Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars

Basic Granola Bar Formula

1. Rolled Grains (2½ cups)
Suggestions: Oats, Rye flakes, Barley flakes, etc.

2. Nuts, Seeds & Spices (1 cup)
Suggestions: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon, Ginger, etc.

3. Sticky Sweetener (1/3 cup + ¼ cup)
Suggestions: Honey, Agave Nectar, Molasses, Maple Syrup

4. Dried Fruits (1 cup)
Suggestions: Raisins, Apricots, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Cranberries, Pineapple, etc.

5. Binder (1 cup)
Suggestions: Pureed Dried Fruit, Apple Butter, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Unsweetened applesauce, etc.

Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars

Yield: 8 to 12 bars, depending on how large you cut them

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 + ¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped dried figs
1/3 cup chopped dried dates
1/3 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir in the oats, making sure that it is evenly mixed and all of the oats are moistened. Mix in the almonds, figs, dates and raisins.

3. Turn the mixture out into the baking pan and press into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and tightly packed.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the freezer until the bars are firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Note: I experimented with this recipe using both traditional rolled oats and quick oats. I tended to like the consistency of the bars with the quick oats, but I had my mom taste both and she liked the traditional rolled oats better. So I think it's a matter of taste/preference. Give them both a shot (or use what you have on hand) and see which you like better!

(Recipe adapted from Good Life Eats)