Fruity granola bars… and a challenge

I love granola, I really do… especially in the form of highly snackable granola bars.  In fact, we eat a lot of granola / kashi / cliff / power bars at my house.  So, in an effort to take another small step away from packaged food… and a step towards whole food goodness… I bring you, fruity, nutty homemade granola bars!!

Fruit and Nut Oat Bars

These bars are sweet and chewy with dried fruit, crunchy nuts, and just a touch of dark chocolate.  I used what I had on hand… these would also be delicious with dates, figs, dried cranberries or other types of nuts.  Oh, and be sure to look for dried fruits without added sugar… otherwise, they can pack a mean little sugary punch.  I get mine in the bulk bin at the grocery or health food store.

  • 1/2 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (of course I use my own)
  • 1/2 cup chopped or crushed walnuts
  • 1 cup oat flour (just pulse oats in your blender or food processor)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (I like the texture of the thick cut rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (the good stuff, aim for > 70% cocao)
  • about 1/2 cup water (see explanation below)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Combine all of the dried fruits in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until well chopped… you could try to do this by hand, but trust me, it will be hard to achieve what can be done 1-2 minutes with the processor.

Transfer to a bowl and add the almond butter, nuts, oat flour and oats.  Start by adding 1/4 cup of water and mix by hand.  Slowly add more water until you have a dough.  I used 1/2 cup… excess water will cook out, so it’s better to add a little more rather than have a dry dough.

Line an 8x8in baking dish with parchment paper.  Press the dough into the pan and bake at 325F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool, cut and serve.  Makes 12.  I like to cut bars into different sizes… because sometimes you just want a little bite, and sometimes you need more!

fruity granola barsfruity granola bars up close

I recently received an email from Deepak Chopra (well… okay, I’m on a mailing list… it wasn’t from him personally)… his center is doing a FREE 21-day meditation challenge starting on March 11th.  You just sign up, then you receive a daily email and have access to a new guided meditation for 3 weeks… and did I mention that it’s free?  Oh, and as if this could get ANY better, guess who is co-hosting with Deepak.  No silly, not me… Oprah!!  It’s bound to be fantastical!  Plus, developing a mediation practice is one of my goals, and this sounds like a perfect way to start!  Who’s with me??