Date and Nut Energy Bars

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Ingredients

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup whole dates, halved and pitted
1 cup nuts (any combination of cashews, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios)
1/2-cup dried fruit (like apricots or cherries)
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/4-cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4-cup raw sunflower or chia seeds

Optional:
Cinnamon to taste 
¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Pour juice over dates and let soak 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place nuts and dried fruit in a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add salt, cinnamon if using, and dates with juice and pulse until mixture starts to stick together. Add seeds, pulsing a few times just to incorporate.

3. Using wet hands, scoop mixture onto a work surface and form into a log about 1 3/4 in. wide and 1/2 in. thick. Use your palms to flatten into a bar, and cut bar into 8 equal bars or 16 equal squares. *Option: Roll in unsweetened coconut before baking to reduce stickiness.

4. Arrange pieces about 1 in. apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Using a spatula, turn bars over and bake another 8 minutes, or until nuts are toasted (but before fruit begins to burn). Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or in refrigerator up to 10 days.

Yield: 8 bars

Nutritional analysis per bar:
CALORIES 210 (56% from fat); FAT 13g (sat 1.4g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CARBOHYDRATE 22g; SODIUM 76mg; PROTEIN 6g; FIBER 3.5g
1/8 cup of Deglet Noor dates contains 964 milligrams of potassium, or 20.5 percent of the RDI.

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