Dried-Fruit and Nut Health Bars
Oats bring a pleasant chewiness and an old-fashioned goodness to these nutrient-dense bars. Pureed dates lend just enough sweetness to this convenient breakfast or snack. Nuts, ground flax, and dried fruits add antioxidants, vitamins, good fats, and flavor.
- 1 cup (9 ounces) pitted dates
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, finely ground, or 1 cup quinoa flakes
- 4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) pecans, toasted, 1/2 finely ground and 1/2 coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, 1/2 finely ground and 1/2 coarsely chopped
- 2 1/4 ounces (1/3 cup) dried papaya, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 ounces (1/3 cup) dried cherries, chopped
- 2 ounces (1/3 cup) dried blueberries
- 2 tablespoons oat bran
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons brown-rice syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dates in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Drain. Puree in a food processor until smooth.
Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Mix oats or quinoa flakes, nuts, papaya, cherries, blueberries, bran, flaxseed, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in date puree and brown-rice syrup or honey. Press mixture into pan.
Bake until center is firm and edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 8 bars.