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Fruit, Nut and Barley Squares

Curb hunger pangs or refuel after a workout with these yummy squares. Boasting a host of nutritious and delicious ingredients, they bake up quickly. Leftover squares can be wrapped individually and tucked into the freezer to grab and munch on the go.

1 cup (250 mL) barley flakes
1/4 cup (60 mL) whole barley flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) ground flaxseed
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped raw almonds
1 large ripe banana
2 eggs
1/3 cup (75 mL) maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, place barley flakes, barley flour, flaxseed, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Stir well. Add dates, apricots, cranberries, sunflower seeds and almonds. Stir well to combine.

In a small bowl, mash banana until smooth. Whisk in eggs and maple syrup. Add to dry ingredients, and stir well to combine.

Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. Bake in until surface of squares loses its shiny appearance and feels firm to the touch, about 16 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing into squares.

Makes 24 squares (2 x 2 inches).

Nutritional Information (per small square):

Calories: 95 g
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrate: 16 g
Fibre: 2 g
Sugars: 9 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 16 mg
Sodium: 7 mg
Potassium: 103 mg


Variations:
• Instead of flaxseed, use wheat germ.
• Switch up the dried fruit as desired, using raisins, prunes, or dried blueberries, cherries or figs instead of some of the fruits listed.
• Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) dark chocolate chips when adding dried fruits and nuts.
• Cut into bar shapes instead of squares.
• Instead of a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish, bake in a 9-inch (23 cm) square pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut into 16 squares.

Nutritional Information (per large square):

Calories: 143
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 24 g
Fibre: 4 g
Sugars: 13 g
Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 24 mg
Sodium: 11 mg
Potassium: 154 mg