Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Molasses Granola Bars

I usually love all things molasses.  These were just ok, although my kids LOVED them.  They pretty much ate the whole batch.

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cook)
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup dates, pitted
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a full-sized food processor, combine the molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, and dates.  Pulse three times.  Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.  Puree until mixture is smooth.  Add the oats and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped.

Remove the oat mixture from the food processor and transfer to a medium bowl, taking care to scrape the edges of the food processor to remove all of the mixture.  Stir in the cranberries, pecans, apricots, and sunflower seeds until well mixed.

Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.  Press the oat mixture into the baking pan until the mixture is evenly distributed throughout the pan and tightly packed.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool in the freezer until the bars are firm.  Lift the parchment paper out of the pan, remove, and cut into 8-12 bars.  

Store bars in an airtight container for up to a week.  Bars may be frozen for up to a month and thawed as needed.

*I didn't use parchment and sprayed the pan with cooking spray instead and they didn't stick.  I also didn't freeze the bars, but let them cool before cutting and serving and they were hard enough.  

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