Oatmeal Apricot Almond Bars

An oatmeal breakfast bar that is chock-full of dried apricots, coconut, cardamom, and almond butter.  This is oatmeal cereal on the go.  Bake these ahead of time, and zap them in the microwave briefly (or eat them cold) for a homemade, nutritious breakfast that is high in protein and fiber while simultaneously being low in sugar and saturated fats.  They are gluten free, and can easily be made lactose free or vegan if you swap out the chocolate for lactose free or vegan alternatives.  What you are essentially doing is making oatmeal cereal, and then baking it into a bar form that is easily transferable.

In the morning, I like to grab something quick before rushing out the door, and I often turn to the organic/natural granola or cereal bar, but I always get bogged down by the crazy amounts of sugar going into it (this is added sugar on top of the sugar naturally found in the fruits already baked into the bars).  They are more on a par with a snickers bar then any actual nutritional breakfast.  They maybe slightly justifiable if your setting out on a 10 mile hike each morning, but even then I find it hard to justify the empty sugar. I gave up eating granola years ago due to the same problem.  Even homemade granola has ridiculous amounts of fat and sugar in it – that is what makes it crunchy and holds it together.  Do not get me wrong, I love my sugar and bad fats, but I much rather get them from a nice chewy brownie or a freshly baked cookie, not from a sickly sweet hunk of cardboard.

Oatmeal Apricot Almond Bars

Recipe makes 16 bars.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 cup Almond Butter
  • 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup Maple Syrup (depends on how sweet you want it – the apricots and coconut also sweeten it)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup diced, dried Apricots
  • 1 cup shredded Coconut
  • 3/4 cup Almond slivers
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet (vegan) chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine the oats and water in a large glass bowl, and zap them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  You can also cook them briefly on the stovetop, but I find the microwave easier and with less clean-up.
  3. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
  4. Add the salt, cardamon, cinnamon, almond butter, and maple syrup to the oats.
  5. Add the apricots, coconut, and almonds.
  6. Pour the oatmeal out into the baking dish, and use a knife to spread the oatmeal out evenly.
  7. Bake the bars for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove the bars from the oven, and sprinkle the chocolate chips out on top of the bars.
  9. Place the bars back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the chocolate.
  10. Remove the bars from the oven and use a knife to spread out the chocolate evenly.
  11. Allow the bars to cool fully before cutting them.
  12. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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