May 9, 2012

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

These granola bars, which I found on Recipe Girl, seem to hold their shape much better than the other recipe I tried. They are still a fairly chewy granola bar with a bit of crunch on the edges. These don't mimic the flavor, though, of any commercial granola bar I've tried. I made a few adaptations to the recipe, which are shown in my version below.

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars
1 cup pitted prunes
1/3 cup dark maple syrup
1 Tbsp. sorghum molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Spray with nonstick spray.

In a  bowl, cover the prunes with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes. Drain, and place the prunes into a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the syrup, molasses, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Process to form a thick paste, about 20 seconds. Add 2 cups of the oats, and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining oats, dried fruit, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

Using slightly dampened hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool the dish for 15 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to the freezer or refrigerator and chill until completely cooled. Remove the bars from the baking dish by pulling up on the parchment paper. Cut into 10 bars using a pizza cutter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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