|These make a great nutrient packed snack or breakfast on the go. I am excited to play more around with flavors, maybe substituting honey for the molasses and raisins or chocolate chips in place of apricots.|
ingredients:1 cup pitted prunes
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (or combination)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1. Preheat oven to 325º. Line an 8x8 or 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Lightly grease or spray with nonstick spray.
2. Cover prunes with hot water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add syrup, molasses, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Process to form a thick paste, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides a couple times. Add 2 cups of the oats and pulse 8-10 times, until the oats are coarsely chopped. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in remaining 1/2 cups oats, apricots, nuts, and sunflower seeds.
3. Using slightly dampened hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes.
4. Cool dish for 15 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to freezer and chill until completely cooled (about 30 minutes). Cut into 10-12 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.