Treat the children to these healthy treats that all feature a much underused and unexpected sweet hero dried fruit - California prunes!
PRUNE ENERGY BOOST BARS
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: makes approx 12 bars
These are similar to flapjacks but have a sticky prune centre and are ideal as an after school pick-me-up or even as a grab and go breakfast bar
225 g California Prunes chopped
2 tbs water
275g plain wholemeal flour
150g porridge oats
4tbs sunflower seeds
½ tsp salt
175g unsalted butter
100g muscovado sugar
2tbs golden syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
Grease and line the bottom of a 18cm (7in) square cake tin with baking parchment.
Place the California Prunes in a food processor or blender with the water. Process until pureed and set aside.
Put the flour, oats, sunflower seeds and salt in a mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and over a low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally, until the butter has melted, then pour into the mixing bowl and stir until everything is combined.
Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin in an even layer then spoon the California Prune purée into the tin and carefully spread it over the oat mixture with a palette knife, until it is completely covered.
Press the remaining oat mixture over the top until the California Prunes are covered. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden on top.
Leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes, then mark into 12 squares, with a sharp knife. Leave to cool in the tin, before removing. They will keep in an airtight container for a week.
PRUNE & OATMEAL MUFFINS
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes 12 muffins
Healthy muffins that are the perfect post-school treat with a glass of milk - especially yummy served warm.
175g California Prunes, pitted
75g wholemeal plain flour
75g plain flour
100g medium oatmeal
3tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g light brown soft sugar
½ tspn vanilla essence
Extra oats for sprinkling on top of muffins
Place paper cases in a deep 12-hole bun tin. Heat the oven to 200C (400F) gas mark 6.
Put the California Prunes into a bowl with the flours, oatmeal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In another bowl beat the butter and sugar together, then add the egg, milk and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.
Quickly mix in the dry ingredients then divide between the paper cases – the mixture will fill them. Sprinkle oat flakes on top of the muffins before baking if desired. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
Cool on a wire rack – best eaten the same day.
PRUNE & CHOCOLATE LOLLIPOP SWIRLS
Cooking time: 90 minutes
Serves: Makes 30 lollipops
These one handed snacks are the ideal brain boost to help them tackle that homework pile - and the chocolate teams so well with the sweetness of the prunes.
1 tsp instant dry yeast
50g white sugar
60ml lukewarm milk
150g all purpose flour
2 oz melted butter
100g California Prunes
50g dark chocolate
2 tbsp butter
30 wooden ice-cream sticks
Make the filling: Place the California Prunes in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain.
Melt butter, add chocolate and stir well. Blend the California Prunes, chocolate, and butter until smooth.
Make the dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. This will take around 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and place in a warm place for 45 minutes to prove.
Divide the dough into 2 parts. Roll each dough section into a rectangle (A4 paper size). Spread each sheet of dough with prune and chocolate paste. Wrap it up into a narrow roll. Cut the roll into 2 cm pieces. Put them on a baking tray.
Heat the oven to 1800C. Put the rolls into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes.
Cut the rolls from the bottom and place an ice cream stick into each.
Why Prunes are great for children's health...
* Fat-free and with natural sugars prunes can help reduce/replace sugar and fats in a recipe – often associated with obesity issues in young children
* Approximately 3 prunes a day contributes to one of your five a day
* Prunes are a rich flavoured, convenient everyday snack and a useful ingredient when reformulating recipes to improve nutritional quality
*Prunes are saturated fat free, with no added sugar and are salt-free
* Prunes are the only natural whole fruit to achieve an authorised health claim in Europe ref digestive health
* Increasing evidence shows prunes may provide benefits far beyond their digestive health benefits and have a beneficial effect over other dried fruits in regards to bone health
* Prunes are a high source of fibre so eating California Prunes daily contributes to normal bowel function as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle
For more information, recipes and stockists visit the California Prune