#PieDay & #NationalEataRedAppleDay: Apple Pie Date Bars!

Apple Pie Date Bars

Simple, 8-ingredient apple pie bars sweetened with dates, cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup. These entirely vegan, gluten-free bars make the perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast seriously reminiscent of Apple Pie Larabars.

• 1 small apple, cored, peeled and chopped (sweet or tart is fine)
• 1 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
• 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
• 13-14 dates (2/3 cup packed), pitted*
• 1 cup raw or roasted almonds
• 1 cup raw or roasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
2. Place chopped apple on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and a healthy pinch sea salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, grind nuts into a meal – a few chunkier pieces are OK. Then add dates and pulse until a loose dough is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
4. Give the baked apples another chop with a sharp knife so the pieces aren’t so large. Slowly add apples a few Tbsp at a time until the mixture forms a moist dough. If your mixture got too wet, simply add more ground walnuts, almonds, or even a handful oats. Reserve leftover apples for other use (oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, etc.)
5. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined loaf pan and spread evenly with a spoon or spatula. Top with plastic wrap and use fingers to press it firmly into all corners until uniformly flat on top. For extra thickness, cram the mixture into 3/4 of the pan and reserve a blank space. This will make less bars, but they will be much thicker. Cover and freeze to set.
6. Chop into desired number of bars – anywhere from 4-8.
7. To store, pack in a bag or container and place a piece of parchment between each bar so they don’t stick together. l keep mine in the freezer to stay fresher longer, but the refrigerator is fine, too.
8. If you’re traveling, they should be fine for a day or so. But keep them refrigerated or frozen otherwise.

*If your dates have gone dry, soak in warm water 10 minutes then thoroughly drain.

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