scant 1/2 teaspoon zest from 1/4 of a large orange
2-3tablespoonsorange juice from half a large orange
1/2cupdried apricots, chopped(3 1/4 ounces)
1/2cupprunes, chopped(3 1/4 ounces)
2/3cupsliced almonds, plus a few extra for the top(2 3/4 ounces)
1 1/2cupsquick oats(5 ounces)
2tablespoonsflax seed, ground in a coffee or spice grinder(3/4 ounce)
2tablespoonsoat flour(1/2 ounce)
1/2teaspoonfine sea salt
1/4cupplus 2 tablespoons almond butter(3 ounces)
1/4cupolive oil(1 3/4 ounces)
1/4cuphoney(2 3/4 ounces)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325º. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8" square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Zest the 1/4 of orange into a medium bowl and set aside. Place the chopped apricots and prunes in another medium bowl and set aside. Juice half of the orange into a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over a medium flame, swirling occasionally. Pour the hot juice over the dried fruit and let sit to absorb, tossing once or twice, while you get on with the recipe.
Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, 4-5 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the toasted almonds, oats, ground flax, oat flour, salt and cinnamon.
To the bowl with the orange zest, add the almond butter, olive oil, honey and almond extract and whisk to combine.
Add the almond butter mixture and the dried fruit mixture to the oat mixture and stir until well combined.
Scrape the mixture into the lined baking pan and use moistened fingers to press it firmly and evenly into the pan. Press a few extra sliced almonds into the top if you like. Bake the bars until the top is golden, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely, then use the parchment paper "handles" to remove the bar to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to cut the bar into 12 rectangles.
The bars keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.Since there is such a small amount of flour here, you could probably substitute a gluten-free all-purpose blend if you preferred. And you could swap out the apricots and prunes for just about any dried fruit that is soft and moist - I think figs would be nice, too. If you or your bar-eaters are very sensitive to gluten, be sure to seek out gluten-free oats and oat flour.A good, flavorful honey will make these extra-delicious (I use an amazing blackberry honey that we get in bulk at our co-op).All ounce measurements are by weight.Nutritional values are based on one of twelve bars.