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)
2 large apples cored and diced (skin on)
1/4 cup flax
1/4 cup water or pure apple juice
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbs. chia seed
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)
Chop apples into 1/4 inch cubes (skin on)
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.
In a food processor or blender (I have a Nurtibullet) pulse together chia, almonds and dates.
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.
Toss in apples/flax until coated, then add egg/banana/butter mixture until dough comes together. Fold in raisins.
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.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
Bake for 18-25 minutes, until centre is set and edges are just beginning to brown.
Remove dish from oven and set aside to cool. Cut into 1 inch square bars.