Royal Energy Bars

These nutritious all-natural energy bars are packed with fibre, protein and essential fatty acids. Ideal for a breakfast on the go or an anytime snack. Their convenience and delicious flavour will be a royal hit with kids and adults alike.

3 large Red Prince apples, skin on, cored and diced into 1/4-inch (5 mm) cubes
3/4 cup (175 mL) rolled oats
3/4 cup (175 mL) sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup (175 mL) sunflower seeds
3/4 cup (175 mL) pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup (175 mL) puffed rice or cereal flakes
1 cup (250 mL) Medjool dates, about 15
1/2 cup (125 mL) sunflower butter

Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C).

Spread apples on parchment lined baking sheet (or use food dehydrator and follow manufacturer instructions). Bake for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until apples have achieved the consistency of raisins. Let cool.

In large bowl combine oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and cereal. Set aside.
Remove seeds from dates and chop into small pieces. Add dates and sunflower butter to oat mixture and work thoroughly together with hands until well combined and mixture holds its shape when squeezed. Mix in dried apples.

Line an 8 X 11 inch (20 cm X 28 cm) baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with apple mixture, pressing firmly to compact.

Refrigerate for 1 hour, remove from baking dish and slice into 16 pieces. Wrap each piece with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Makes 16 pieces.

Chef’s notes: This is a nut free recipe but can also be made with assorted chopped nuts if desired. Almond, cashew or peanut butter can also be substituted for sunflower butter. For a variation try adding 2 tbsp (30 ml) of candied ginger, cinnamon and orange zest. Three quarters of a cup (175 ml) of dark chocolate chips may substitute any ingredient of equal measurement. Up to 1/3 cup (75 ml) of sesame, flax or hemp seeds may also be added for extra crunch and essential fatty acids.

PER SERVING (1 piece): 218 calories, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates, 3 g fibre, 6 g protein. % RDI: 2% calcium, 15% iron, 0% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C.