Oatmeal-Fruit Bars Plus a No-Bake “Cookie”

Dried, fruits, nuts, oatmeal and spices are my favorite ingredients for healthful desserts and snacks to satisfy the sweet tooth. You can vary these recipes endlessly by using different fruits and nuts.

Oatmeal Bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup powdered (dry) skim milk

1/2 cup Splenda (or use the sweetener of your choice, to taste)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups applesauce (or use 1 cup of applesauce and 1 cup canned crushed pineapple)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together. Pat into a non-stick 9×13″ baking pan. Bake about 20 minutes, or until a little brown on top. Let cool slightly and cut into bars, then cool completely before removing from the pan.

Yield: about 16 bars

You can make many variations of this basic recipe with other fruits, nuts, and 2 cups of any moist, sweet ingredient such as apple butter, fruit puree and so forth. For another delicious version try:

Mango-Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup powdered (dry) skim milk

1 cup bottled mango sauce (Trader Joe’s brand)

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons buttermilk, milk or yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together. Pat into a non-stick 9×13″ baking pan (spray with Pam or line with foil if desired). Bake about 20 minutes, or until a little brown on top. Let cool slightly and cut into bars, then cool completely before removing from the pan.

Yield: about 16 bars

Fruity Pebbles

3 cups mixed dried fruits

1 cup finely chopped pecans

grated rind of 1 lemon

½ cup toasted wheat germ, plus more for rolling

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons chocolate-orange liqueur (optional)

Chop the fruits in a food processor to blend. (If they are very dry, soak them in some water for several hours or steam them in a countertop steamer for about 15 minutes. Drain.) Combine the fruit mixture with the remaining ingredients. Shape into small (½”) balls and roll in additional toasted wheat germ. If you have extra nuts, you can use finely ground pecans for rolling instead of wheat germ.

Yield: 40-50 small balls

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