Even the first family can appreciate how delicious vegan snacks can be.  Enjoy these fruit and nut bars for breakfast or as a snack with coffee or tea, courtesy of the White House pastry chef (my adaptations are in parentheses.)

This recipe takes about 50 minutes to prepare, from start to finish, plus a little extra time to cool.

6 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil, plus extra for brushing pan


2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame (flax seeds are great too!)

1/2 cup honey (agave nectar is a great substitute and is less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar)

1/3 cup dark brown sugar (date or turbinado sugar can also be used)

1/3 cup maple syrup  

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit of at least three types, cut into small pieces: raisins, cherries, apricots, papaya, pineapple and cranberries (a little crystalized ginger adds a little zing though kids may not go for it)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, letting a few inches hang over side of pan. Brush with oil.

2. Spread oats and seeds on another baking pan and toast in oven just until golden and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes, shaking pan once.

3. In a saucepan, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt. Stir over medium heat until smooth and hot. In a mixing bowl, toss together toasted oats and seeds, dried fruit and cardamom. Pour hot sugar mixture over and stir until well combined.

4. While mixture is warm, transfer to prepared pan, pressing into pan evenly with an offset spatula.

5. Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Using the overhanging foil or paper, lift out of pan and place on a work surface. Cut into bars, about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches.

Yield: 2 dozen bars.

A version of this recipe, adapted by Bill Yosses, White House Pastry Chef, appeared in print on May 12, 2010, on page D7 of the NY Times National edition.
 

Veg and the City