Sugar-free Apple Cookie Bars

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I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible time finding wholesome, healthy packaged snacks to send to school with my kids.  The go-tos like granola bars and goldfish are absolutely loaded with sugar and sodium (not to mention other ingredients that I can’t even pronounce).

When I received a lovely box full of apples from B.C. Tree Fruits, it came along with a calendar/recipe book.  In it was  a recipe for Monster Cookies, which I have modified here to make cookie bars, that I would be comfortable sending to school with my child.  This version contains nuts, which could easily be omitted as most schools do have a no nut policy.

Sugar-free Apple Cookie Bars

(yield aprox. 24 x 1 inch square bars)

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Ingredients

2 large apples cored and diced (skin on)
1/4 cup flax
1/4 cup water or pure apple juice
1/4 cup almonds
3 dates
1 tbs. chia seed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic honey
1 banana mashed
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup flour (could substitute rice or coconut flour for gluten free option)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

Chop apples into 1/4 inch cubes (skin on)

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Heat juice or water, flax seed, and apples in a saucepan on medium for 10 minutes, constantly stirring.  This will soften the flax and “set” the apples so that they won’t fall apart.  Set aside to cool.

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In a food processor or blender (I have a Nurtibullet) pulse together chia, almonds and dates.

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In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, mashed banana and extract together. Beat in melted butter and chia/date/almond mixture.

In another bowl, mix flour, oats, salt, spices, baking soda and baking powder.

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Toss in apples/flax until coated, then add egg/banana/butter mixture until dough comes together.  Fold in raisins.

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Preheat oven to 375 deg F.  Grease an 11″x15″ cookies sheet or baking dish with butter or cooking spray.  Use your hands to evenly spread the dough around the dish.

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Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.

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Bake for 18-25 minutes, until centre is set and edges are just beginning to brown.

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Remove dish from oven and set aside to cool.  Cut into 1 inch square bars.

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