Apple and seed flapjacks
Makes 16 or so depending on how you cut them
• 3 dessert apples
• 400ml 100% pressed apple juice
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or to taste
• 2cm piece fresh root ginger, grated
• 250g whole rolled oats
• 200g sunflower/pumpkin seeds
• 160g raisins
• a couple of dessertspoons desiccated coconut (optional)
Slice and core the apple, but leave the skin on for a good source of pectin. Place the apples in a pan with the juice and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Puree in a food processor or with a hand-held mixer.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line the base of a 22cm cake tin with baking paper. Or use an unlined, ungreased, Pyrex or ceramic square casserole dish. They don't stick and burn to this.
Stir the grated ginger, cinnamon, oats, sunflower seeds and raisins into the apple puree and mix well, then tip it into the tin and spread out evenly.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until firm and golden brown. Cool slightly, cut into wedges then leave the flapjacks to cool completely in the tin.
So no sugar and no butter flapjacks. No fun to eat? Correction - great fun to eat!! I was pleasantly surprised at how well the apple puree mixture held everything together. If you're into gooey flapjacks, these should go down a treat. I (and my guinea pigs found at a friend's birthday party) found them sweet enough, but if you really can't resist making them sweeter then add a little agave nectar or a squeeze of honey.
And the nutritional benefits of these healthy snacks? Well, no refined sugar and no butter means your blood sugars and your waistline might be grateful. The combination of soluble fibre from the oats and the apples is great for your digestive tract and also for your energy, providing you with slow-releasing carbohydrates to encourage fat-burning rather than storing. The added protein from the seeds contributes to the slower energy release too, as well as the seeds providing vital minerals such as magnesium for stress and constipation, zinc for the immune system and of course B vitamins for energy production. They are also a good source of essential fats.
Apples are also rich in polyphenols which are great for your immune system and pectin which is beneficial for digestion and may help create a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Ginger and cinnamon both have anti-inflammatory properties and cinnamon may also help modulate the insulin response and keep your blood sugars happy.
Quick, easy and healthy! A great addition to a lunch box, a pre-sport snack. I've been having some with natural yoghurt and a few extra chia seeds for breakfasts this week. Yummm!!