Apricot Fig Granola Bars

Granola is one of my all-time favorite things on this earth. I can eat it with milk, yogurt, fruit, in the morning, afternoon and night. I also love it in handfuls. There is literally no time I will say no to it. I also like it in bar form, but it’s hard to find a good granola bar these days – ya feel me? They are either overly sweet, too crunchy when I want something soft, or, in general, too bleh. Recently, I saw this recipe for “Five Minute,” “No-Bake” granola bars. That sounds pretty good, right? To make it even better, these can easily be whipped up in a gluten-free version. I’ll show ya how.

granolabars1

The first time I made these, I didn’t have raisins. I thought, eh, they’re not that great anyway. I found crystallized ginger in my pantry and thought it would go nicely with the peanut-buttery flavor of these bars (did I mention they’re heavily peanut butter based? yup. heaven.). The result was addicting, honey, peanut-buttery bars that had a hint of ginger. Deeeee-lish.
granolabars2
The second time I made them, I wanted to jazz them up more. I also thought it could use a little less sweetener. The result, once again, absolutely phenomenal. And they’re so easy! Literally two bowls and no pans, ovens, etc.
granolabars3
Recipe (adapted from this one):
Ingredients:
– 2 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats (I used gluten-free oats)
– 1 cup pepitas
– 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 6 tablespoon chia seeds
– 1/2 cup diced dried apricots
– 1/2 cup diced dried figs
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
– 2/3 cup nut butter (I think any would be good but I used a combination of creamy peanut butter and crunchy almond butter)
– 1/3 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, or a combination of any. To make it vegan, substitute raw honey)
– 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix the oats, pepitas, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, chia seeds, apricots, figs and walnuts.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the nut butter, sweetener and sea salt
3. Pour the wet mixture into the oat mixture and combine (I used my hands for this)
4. Press into a baking dish lined with parchment or wax paper. Cover with more parchment/wax paper, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to use. They will last two weeks in the fridge.
These bars make a great breakfast, afternoon snack, or even dessert! Just heat it up and throw on some ice cream. Also, there is so much freedom with the ingredient list! If you don’t have dried apricots or figs, use craisins or dried cherries. Want something sweeter? Add dark chocolate chips. Don’t have ground flaxseed? Don’t use it! There are endless flavor combinations and possibilities. Start exploring and enjoy!
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