If you’re looking for a recipe that makes a dense, chewy granola bar and doesn’t call for peanut butter or eggs, this one is perfect! Loaded with walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chocolate and cranberries, these bars are held together by a paste made of apricots, butter and honey.
The recipe, Chewy Walnut Granola Bars, is originally from the California Walnut Commission where they make it in a 9×13 inch metal pan. Since I’ll probably be eating all of these myself (I slipped half of one into Fuzz’s lunchbox and am waiting to see if she likes it), I made a half batch using an 8 inch square pan. And while the original recipe calls for a food processor, I was able to get away with using my mini chopper to make the apricot paste.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure this recipe would work — especially when I took the bars out of the oven. They were very soft and I didn’t dare cut into them because it was obvious they’d fall apart. But sometimes it just takes a little patience, so I let the bars cool on the counter for a while, then put them in the refrigerator for about an hour. Once cooled and chilled, they were very sturdy and sliced easily into perfect (well, almost) rectangles.
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour (whole wheat or white)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cups coarsely chopped California Walnuts (I toasted mine)
- 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (I used flaked sweetened)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds ( I used 2 tablespoons flax seeds)
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces or use unsalted and add a pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with parchment paper.
- In bowl, stir together the together oats, brown sugar, flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir in walnuts, cherries, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, coconut and sesame (or flax) seeds; set aside.
- In food processor, (a mini is okay) process apricots until broken up, about 1 minute. Add butter, process until a paste forms, about 1 minute. With motor running, pour in honey until well blended. If using a mini processor/chopper, just add the honey and process for a few seconds.
- Fold apricot mixture into oat mixture until well combined. Pat evenly into prepared baking pan. Press down as firmly as you can.
- Bake in the center of oven until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely (don’t even think about cutting while hot). Cut into bars.