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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Plant Based Apricot Fig Bars

Sometimes you just need a nice gooey dessert.  To be honest, I'm not a big dessert person, but there is that odd occurrence when I just want to sink my teeth into something luscious.  Now....sometimes I want that to be a piece of chocolate cake the size of my head, but for the most part - I'm a fruit girl.  These Apricot Fig Newton Bars fit the bill perfectly!

They have just enough fig to remind you a little of fig newtons, but enough apricot to make them feel a little grown up.  I can't really remember if the kids got more than one each of these - I think Wolverine and I scarfed them down before they got the chance. :)  

I see these in my future again very soon....I've even been saving a half a bag of figs in my cabinet for these! :) I think I might even change up the "other fruit" in these to maybe strawberries or peaches...thinking I could sub in some homemade jam for the dried apricots and syrup....I'll keep testing it and see what we like!

Have you guys been over to see Chelsea at Whole New World?  She has some great recipes and a generally fantastic site!  Swing by and say hello - you can even find her on Facebook!  
Apricot Fig Bars
What's In It:
1 1/2 c (8oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c (8oz) dried figs, roughly chopped
1/4 c 100% maple syrup
1 T finely grated orange zest
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2/3 c water

3 T ground flaxseeds
1/4 c plant based milk
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c almond or peanut butter
1/3 c dry sweetener (I used raw sugar)
2 t vanilla
1 c oat flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

What To Do With It:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 7x11 pan with parchment paper (If you don't have a 7x11 you could also use an 8x8 or a 9x9, but adjust your baking times a bit).

To make the filling
Combine all filling ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove pan from heat and puree.  I used an immersion blender, but if you don't have one, you can use a blender, just be sure you don't put the lid on tightly or it will blow off.  

To make the crust:
In a large bowl, stir together the flaxseeds, milk, applesauce, nut butter, and sweetener.  Mix well and stir in vanilla.   Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.  Knead with your hands a few times until it all holds together - add an extra bit of milk if necessary.  You want the dough to form into a ball.  Divide the dough into two balls.

To assemble the bars:
Place the first ball of dough into the bottom of the pan and using a spatula (or your fingers) spread the dough to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.    
Spread filling over crust.  
Shape or roll the second ball of dough into an 8x8 square (or the size of the pan you are using. I had to actually roll it out with a rolling pin between greased sheets of parchment paper.  It was a mess, but totally worth it!). Gently place second crust on top of the filling.
Bake for 20-24 minutes - the top should be firm and starting to turn golden at the edges.  
Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting into squares.  

Yields approximately 12-16 squares.    

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