By Cathe Olson
These easy, vegan bars are full of fiber and nutrients. They can be made without wheat too.
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup almonds or walnuts
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat, barley, or brown rice flour
1/2 cup flavorless oil (grapeseed, safflower, etc.)
3 tablespoons maple or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup water
Place dates and cranberries in heatproof bowl. Pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Let sit 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Place nuts and oats in food processor and grind to a coarse meal. Add flour and pulse to mix. Drizzle oil, sweetener, and water over top. Mix until combined. Dough should be slightly crumbly but hold together when pressed in your hand. Add more water if too dry. Add flour if too sticky. Press 2/3 to 3/4 of dough into bottom of prepared pan to form a crust about 1/4-inch thick.
Remove remaining dough to a bowl and reserve for topping. Place date/cranberry mixture with water into food processor and puree. Spread date filling over bottom crust. Sprinkle remaining dough over top and press into date filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until edges are golden. Cool before cutting into squares. Yield: 24 bars