Dried-Fruit-and-Nut Health Bars
- 1 cup (5 ounces) pitted dates
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, finely ground; or 1 cup quinoa flakes
- 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) pecans, toasted, half finely ground and half coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, half finely ground and half coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup dried papaya, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup (2 ounces) dried cherries, chopped
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) dried blueberries
- 2 tablespoons oat bran
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dates in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Drain reserving cooking water. Puree dates in a food processor with honey and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water until smooth.
Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Mix oats or quinoa flakes, nuts, papaya, cherries, blueberries, bran, flaxseed, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in date puree. The mixture should be moist enough to hold together. If necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more cooking water. Press mixture into pan.
Bake until center is firm and edges are golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 bars.