Confession #111: My organization is a mess… Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars
I would call myself an organized person. Really, I would. But sometimes, I have to wonder…
Because I’m also the person who leaves so many internet tabs open that I can’t see the icons on any of them anymore. And the person who works with stuff all over the table, which I won’t clean up until I’m completely done. And the person who occasionally finds that a recipe I wrote down a few weeks ago now looks like some sort of confusing combination of ingredients, steps, and baking times that I can’t be sure if I’m reading correctly.
I’ll call it a good day if I sit down to write a post and have a fully legible recipe in front of me, even if it is a little messy. On a not-so-good day, I’m rummaging through the recipe drawer looking for that one recipe hidden somewhere in a mountain of the rest of them.
I fully blame my misorganization for the mess it’s been trying to finalize the recipe for these bars. I think I made these at least four times before I actually wrote the entire recipe down coherently. Can somebody please tell me how that happens with a 6-ingredient, 5-step recipe?? I have no idea.
So now that I’ve officially made you guys all think I’m a mess, I hope you still trust me. Because I promise these apple bars taste good, but they look like… not much. We’re taking a bunch of brownish ingredients, throwing them together in a food processor, grinding them to bits, and then clumping it all together into bars. The possibility of making an attractive snack here is about zero. But here’s what I love about these – the healthy, nutrient-dense ingredient list. The easy recipe. The rich, nutty flavor of the pecans combined with the natural sweetness of dates. The tart apple flavor subtly blended in, perfect alongside the robust taste of cinnamon. Yup, these are good AND healthy. Don’t you love it when that happens?
Rich in the nutty taste of toasted pecans and naturally sweetened with dates, these Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars are flavor and nutrient-packed!
8 ounces pecans (2 cups)
5 3/4 ounces rolled oats (2 cups)*
8 1/4 ounces pitted and halved dates (1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces chopped granny smith apples (or similar) (2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the pecans and oats out on it in a single flat layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until toasted and fragrant.
Keep the oven preheated to 350°F. Line an 8" square pan or a 12" x 5 1/2" biscotti pan with parchment paper, leaving enough parchment on the sides to use as "handles" for pulling out the finished bars.
Place the toasted nuts and oats in a food processor along with the dates, cinnamon, and salt. Process until the mixture is coarse and crumbly, with no large pieces remaining. Add the chopped apple and pulse in until there are no longer any large chunks left. Continue to process until everything starts to clump together, using a spatula if necessary to help move things around. This process may move slowly, but eventually everything should come together.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, using a wide, flat spatula to pat it down into a flat and compact layer that takes up the entire space of the pan. It helps to fold the extra parchment on the sides over the bars, and flatten with the spatula on top of the parchment (to prevent sticking). Be patient with this; the bars will look the exact same once they're done baking, so try to make them really flat and even.
Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes, and then slice into bars. Once completely cool, lift out of the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
*To make these bars gluten-free, use gluten-free rolled oats.