Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apricot Granola Bars

I am deep into my last finals season ever, so I haven't been baking a lot.  A couple of nights ago, though, close to midnight, I was about to go to bed but felt the overwhelming urge to make something edible instead.  Granola bars are perfect for that: they need to cool all night anyway.  These ones turns out chewy and substantial and yummy.

I don't have time or energy to write much more right now.  All that energy is going into papers.  Enjoy the recipe!

Apricot Granola Bars

1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1 cup honey (see note)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Toast the almonds and coconut in a skillet over medium heat on the stove.  Stir or toss until the coconut turns golden.  Add to a large bowl with the oats and apricots and toss to combine.
  3. Melt the Earth Balance in a small sauce pan.  Add the honey, syrup, salt, vanilla, and brown sugar.  Stir until well-combined.
  4. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and fold together with a spatula until completely combined.
  5. Scrape granola mixture into the pan, and use the spatula to spread it evenly.  Press the mixture firmly into the pan.
  6. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until the top of the bars have turned golden.  Let cool overnight or until completely cooled.  (This is very important!  Don't cut the bars before they are completely, 100% cooled-- otherwise, they will fall apart.)
  7. Once cooled (completely cooled), invert the pan to put the one-giant-granola-bar onto a large cutting board.  Peel off the parchment paper.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 3" squares (squares work better than traditional bar shapes, here; the bar shapes are more likely to fall apart).  Store in airtight containers.  These can also be frozen.
Note on honey: I am not a vegan who eschews honey.  I use local honey in some of my recipes.  If you don't want to use honey, you can substitute rice syrup.  Using maple syrup or agave alone might work, but your bars are more likely to fall apart.

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