Monday, August 8, 2011

Apricot-Fig Granola Bars

While it typically sits on the list of things I don't do as often as I should, I love making my own granola bars.   

In our house, we call these "cookies."

They disappear much more quickly than they would if I called them "Vegan Flax-Meal Fiber Bars."

These are simple to make:  just stretch your stirring muscles a bit before you begin.

Mix together the ingredients, which are highly amenable to substitution. 

Press the mixture firmly into a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Let cool, cut and serve.

(Immediately after removing them from the oven, I sprinkled about half a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips on one end of the bars.  I let them sit for 5 minutes so they could soften with the heat, and then I spread the velvety-smooth chocolate.) 

I found this granola recipe here and modified it slightly. 

There's another granola recipe on my blog; it was actually the very first recipe I posted...only a year and 5 days ago.  Time truly flies when you're having fun.  This recipe is best when eaten as a cereal with milk.

Here's the printable recipe. 

Apricot-Fig Granola Bars
Yields 20-25 squares

1 cup honey*
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut oil (which is a solid at room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
4 cups steel-cut oatmeal**
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (about 5 apricots)
1/4 cup dried raisins (I used golden raisins)
1/4 cup chopped dried figs (about 5 figs)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Bittersweet chocolate chips, optional

In a large bowl using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix together the honey, peanut butter, and coconut oil.  Stir in the vanilla, salt and flaxseed meal.  Add the oatmeal, the dried fruits, and the pumpkin seeds.  Mix well.

Line a large baking sheet (I used a 17" x 12" size) with parchment paper.  Using the back of the spoon or a large spatula, FIRMLY press the mixture into the pan.  (The harder you press, the better chance you have of the bars staying together after they are cut.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  

The longer the granola cools, the better it will stick together.  (But it tastes so wonderful, no one seems to mind if they have to use a fork.) 

Optional Chocolate Step:  As soon as you remove the granola from the oven, sprinkle a cup and a half of bittersweet chocolate chips over the surface.  Let them sit and soften for about 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate with a spatula.  You can use less chocolate and only cover half (or less) of the bars like I did in the picture above.

*Spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray before you pour in the honey.  The honey will slide right out when you pour it into the bowl.

**If desired, toast the oatmeal on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring it once or twice.  Then mix it in with the other ingredients as described in the recipe.

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Caneel said...

I love the apricot-fig combo in these! I'll be trying them out (with GF rolled oats!)

And, congratulations on your year-anniversary, five days late! I guess mine will be coming up in a few months - wow!

Toyin O. said...

That looks so good.

Caneel said...

Found gluten-free steel-cut oats. :)

Ali said...

Thank you so much for sharing this at Recipe Sharing Monday. I hope to see you back tomorrow :)

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

So many layers of flavors... Sounds just perfect!