Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with foil or parchment; spray again. Put apricots and water in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high until water is bubbling, about 1 minute. Stir well to ensure apricots evenly absorb water and soften while they cool.
Meanwhile, combine honey, oil and sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add oats, pine nuts, cardamom and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until oats and pine nuts are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and fold in apricots and any remaining liquid and ground flaxseed until evenly distributed. Immediately transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Using a spatula, press mixture firmly and evenly into pan.
Let mixture cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift bars out of pan using sides of foil or parchment. Cut in half, then cut into eighths crosswise to form 16 bars.