These fruit and grain bars are free of processed sugar and are full of flavor. They make a great snack on the road when healthy options are hard to find, and they are also one of the least messy treats you can give to kids in the car!
Reprinted from The China Study Family Cookbook (BenBella Books, 2017).
1 ½ cups
chopped pitted dates
1 ½ cups
dried unsulfured apricots
water, or more as needed
1 ½ tsp
pure vanilla extract (optional)
sea salt (optional)
Grated zest of ½ orange
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the oats, dates, applesauce, vanilla (if using), cinnamon, and sea salt (if using) in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms a cohesive ball.
3. Remove the dough from the processor and press two-thirds of it into the bottom of a nonstick 9-inch square baking pan.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine the apricots, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until most of the water has evaporated and the apricots are tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Transfer the apricots and any remaining water to the food processor and puree until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Spread the apricot puree over the cooled crust.
8. Crumble the remaining dough over the apricot puree and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into 9 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
1. You can replace the apricots with dates for a different flavor. Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract instead of the orange zest.