I forgot how delicious dried apricots are. I mean the semi-plump ones, not the super dried-out gym sock ones, mind you. I typically don't keep dried fruit around because I prefer eating fresh, but Scott's been doing a lot of endurance work lately, and they're a quick and easy fuel source for him (CARBS, baby).
This is how I ended up with a Costco-sized bag of dried apricots in my pantry, which is dangerous, if you ask me. Those things are like little candies - and not exactly a low-calorie food (again, perfect for Scott...NOT FAIR). BUT, because dried fruits are naturally sweet, they make a perfect filling! No need to add any extra sugar.
Plan B: Boil the apricots to rehydrate them and soften for mashing. BINGO. I actually liked this approach better because it left some apricot chunks in the filling.
This is your cue to go buy dried apricots and make these bars...and try not to eat all of them at once (the apricots and/or the bars...both are delicious). I mean, I'm no photographer, but how are you not digging these pics???? Mmmm.
Oatmeal Apricot Bars
30 dried apricots
1-2 cups water
2 1/4 cup oats (rolled or quick)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp Turbinado or brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vanilla
4-6 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 375F.
Place the apricots and enough water to cover them completely in a small saucepan and heat until water reaches a boil. Pour off remaining water and mash the apricots. It's okay to have some chunks remaining. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, add oats, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon, and process until oats become flour-like.
Add in olive oil, vanilla, and 4 tbsp water, and pulse until the mixture clumps and forms a dough. If it still looks dry or crumbly or does not hold shape, add more water 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until clumping occurs.
Remove dough from food processor and split in half. Roll each half into a ball.
Place one of the balls on a large piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top; flatten and roll out using a rolling pin until it's roughly a 9x9 square (I use the term "square" loosely - don't worry). Place parchment paper with the rolled out dough on a baking sheet.
Spoon out the apricot filling onto the now rolled out dough and spread evenly.
Using the same method as before (between 2 pieces of parchment paper), roll out the second dough ball. Layer on top carefully and press down gently.
Bake on the center-rack for 10-15 minutes, or until oats turn slightly golden. Cut into 20 bars when cool and enjoy!
Nutritional Information (1 bar): 83 calories, 2.6g fat, 13.4g carbs, 1.4g protein
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