All families have favourite recipes they like to cook & eat, with Mother’s Day coming up, we wanted to feature a ‘Mummy Special’ from our family! My Mum adores these Apricot, Date and Walnut Layer Bars. They have a delicious sweet sticky middle layer of dates and apricots while the main part of the bar is made from walnuts, oats and chia seeds, giving a lovely crunch and crumble. These yummy bars are perfect for snacking or an after lunch treat. packed full of protein from the nuts and chia seeds!
These Apricot, Date and Walnut Layer bars have 3 layers – the top and bottom mainly feature oats and walnuts, and in the middle are the apricots and dates. For the middle layer I originally used just dates. Then one day I realised I didn’t have enough dates in my cupboard, so I had to use half apricots. I love these moments, as although they don’t seem ideal at the time, they can lead you to a better recipe. I much prefer the mix of dates and apricots in the these bars, as they have slightly different textures (the dates melt more and the apricots still have a little bit of wholeness), the colour from the apricots brightens up the bar, and it gives another slight tangy sweet flavour. Essentially, you could use any dried fruit you like here. – sultanas, raisins, prunes, pineapple…. Oooooh I’m giving myself ideas now!!!
For the oaty, walnuty top and bottom layers, again, you can choose what you use depending on what you like. If you want to go nut free, don’t include walnuts, and just add more oats instead. Alternatively, use a different nut, like pecans – whatever you like best! For the sugar for this layer, it works great with raw brown sugar or coconut palm sugar, giving it a more caramlised taste. This will make it (slightly) more healthy than refined caster sugar. However, any kind of sugar will work for this recipe. I’ve chosen to use wholemeal flour as it gives a nicer earthy taste, which is great with a nutty bar like this. However, if you only have regular flour, that will work just fine too.
The oaty, walnut layer is held together with oil and chia seeds. You can use a dairy free butter instead of oil if you want. The chia seeds are great for adding extra protein and really help with the crunch of the bars. Linseed will work ok if you don’t have chia seeds, but it won’t quite have the same crunch. I experimented using chia seeds so it didn’t just rely on fat to hold it together. The chia seeds add crunch and extra protein.
What’s also great about these bars is that they can be frozen and just whipped out and put in your bag for a snack later in the day. They look very decadent all piled up in slices, so they make the perfect Mother’s Day baked gift! We like to eat these Apricot, Date and Walnut Layer Bars with a hot drink. Turmeric Latte goes particularly well!
These Apricot, Date and Walnut Layer Bars have a delicious sweet sticky middle layer of dates and apricots, and the main part of the bar made from walnuts, oats and chia seeds, giving a lovely crunch and crumble. Perfect for snacking and an after lunch treat, and also packed full of protein from the nuts and chia seeds!
- 210 g dried dates, chopped
- 210 g dried apricots, chopped
- 8 tbsp water
- Rind of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 275 g Wholemeal plain flour
- 110 g walnuts, chopped
- 130 g porridge oats
- 85 g raw brown sugar / coconut palm sugar
- 60 g milled chia seeds mixed with 125ml water
- 240 ml vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a brownie tin or baking tray with a little oil (you don’t need to line it with any baking parchment).
Place the dates, apricots, water and lemon rind in a pan, and place on a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat for around 10 minutes, stirring continuously, or until the fruit has melted into a sort of paste (but with a few chunks of fruit). Once done, set aside.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, walnuts, sugar and oats. Then add the chia seeds with water and the oil. Mix well.
Place half of the mixture in the baking tray and spread evenly as a first layer. Press it down with your hands so it is nice and compact.
Take the date and apricot paste and place spread all of it across the first layer. It is much easier to take small teaspoons of the dates and apricots and dot them all over the first layer. Then gently start to spread them out until there is an almost even layer of the fruit paste.
Then take the other half of the walnut and porridge mix and spread it across the fruit paste layer. Press it down with your hands again so it is nice and compact.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top has browned a little.
Once baked, leave to cool completely. If you slice and take it out when warm it will crumble a lot.
Once cool, cut into slices in the tin, then remove slices from the tin. A good palate knife / fish slice will be helpful for getting them out. Then enjoy!