Tuesday, March 1, 2016

apricot oat bars

If you haven't realized it by now, I love snacks. I make tons of energy balls, granola bars, and easy to make and take "slices", as my hubby calls them. So I have for you another recipe to add to your snack bar repertoire.

apricot oat bars
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan chocolate chips (optional)

The first thing I do when using dates is cut out the pits (if they aren't already pitted) and soak them in hot water. It only takes a few minutes to get them nice and soft.

While the dates are soaking... add oats, walnuts, and sunflower seeds to a food processor and blend into a course meal, chunks are good! Transfer the oat mixture to a bowl and toss in the ground flax seed (if they aren't ground yet, this can be done easily in a spice grinder or nutribullet for fresh flaxmeal!). Drain the dates and add them to the now empty food processor. Add the maple syrup and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer date paste into the bowl with the oat mixture. Chop dried apricots into small pieces and add them to the bowl. Combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon, or your hands :), until everything is incorporated evenly.

Press mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. If your sheet is too large just create an edge with your hands and fold the parchment over that edge. Continue to flatten into the tray until evenly compressed all the way around at about 1/2 inch thick. Place tray in the freezer.

The next step is totally optional, but everything is better with chocolate, so why not?
Using a double boiler, or a metal or glass bowl on top of a small pot of water, melt the chocolate chips. Stir constantly and don't let the water get to a rolling boil. When chocolate is completely melted and smooth transfer to something with a little spout for pouring (a liquid measuring cup, a mini pitcher, or even some dry measuring cups have a little puckered spout for pouring). Take your sheet of apricot oaty goodness out of the freezer and drizzle the melted chocolate all over that thing. Return the tray to the freezer and let set about 15 minutes.

Using the parchment paper, transfer to a cutting board and slice into desired bars, squares, or slices. Keep refrigerated and keep nourished!

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