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Chewy no-bake trail mix bars

By Laura Lea Goldberg

Chewy no-bake trail mix barsIngredients:
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 3/4 cup raw walnuts
• 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup flax meal
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 2/3 cup dried cranberries (sub dried fruit of choice)
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
• 1 packed cup medjool dates, pitted (approx 8 large dates)
• 1/2 cup runny almond or peanut butter (try to use a newly opened jar)
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.    Line 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish with nonstick parchment paper. Place rolled oats and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until it forms a coarse crumble.
You don’t want to make a flour consistency, just break up the oats and walnuts into in little pieces.

2.    Add oat/walnut mixture to a large mixing bowl, along with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax meal, cinnamon, sea salt, cranberries and chocolate.

Whisk to combine.

3.    Add dates to your food processor (no need to clean) and pulse until they form a chunk paste. Add almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla and pulse until it forms a smooth, sticky paste.

4.    Add date mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients—I find it helpful to dampen a spatula to help get it all out of the food processor. Now lightly dampen your hands and use to mix dry and wet ingredients together.
It will seem like there’s too much dry, but keep working it—use a little elbow grease!

5.    Once dough is ready, turn it onto your parchment-lined baking dish. Wash and dampen fingers again, then use damp fingers or a dampened spatula to spread/press into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 1 hour before slicing. Make sure you use a sharp knife. Keep bars tightly sealed in the refrigerator; will keep for 1 week. You can also freeze them for up to two months.
***If you are going to travel with these, I suggest 1) rolling them into balls instead of bars and
2) If you’re going to make them bars, place thin pieces of parchment paper between each.

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