1/2cupchopped dried apricotsgolden raisins, or cherries
Almond Butter ‘Frosting’ (optional)
1/4cupsalted or unsalted almond butter
Mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F°. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil with overhang on two ends; coat generously with cooking spray.
Spread almonds and cereals on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Mix dates, apricots and cacao nibs in a large bowl. Put honey and sugar in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. About a minute before the cereal is done toasting, heat honey and sugar in microwave for 30 seconds until bubbly, stir and heat again just until sugar melts, about 15 seconds. Watch carefully that honey doesn’t boil over.
Pour hot toasted almonds and cereal over the dried fruit. Immediately drizzle the hot honey mixture over and mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until ingredients are evenly coated. Mixture will look dry. Turn into prepared pan and pat down very firmly and evenly.
Bake 20 minutes until top is light golden brown. Remove from oven and press top with a silicon spatula or spoon to flatten and firm before cooling. Flattening and cooling is important so the bars hold together when cut. Lift cooled bars out of pan with foil.
To frost, stir together almond butter and coconut oil. Spread over top before cutting. Top with mini chocolate chips and sliced almonds if desired. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, 1-2 hours. Cut into bars with a sharp knife.
Note: Frosted bars must be stored in the refrigerator for frosting to stay firm. Unfrosted bars can be stored airtight at room temperature.
Kitchen Notes: Puffed Rice Cereal can be Rice Krispies, or Rice Puffs such as Nature's Path brand. Just be sure they are unsweetened. Quinoa Flakes are a little lighter in texture than quick oats which also work fine. I get Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes at Whole Foods. Cacao Nibs can be found at Whole Foods. I usually buy the Divine Organics brand.