I finally got to go skiing last weekend. There is no other activity that I can think of that gets me outside in the fresh air, for a whole day, during the winter time. I can’t tell you how good I feel to be outside, in the sun and the snow, in the mountains where everything smells good, and moving. It’s such a luxury over these winter months. With skiing comes the need for snacks. Mostly the snacks are needed on the long car ride home when you finally sit down and suddenly realize that you are deeply tired, hungry and thirsty from all of that moving and fresh air. My go-to snack is granola bars. They are easy to keep in my ski jacket pocket, nutritious, filling, and have just the right balance of sweet and savory that I crave at times like those. I have been making versions of these granola bars ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook came out. There is a date and almond version in her book but I decided to make some apricot sunflower granola bars this time instead. I have tons of sunflower butter in my fridge and I thought it would be a nice change.
I love these granola bars for so many reasons. Mostly though, I love their texture. If you are patient and let them cool when they come out of the oven, they are easy to slice and stay in bar form. I like to keep them at room temperature so they are slightly chewy (in the fridge they really harden up). I also love the chewiness from the dried fruit and the crunch from the seeds. They brown up beautifully and are great as bars but I also love crumbling them over my oatmeal or smoothie bowls. They are an amazing snack to keep around for that mid-day, nagging “it’s too early for dinner but lunch was so long ago” 4 o’clock feeling.
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix together dates, apricots, oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat hearts, salt, and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sunflower butter, coconut oil, honey and orange zest.
Pour wet into dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Line a 9" x 9" baking pan with parchment paper.
Press the granola firmly into baking pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, until it's golden brown at the edges.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on the counter.
Cut into 12-16 bars and store in an airtight container.
Apricot Sunflower granola bars was last modified: January 30, 2016 by