cranberry who’s having an off day.
Incaberry… seems like the sort of thing that my vegan breakfast salads would like. Your pics make me want to make fig newtons. Er…. incaberry newtons?
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
I wish the incaberry people would contact me! (Incaberry people? I’m here!) I discovered dried incaberries last year and loved them. I think I’d adore these bars – what a great recipe to try the ingredient out for the first time.
Norma Chang says
Learned something new today, incaberries, thanks. This would be the perfect do-ahead bar cookies since they improve with age (wish this would apply to me). Brandy was the solution, how interesting, only you would think of that, so clever.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
Incaberries!! Who knew?!! Thank you for teaching me something new today 🙂
Purabi Naha says
Although I have neve eaten Incaberries, this recipe is tempting me to try these. I loved these bars…would love to feed my family this awesome treat….
I have never heard or eaten Incaberries–I am very intrigued! I love learning about new foods. This recipe looks delicious.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I’ve never tried incaberries but these bars would make a wonderful snack!
Dear Maureen, I enjoy reading your posts so much. I just love the way I feel you are talking right to me.
I smiled and related to this cooking experience very much.
I am glad that at second taste they were much better and you enjoyed them.
Thank you for your visits and kind comments during the time of this hurricane and not being able to blog.
I am doing my best to catch up and get back in the swing of things. It is very comforting knowing you are cared about by so many blogging friends.
Blessings dear friend. Catherine xoxo
Laura: The bars were really really good the 2nd day
Julia: You should have a look around for some. They can’t be too hard to find if I got some. 🙂
Purabi: I think your family would enjoy it. I’m still swooning over that bread on your newest post!
Lisa: If I were you, I’d try some. Just remember that they swell. LOL
Norma: I lol’d at your comment. I don’t drink much at all but when I went to the pantry to see what I could put in to enhance the flavor, the brandy was holding its hand up.
Monica: Incaberry newtons!! OMG oh please make these. I’ve never tried making newtons before but these would be really good I think.
The paste/filling looks luscious. Love that red color. I would try these in a nano-second.
Julia | JuliasAlbum.com says
I’ve never heard of incaberries! Now I am curious. I think you chose a perfect recipe for them!
Maureen…I never heard of incaberries…and the bars look good to me in spite of your first impression 🙂 Great as snack!
Enjoy your weekend!
Adding my voice to the choir of those for whom incaberries are an unknown but I do love a good date bar. I also admire your determination. You weren’t going to settle for anything less than a tasty treat. You not only created one, you’re set until 2016. 🙂
Mary Frances says
You’re so cute – tossing in the brandy is what I would have done too – as well as taking a swig!
Recipe sounds great – but never heard of them. Have to research and check!
Mary Frances: I laughed out loud when I read about taking a swig. I didn’t think of that!
ChgoJohn: Yes, and by the time you make it to Australia, I will have perfected it so it’s good enough to share with you.
Juliana: Lots of people hadn’t heard of them and neither had I.
Julia: I thought I’d done a good job until Monica mentioned Incaberry Newtons and now I’m dying to try them.
Roberta: Oh how I wish you were close enough to share with!
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
I’ve heard the word Incaberry but they sure sound like powerful little berries. Love that your solution was to add brandy! Lucky you had a friend over the next day or you mightn’t be introducing us to this delicious slice!
yes, because I would have tossed them out if I hadn’t needed something to go with tea when Di got there 🙂
Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen says
You’re so funny, Maureen, that’s exactly what I think when I eat a healthy bar/slice.. the more the better, it’s healthy after all. Perhaps that’s why I’m still working on those last ten pounds. These do look fantastic, I would have a few with coffee.. with you!
Hotly Spiced says
When all else fails, add alcohol – just love it, Maureen! I think your bars look wonderful and here’s another great recipe for me to try with incaberries – everyone in my family is a fan xx
So do you call them bars or slices? The word bars just rolls off my tongue but I can remember to say slice when necessary.
I love these little sour sweet berries. I marinated them to serve with cheese when I was working for a cheese company. They were perfect. Your slice looks just so good, dates and icaberries a great idea. . Just ignore the sugar….and add alcohol … you funny wee thing, what could have gone wrong with that?. I have to admit I am very critical of what I cook and I am often surprised when others think my food is good!.
holy cow, Tania, I look at the food on your blog and I think I should hang up my apron 🙂
Kristi Rimkus says
I’ve never heard of inca berries. From your description I’ll bet they were perfect in these bars.
I hadn’t heard of them either until the incaberry folks offered to let me play with some.
EA-The Spicy RD says
I actually love inca berries, althought I call them golden berries. Love the sweet/tart como and like to put them on top of oatmeal. Funny story about the brandy :-). These bars sound delish to me!
I’m a new fan too!
‘what always works….brandy’…..hahahahaha!! You are a gem Maureen 😀 I won’t lie, I am not that crazy about these bars. I am not a berry person, in fact blueberries and I are not even on talking terms. And I can’t say I am super excited about the berries I have never heard of. But I must say, you are so genuinely innovative that if you would try to make something out of them, I have no doubt they would come up delicious. Well done!
I wouldn’t call these berries either because to me a berry is fresh but since they ARE berries, I’ll go along. 🙂 I liked the idea of the incaberry newton.
Kimby | a little lunch says
Maureen, I loved your last minute “save” and first impression. Glad the overnight steep worked out. 😉 Count me amongst those who never heard of an incaberry until now and thanks for the education!
I had this huge pot of stuff and I couldn’t toss it out 🙂
Kim Beaulieu says
Wha????? How have I never heard of this. Now I need to find incaberries. I have a feeling I need to visit you to get some.
that’s certainly doable 🙂
Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice says
You are too funny…I was laughing about the juice being so sweet that you wanted to cry and loved that you added brandy. 🙂 I think you should have a cooking show!! One of my friends loves dates and is planning to start a date cooking blog one day, so I will be sharing this with her.
I doubt anyone would watch. I’d probably ummm errr ahhh ummm the whole way through 🙂