Almond Harvest Bars
1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, mangos, cranberries, etc.)
3⁄4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1⁄2 tsp almond extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1⁄4 cup wheat germ
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9 x 9-in. baking pan with nonstick foil (let the foil extend about 2 in. above pan at both ends).
Bring 1⁄4 cup water to a boil. Place dried fruit in a bowl; pour boiling water over fruit. Cover and let stand while proceeding with recipe.
In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and almond extract.
With mixer on low speed, beat in flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt just until blended. Stir in oats and 1⁄4 cup of the almonds.
Press 2 cups of the dough into pan.
Squeeze water out of dried fruit. Spread over top of dough.
Crumble/spoon remaining dough over top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp almonds.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Holding foil by ends, lift from pan onto a cutting board. Carefully cut lengthwise in 4 strips and then cut each strip in 6; remove foil.