Small cereal bars made with wholesome natural ingredients and a lot less sugar and fat than the commercial variety bars.
3/4 cup dates
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup strawberries
1/3 cup water or juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 cup quick oats
2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat or mixture)
1 tsp baking powder
In a saucepan on medium-high heat, simmer the filling ingredients until the fruit is soft. Blend until smooth and thick with an immersion blender.
While the filling cools, make your dough. Combine butter, applesauce and honey. In another bowl, combine oats, flour and baking powder, then add to wet ingredients until mixture forms a ball of dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes, adding more flour as necessary if it's too sticky. If you're still finding it hard to work with, chill it in the fridge for an hour or so. On a well-floured surface, take half the dough at a time and roll it out into a rectangular shape with about 1/8" thickness. Cut the dough into long strips with about a 3" width. Spread a thin layer of filling down the centre of the strips. Fold the strips over and seal the edges shut. Cut the strips into 3" bars. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet at bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
This was an experiment and I didn't know if it was going to work but I was really happy with the results. I can't wait to try these with some different fillings. I'm thinking maybe apples and cinnamon,or cinnamon, raisins and brown sugar, or even chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless! This particular filling was very nice and it made way more than I needed (so I've adjusted the amounts accordingly above). I've been using the extra filling as a jam on toast and the kids love it. I love that it has no sugar and lots of fibre so it's a lot better for you than regular jam. I just used all-purpose flour for the dough this time because it's all I had at that moment, but I might try it with whole-wheat flour next time to make it more healthy, and maybe add it some flaxseed meal or wheatgerm. It's still a work in progress but a good start. Give them a try and let me know if you have any suggestions. Also, you can try a bigger sized bar, I made them mini so they would be more kid-sized but I think they would work as a larger bar too. Or even take cookie cutters and make some fun shapes with them. Oh boy, I'm just brimming with ideas today!
***UPDATE: Check out my post Fruit-Filled Cereal Bars, Revisted for a revised dough recipe.