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These bars are well tried and tested now and they are a big hit with kids and grown ups alike. Great for packet lunches or an after school snack, a good energy bar on a country walk or even for breakfast with a smoothie. They have a soft chewy texture and cut nicely into bars. Completely devoid of any kind of added sweetener, the dried apricots alone give them all the sweetness they need, they’re gluten and grain free, and vegan!

Coconut oil is in the media a lot at the moment as it’s health giving properties are hailed, but the coconut as a whole has been a staple in many cultures around the world for thousands of years, used as food and medicinally. It is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. To name just a few, it’s benefits include anti viral and anti bacterial properties, boosts energy and endurance, low GI, reduces inflammation at cellular level, supports immune function and improves digestion. Coconut is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.

I love dried apricots, they give this recipe a lovely fruity flavour and provide a great source of calcium and magnesium both extremely important nutrients for bone health, as well as being high in vitamin A from beta-carotenes necessary for eye health.

Ground almonds are a great alternative to standard flour in many recipes, they are high in protein and help stabilise blood sugar levels, while the flax ‘egg’ I use in this recipe provides a good source of fibre.

I have included a photograph of the ingredients here because many people don’t realise that dried apricots should be brown not bright orange. The bright orange is achieved through the addition of sulphur dioxide or sulfites which some people may have an adverse reaction to, in particular asthma sufferers. Certified organic dried apricots don’t contain preservatives, and I would always recommend using organic produce wherever possible.

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Ingredients:
200g dried apricots
75g unsweetened desicated coconut
150g ground almonds
1 heaped tbsp milled flaxseed
2-3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Makes approx 12 bars.

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Instructions:

Heat the oven at 180 degrees C (gas mark 4) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Firstly make your flax ‘egg’ by mixing the ground flaxseed with the water (add 2 tbsp water first but if all the water is absorbed add a little more water to an eggy consistency)

In a food processor blend the soft dried apricots and coconut until the apricots are blended well. As I only have a small hand held food processor, I transfer the coconut & apricot mixtureinto a bowl together with the rest of the ingredients and mix with my hands until it comes together to a dough like consistency. If you do have a food processor you can now add the rest of the ingredients in and pulse until well combined.

Press the batter onto the prepared baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 min, until firm to touch.

Let it cool on the baking tray then cut into bars and wrap individually in parchment paper making them easy to quickly pop into a lunch box. Store in an airtight container. apricot-coconut-bars-5 apricot-coconut-bars-6 apricot-coconut-bars-7

The basis of this recipe is taken from ‘The Gluten Free Almond Flour cookbook’ by Elena Amsterdam, slightly tweeked and modified to make it vegan.

Resources and further reading:
http://elanaspantry.com/
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/”>http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3