Archive for the ‘Nutty’ Category

Chewy Granola Bars

July 23, 2009

Chewy Cherry Almond Granola BarsI’ve been wanting to make my own snack bars for a very long time and only recently got around to it. I like the Kashi TLC Chewy Granola bars. My favorites are the Honey Almond Flax, and the Peanut – Peanut Butter, but the Cherry Dark Chocolate are excellent as well. The trouble is that they aren’t inexpensive. I kept thinking I should be able to come up with something similar and less expensive.

These bars are my first attempt. Both my husband and I like these bars better than the Kashi Bars even though they’re substantially different. I haven’t run the numbers but my gut feeling is that they’re not any less expensive. Still they’re an excellent snack, and they store well. I cut these up into bars and then individually wrapped them and stored them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When I need to take a snack with me I can just pop one in my purse and by them time I need to eat it, the bar has come to room temperature and is perfect for a pick me up. If you’re going to share them with a crowd, or you’re going to eat them more quickly you could skip the wrapping and refrigerating.

This is a variation on the recipe for Big Sur Power Bars from 101 Cookbooks, and the Power Bar recipe on page 47 in Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Cooking. In both of those recipes Heidi emphasizes using crisp brown rice cereal. I really like this choice, but despite her wise words I’m tempted to try some of the Kashi cereal next time  in an effort to increase the amount of protein in the bars. The following recipe is how I made them. Please refer to 101 Cookbooks, or Super Natural Cooking for original recipes by Heidi Swanson.

Chewy Cherry Almond  Granola Bars

1 T. butter

1 1/4 c. rolled oats

1 1/4 c. almonds, toasted and chopped

1/2 c. ground flax seed

1 1/2 c. unsweetened brown rice cereal

1 c. dried cherries, chopped

2/3 c. unsweetened coconut

1 c. brown rice syrup

1/4. c. sucanat

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1/4 t. almond extract

1/2 t. kosher salt

Grease a 9×13 inch pan with the 1 T. butter.

In a large bowl mix together the oats, nuts, cereal, flax seed, coconut, and cherries. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the rice syrup, sucanat, vanilla and almond extracts. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. The mixture will come to a boil and thicken slightly. This takes about 4 minutes.

Pour this mixture over the cereal and nut mixture and combine until the syrup is evenly distributed.

Spread into the buttered pan and cool completely. After the bars have cooled completely turn them out onto a large cutting board and cut into bars. Wrap each bar individually in waxed paper and store either at room temperature or in the refrigerator depending on how fast you and yours will be eating them.

Super Simple Sticky Buns

June 22, 2009
Super Simple Sticky Buns

Super Simple Sticky Buns

PJ Hamel from King Arthur Flour recently wrote about these rolls on the Baker’s Banter blog. As soon as I read her entry I knew I would have to make these sooner rather than later. I believe the recipe was inspired by one  in the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Last winter I made numerous loaves of bread from the book, but I haven’t tried any of the sweeter breads from there until now.

This recipe is “ridiculously” simple to make. I didn’t have any of the Sticky Bun Sugar, or Baker’s Cinnamon Sugar so I made the substitutions suggested in the recipe. You’ll find the recipe here. PJ’s blog entry about how to make them is here. You’ll also notice she recorded a You Tube video about making them.

You can  mix these up with a big spoon and a 6 quart container. No kneading. No kidding. I chose to leave my pecans in halves instead of chopping them. I knew that not everyone would want the nuts and they would be easier to pick off that way and share. I recommend only making what you’ll serve warm. We all agreed that they’re excellent warm out of the oven, but I didn’t like the texture of the topping when I reheated one to eat the next day. I will definitely make these again, and my 19 year old son wondered if he could make them on his own in his new apartment. The answer is, definitely! Go for it!!

I have more dough in the fridge that I could use to make challah bread, more sticky buns, or I might see what I think of regular cinnamon rolls out of the dough. They are so good and so easy! I might not ever make sticky buns the ‘hard’ way again. Thanks to PJ from King Arthur Flour, and Jeff and Zöe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful….

December 14, 2008
Cranberry Crunch Cookies

Cranberry Crunch Cookies

We bake!! We’re in the midst of a snowstorm as I type this. What does one do during a snowstorm? Bake, read or quilt, or course! The house smells wonderful right now thanks to this delicious recipe http://oatmealcookie.typepad.com/the_oatmeal_cookie_blog/2008/10/cranberry-crunch-cookies.html from the Oatmeal Cookie Guy. He won a contest with this recipe and it’s easy to understand why. Even though I had to make some substitutions and use ingredients on hand these are clearly winners. They are crunchy and full of flavor from the dried cranberries, orange zest, nuts and vanilla. My substitutions included toasted pecans for the almonds and plain white sugar instead of the Turbinado sugar.
As the wind howls and the snow flies I’m grateful for my warm, wonderful smelling home!

While the wind howls, the snow flies, and the temperature plummets, this little woodpecker waits patiently between gusts for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.

Cranberry Caramel Bars!

December 11, 2008

cranberry-caramel-bars-007This recipe is from The Gourmet Cookbook. I’ve wanted to make it ever since I first saw it, but for one reason or another it hasn’t happened until now, and am so I sorry I didn’t jump on these sooner.  These were a big hit at the potluck I went to today. Everyone wanted the recipe which is always a good sign. The tart cranberries, the sweet “caramel”, and the crunchy pecans layered on a shortbread crust make for a great combination and a great contribution to a holiday cookie tray. I didn’t bother with the drizzle of chocolate. After tasting them, I felt it simply wasn’t needed, but if you want to dress them up a bit feel free to drizzle with a bit of bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate or both. I will definitely make these again.

cranberry-caramel-bars-008

The recipe is also called Cranberry Turtle Bars and can be found at the following link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cranberry-Turtle-Bars-105743


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