Apricot Almond Granola Bars

Now that we're all back to school, it seems like a good time to admit that my family doesn't so much eat as snack. Breakfast may consist of a little yogurt followed an hour later by some fruit. Mid-morning, there may be some crackers and cheese or half an apple slathered with a tablespoon of almond butter. The rest of the day is much the same until dinner, when we actually eat a meal. Perhaps we sit to eat dinner because that lovely meal (last night was hot dogs and baked beans. Oh, the glamour!) is followed by my favorite meal of the day: dessert! Yes, I consider dessert a meal. It's my hard-earned right after a day slaving away for these people and dog! Not that I'm justifying...

Okay, back to breakfast. My favorite morning snack is a cup of steaming hot English Breakfast tea with a bit of vanilla soymilk and a granola bar. I find that Lulu and Jeremy will pretty much eat what I'm eating (thank goodness!!!), so, I've been searching out the best granola bar recipes. Most of them are predictably sugary or fatty, but leave it to Smitten Kitchen to find an alternative. Now, I know I've been referencing this blog a lot lately, so, I promise this is my last recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cook book, for now anyway! I altered it quite a bit, so if you're a purist, you may want to buy her book.

I do plan to make this one over and over, because I like it that much but also to attempt to perfect it. While the recipe is delicious, the bars crumble easily and are a bit dry, which explains why so many others use more butter! Never fear, though, these are lovely with tea or popped into a lunch box and I will find the right balance of sweet, healthy, toasty and packable. In the meantime, make these and tell me in the comments if your family loves them as much as mine did.

xox,

A.

Apricot Almond Granola Bars
Makes 10 bars

1 C dried apricots, chopped
1-1/4 C oats
3 T flax seed meal
1/3 C wheat germ
1/2 C sliced toasted almonds
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C almond or other nut butter
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C honey
1/4 t almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8"x8" pan with parchment (one long piece hanging over the sides is perfect).

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, honey and almond extract. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir until well incorporated.

Spread the batter into your pan and bake for 20 minutes or until they're nicely browned. It's kind of good to overbake these.

Let them cool and remove them from the pan in one big block. Put the block into the freezer for 15 minutes and then cut in half and then across 5 times, making 10 bars.

Enjoy!

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