Friday, January 10, 2014

Dried Fruit Granola Bars

I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but in my family, we have a bit of a dried fruit problem.

It's not the eating that's the problem, it's the buying.  The quantity of dried fruit in our kitchen increases at an alarming rate, until it's practically spilling out of the cabinets.  I don't have an aversion to dried fruit (I'm looking at you, all you raisin haters), but things were getting a little out of hand.

Solution?  Make granola bars, of course.

These bars are pretty versatile.  There's a simple base of oats, oat flour, applesauce, and peanut butter, and to that you add two cups of whatever the heck you want.  Dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, seeds, sprinkles, pretty much every mix-in you can think of will work.  I used 1 1/2 cups of dried figs, dried apricots, dried cranberries, prunes, and yellow raisins (yes, I had all of that on hand), and 1/2 cup of chocolate.  Because chocolate makes everything better, right?

Once that's done, all you've gotta do is spread your batter into a pan and pop it in the oven for about half an hour.

These are not wimpy granola bars.  They make a great afternoon pick-me-up and paired with some fruit and yogurt, one bar will keep you full for hours.

I'm a fan of store bought bars, don't get me wrong, but nothing compares to a homemade snack in both the nutritional and taste department.  You're gonna want to make these bars, guys, don't miss out a recipe this good.

Dried Fruit Granola Bars

  • 3 cups oat flour (to make: grind rolled oats into a fine flour in a blend, coffee grinder, or food processor)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (or another but butter of your choice)
  • 2 cups dried fruit, chocolate, and/or nuts of your choice (I used 1/2 cup chopped chocolate and 11/2 cups chopped dried fruit)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x9 square pan.  In a large bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats and baking powder.  Add applesauce, honey/agave, and nut butter and mix until completely combined.  Your dough will be wet and sticky at this point.  Mix in all of your desired add-ins until evenly incorporated.  Scoop dough into prepared pan and spread into a smooth and even layer.  Bake in oven for 28-32 minutes, until slightly golden and firm to the touch.  Once cooled, slice into 18 thin bars, and store in fridge until serving time.  Bars will keep in fridge for up to one week.

Happy Friday everyone!  What are your weekend plans?
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