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Apricot & Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

How many of you are looking for a healthy, gluten-free grab-and-go snack to take to work or for your kids after school? Oh I see a lot of hands going up…

Who wouldn’t be thrilled with a tasty and nutritious gluten-free snack that’s super easy to make in our crazy busy lives!

OK, let’s get to it!

I adore energy bars because they keep in the fridge for a while (or you can freeze them) and they’re really easy to prepare. Plus energy bars are a great way to use up any leftover nuts from other recipes you happen to have hanging out in your cupboard.

This variation was inspired by some dried apricots I saw when I was shopping last week.

Here’s an interesting little tidbit: As I was browsing the dried fruit aisle, I saw a package of pretty dehydrated orange-colored apricots you can find almost anywhere. They were sitting next to what looked like a package of dried fruit that were similar in shape, but kind of an ugly brown color.

Curious, I picked up the duller package only to realize they were organic dried apricots! Then to my delight I noticed they cost two bucks less than the non-organic version. Ah poor little guys – just because they weren’t a pretty color they got the low-rent sticker? They were from the same manufacturer and everything – they just weren’t doused with preservatives to keep them a pretty orange color. Score for me!

Needless to say, you can’t really see them in the photos here because of their color, but it can tell you they are just as tasty!

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If you have a few extra minutes you can even use a cookie cutter to make them into fun shapes for the kids.

But no matter what the shape these finally take – hearts, bars, stars, squares – I can guarantee your whole family will love them!

Make these today!

P.S. Choose your own seed and nut combo if you like. You don’t have to go along with ours…just be sure your nut/seed total adds up to 2 1/4 cups for best results with this recipe. And if you want to go super-healthy paleo with these, you can always leave out the sprinkling of chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Apricot & Chocolate Chip Energy Bars Recipe

Apricot & Chocolate Chip Energy Bars Recipe

Ingredients

    2 1/4 cups total of mixed nuts & seeds - entirely your choice here. This is what I used:
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Other Ingredients – adding the chocolate chips is optional
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dark mini chocolate chips, we used Enjoy Life brand
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Grease an 8X8 baking dish with coconut oil
  2. Use 1 cup of your nuts, plus the dates (I used the walnuts, pecans and dates) and pulse for just a couple of seconds in a food processor or high-speed blender. It should be ground small. (This ground mixture helps bind the bars)
  3. Next, in a large bowl, combine the pulsed ingredients, plus the rest of your nuts, the seeds, shredded coconut, and chopped apricots
  4. Now in a small saucepan mix the honey, coconut butter, vanilla, spices and salt together
  5. Stir over medium-low heat until it gets a little bubbly
  6. Pour the saucepan mixture over the ingredients in your large bowl
  7. Mix thoroughly, using your hands if necessary to combine
  8. Next sprinkle in the mini-chocolate chips (optional) and mix
  9. Form the bars by pressing the contents of the bowl into your greased pan
  10. Push the mixture down firmly into the dish until you have a tight and level layer
  11. Cover and place in the freezer for about 20-30 min
  12. Remove, cut into squares, and enjoy
  13. *Note: you can wrap and keep these in the fridge for a quick grab and go snack. Best eaten chilled. Don't leave out – these will soften too much at room temperature
http://paleonewbie.com/apricot-chocolate-chip-energy-bars-recipe/

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