Preparation

To prepare crust: Combine 3/4 cup nuts (or oats), whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated. Whisk egg, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor. Process, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts (or oats). Set aside for the topping.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. To prepare fruit filling & assemble bars: Combine 2 cups dried fruit, cider, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 cups dried fruit and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling. Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1 1/2 hours

Nutrition Advice

Why are healthy snacks important?

Snacks are important for energy and to help you meet your nutrient needs for the day. Snacking is a healthy way to maintain an ideal body weight. This is because snacking will break long fasts between meals and prevent overeating at your next meal. For children who are active and growing, snacks can play a major role in managing kids’ hunger and boosting nutrition. Some of the best snack choices are fresh fruits and vegetables, raisins or other dried fruit, whole-grain cereal and crackers, nuts in small portions, low-fat granola bars, baked chips and rice cakes.