Granola Bars (Fig, Date, and Almond)

Homemade granola bars! Doesn’t the idea sound great? I love a good granola bar but I find that I am no longer into the ones that I used to enjoy as a kid. Now I want something a bit hearty, and while I like a bit of sweet added to it I don’t crave something that is over the top sugar.
When I came across a post on homemade granola bars I was very excited! Not only did she give a recipe for the particular granola bars that she made, but she also gave the necessary components for a granola bar so that you could mix and match any number of ingredients and still have a granola bar for the finished product.
For my first foray into the homemade granola bar arena I chose to use her basic recipe but I am really looking forward to experimenting with other flavor combinations. My husband and son devoured them but I have to admit that my first bite was a little disappointing. I was anticipating these granola bars to be like the ones I had always eaten that were pre-packaged, but once you get past the fact that they are not dry, but are moist and chewy and fresh you really won’t mind that you didn’t take it out of a package. Add to that the fact that you can make just about any flavor you want and that you have endless possibilities waiting for you. Enjoy!
Granola Bars (Fig, Date, and Almond)

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 + ¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped dried figs
1/3 cup chopped dried dates
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir in the oats, making sure that it is evenly mixed and all of the oats are moistened. Mix in the almonds, figs, dates and raisins.

Turn the mixture out into the baking pan and press into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and tightly packed.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the freezer until the bars are firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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