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Apricot-Sunflower Granola Bars
1 h 30 m
“Easy to make at home, these nut-free granola bars can be adjusted to your taste preferences. Simply vary the add-ins to your taste, swapping 2 cups of any combination of small (or chopped) dried fruit, seeds and/or chocolate chips for the apricots and seeds in this version. We tested several sticky sweeteners, including maple syrup and honey, but found brown rice syrup held the bars together the best.”
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots ( ¼ inch)
½ cup unsalted pepitas, toasted
½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
½ cup sunflower seed butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving extra parchment hanging over two sides. Lightly coat the parchment with cooking spray.
2Combine oats, rice cereal, apricots, pepitas, sunflower seeds and salt in a large bowl.
3Combine rice syrup (or corn syrup), sunflower butter and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds (or heat in a saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute). Add to the dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined. Transfer to the prepared pan and firmly press into the pan with the back of a spatula.
4For chewier bars, bake until barely starting to color around the edge and still soft in the middle, 20 to 25 minutes. For crunchier bars, bake until golden brown around the edge and somewhat firm in the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. (Both will still be soft when warm and firm up as they cool.)
5Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then using the parchment to help you, lift out of the pan onto a cutting board (it will still be soft). Cut into 24 bars, then let cool completely without separating the bars, about 30 minutes more. Once cool, separate into bars.
To make ahead: Individually wrap airtight and store ar room temperature for up to 1 week.