Apricot Oat bars

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These oatmeal bars are addicting.  I was not really sure about using apricot flavors, but the end product was delicious – of course anything with 2 sticks of butter is yummy right?  I do not see why you would not substitute with your favorite preserves and dried fruit flavors – so far though I have only tried apricot.

Apricot Oat Bars, from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray
Filling
1 (13-ounce) jar apricot jam or preserves (about 1 1/4 cups)
8 dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
Crust
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 packed cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 egg whites, at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 9X13 metal baking dish with cooking spray.  Line dish with parchment paper and spray again (on paper).  Set aside

In a small bowl, combine apricot preserves and dried apricots.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Once combined stir in oats and nuts.  Mix in the butter, egg and vanilla, stirring until incorporated.

Using a fork or clean fingers, lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the pan. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake until light golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yields 24 servings

Nutrition per serving: 227.8 calories, 11.6g fat, 5.2g saturated fats, 20.7mg cholesterol, 86.7mg sodium, 37.4g carbohydrate, 2.4g fiber, 23.6g sugar, 2.6g protein

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