Like a cross between Rice Krispies Treats and Italian panforte (fruitcake), these bars are based on a recipe from Healthy in a Hurry (Weldon Owen, 2012; $30) by Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira.
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal*
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup whole roasted unsalted or raw almonds
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
About 2 tbsp. butter
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup*
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
How to Make It
Line an 8-in. square pan with foil. Butter foil. In a large bowl, stir together cereal, cherries, almonds, apricots, and chocolate.
Combine 2 tbsp. butter, the sugar, syrup, almond butter, and salt in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Immediately pour bubbling mixture over cereal mixture and stir until well combined.
Press mixture firmly into prepared pan, using lightly buttered hands. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Tip out of pan onto a work surface and peel off foil. Using a sharp buttered knife, quarter mixture and then cut each quarter into 5 bars.
*Find at natural-foods stores and Whole Foods Market.
Make ahead: Up to 1 week, chilled airtight between layers of waxed paper.
Healthy in a Hurry (Weldon Owen, 2012; $30) by Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira.
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