— Ronna Ballister, Altadena
Sweet tart oat nut bars
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus cooling time for the bars
Servings: Makes about 4 dozen bars.
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Ronna Ballister.
12 ounces (about 2 cups) pitted prunes, chopped
2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, or in a blender, pulse the prunes and orange juice until almost smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in the nuts.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and honey. Beat in the egg, then the salt, baking soda and wheat germ (if using). Slowly beat in the flour and oats until evenly combined.
4. Spread a scant half of the oat mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with the prune mixture, spreading it evenly to within one-half inch of the edges of the pan. Crumble the remaining batter over the top of the prune layer and pat down gently.
5. Bake the bars until browned and the top springs back when touched, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the pan on a wire rack, then cut into bars.
Each of 4 dozen bars: 96 calories; 1 gram protein; 15 carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 54 mg sodium.