[Recipe & photo courtesy of Ashley from Eat Me Delicious]
1 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp apple juice
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup flaxseed, ground
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F and line a 9×9 (or 8×8) baking pan.
Place the dates, apricots and apple juice in a saucepan and bring a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and mix well with a spoon to form a pulp.
Meanwhile, in a food processor combine walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Pulse into a “meal” (very finely chopped) but not so far it becomes a butter. Add rolled oats, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds and sea salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Press half the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the fruit pulp evenly over top, then finish with the remaining oat mixture. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool in the tin on a rack before slicing into squares. You can store these homemade granola bars in an air-tight container for about 10-12 days, in a cool, dry place. Enjoy as breakfast bars, or keep a few pieces handy for your mid-day cravings!