The Best Apricot and Coconut Bars

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When I started eating this way, one of the hardest things was avoiding highly processed foods long enough until healthy foods appeared.  That is why I absolutely love these apricot coconut bars!  They are my favorite snack to have around the house or when I’m traveling and would like to avoid airplane food for as long as possible.  They are the perfect afternoon snack that provides such a lovely energy boost!  Since they are packed with plant protein, fiber, and vitamins, they provide a sustained energy without bringing on the sluggish feeling that comes from a massive sugar crash from store bought ‘health’ bars. 

These bars have such a delicious combination of flavors coming from the sweet apricot and bananas, layered into the crispy coconut shreds.  I love the sweet apricots and almonds especially when they are coated in a delicious honey, banana puree!  The puree is what makes the bars special.  It is so simple and gives the most delicious sweet subtle after-note!  Whenever I make this I get sidetracked and pull tablespoons of the puree out to snack on.  It really is delicious on its own or as a topping on desserts, cakes or coconut yogurt ice cream. 

One of the main ingredients in the bar is buckwheat.  Despite its name, it is a highly nutritious grain! It’s a mild flavored and inexpensive gluten-free superfood.  Similar to blueberries, buckwheat is low on the glycemic index (G.I.), providing stable blood sugar levels.  That is why these bars are so great because it is filled with natural sugars, low on the G.I., which inhibits the sluggish feeling that comes after a sugar crash.  It is also a great source of magnesium, which helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.  Buckwheat all around is a wonderful grain that is often underused.  However, when you do get the chance to use it, it is especially delicious in porridges, bars, and chocolate granola!  Enjoy!

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Serves: 12 huge squares

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients for the bars:

- 3 tablespoons chia seeds

- 9 tablespoons water

- 1 cup raw buckwheat

- 1 cup rolled oats

- 1 cup almonds

- 1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup dried apricots

- 3 tablespoons coconut oil

- 4-5 tablespoons honey

- 1 ½ banana

- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

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Instructions:

Start by making the chia seed gel.  Mix the chia seeds with the water and set aside till the chia seeds absorb all the water and expand into a gel like mixture - this is what keeps the bars intact.  In the meantime, roughly chop the almonds and add them to a baking sheet along with the oats and buckwheat.  Place them in the oven to cook for 12 minutes on 320F.  Half way through, at 6 minutes, add the coconut shreds to the same baking sheet and mix to combine all ingredients.  When ready, remove from the oven and let cool as you prepare the sweet honey, banana sauce.

In a small stove pot, heat the honey and coconut oil on low heat until it has melted and combined.  Now simply blend the bananas, along with the chia gel, and sweet honey mixture in the food processor until smooth (a few seconds).  Add more honey if you prefer it on the sweeter side.

In a large bowl, add the roasted oat mixture, the sweet honey and banana sauce, salt, and chopped dried apricots, mix very well.  Line a small baking dish with parchment paper.  Evenly pour the mixture into the dish, pressing down firmly with your fingertips as to keep the oats compact and stuck together.  Increase the heat to 350F and bake for 25 minutes.  Once it is ready, let cool for 15 minutes or so and then slice into large pieces.  Enjoy!