The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Posts Tagged ‘baking

The Best Wheat Free Granola Bars, ever!

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Wheat Free Granola Bars

Going to school full time and working at a school makes meal planning difficult. Commuting to and from school for graduate school and student teaching makes meal planning essential. I always make my lunch in the morning or the night before. I don’t have time to leave school for a quick fix meal on the go during lunch time, so packing good food is important. I’ve noticed that on days that I go running, that my energy is pretty low after a full day of student teaching.

Have you guys seen the price of wheat free products? They’re ridiculous! Seriously, I can’t rationalize (or afford) paying seven dollars for a box of lame bars or cereal. I’m stubborn and I love whole foods. Which means that my life is a little more difficult, but often a lot more delicious.

I think these little granola bars are the perfect after school snack for days when I’m training for my first 10K run. I’m happy to report that this last week I was doing four mile runs!

My inspiration for these bars came from a recipe via All Recipes that I modified to suit my tastes and wheat free ways.

Don’t forget to cut these bad boys after letting them sit for a couple of minutes! If you don’t cut them into long rectangles, they’ll turn into one giant rad granola bar of goodness.

Ingredients:
– 2 cups rolled oats
– 1/2 cup of maple syrup
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 1/2 cup of apple sauce
– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon of allspice
– 1 teaspoon of nutmet
– 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour
– 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
– 1/4 cup of dried apricots, diced
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
– 1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
– 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
– 1 egg, beaten
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

– Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I used olive oil to grease my pan).

– In a large bowl, mix together the oats, spices, gluten free flour, raisins, apricots, pecans, walnuts and salt.

– Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients: pour in the maple syrup, apple sauce, beaten egg, oil and vanilla.

– Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

– Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.

– Cool for 2 – 4 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm.

– Don’t let these bad boys cool to much before cutting.

Variations on a theme & serving suggestions: These granola bars are versatile, allowing for different ingredients. Imagine if you will peanut butter & chocolate chip granola bars, dried cherry & almond granola bars, or banana & walnut granola bars. All totally possible by tweaking a few things with this recipe.

These bars are so decadent you could serve them as a desert with a little scoop of sorbet or ice cream. Instant win!

Happy Eating!

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Baked Apple Crumble

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apple crumble

My friend Heather came over yesterday for tea and I wanted to fix something sweet that would bake quickly. Miss Heather is one of my favorite folks in town, and I don’t get to spend enough time with her. In fact, she hadn’t even met our dog Dolly yet. So it was a special kind of tea and get together. I had a few organic apples that needed to be used and a few other things in my pantry.

I wanted the flavor of an apple pie or a crumble without the crust or an over sugared crumbled topping. I was pleased with the results, might even use a little less agave nectar in my next run at this recipe. I was happy to share this dessert and an afternoon with my good friend, Heather. This makes about 6-9 small to medium portions, a perfect throw together dessert.

Ingredients:
– 3 apples, small dice
– 1/4 cup of almonds, processed in a food processor for around 10 seconds, or cut finely
– 1/4 cup of oatmeal
– 1/4 cup of half & half
– 1/4 cup of raisins
– 1/4 cup of agave nectar
– 1 teaspoon of corn meal
– 1 Tablespoon of butter, cut into tiny cubes
– pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

Instructions:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– grease an 8*8 pan
– wash and finely dice apples
– drizzle agave nectar, half & half, spices, raisins, and salt over apple dice
– mix apples, sweetener, and spices well
– put apples into 8*8 pan
– use half of the tablespoon of tiny diced butter to top apples
– pulse almonds in food processor for around 10 seconds
– cover apple mixture with dry ingredients in this order: almonds, oatmeal, cornmeal
– use the other half of the tablespoon of butter to dot the top of crumble
– bake for 20 minutes

Serving suggestion:
Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a 1/4 cup of yogurt. Enjoy as an after dinner dessert, with a cup of tea, or with yogurt for a delicious breakfast.


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Written by Patrice Helmar

January 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Jacques Pépin’s Bread

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baguette & round

The simple things in life that we take for granted can be the most tricky to make. The ingredients and concept are easy enough, but bread baking can be a difficult task. The recent popularity of no-knead bread recipes, like this one from the NY Times, have achieved almost a cult like following. I’ll admit that I drank the grape kool-aid and it was simple and delicious. I’ll even drink the grape kool-aid again, no-knead bread is amazing. There are times though, when it feels good to put a little extra work and craft into a loaf of bread. I honestly believe that tried and true kneading can really pay off. This is apparent in a Jacques Pépin recipe, from his celebrated book La Technique, an illustrated culinary masterwork.

A standing mixer does the bulk of the work for you in Pépin’s recipe, leaving only about 8-11 minutes of intensive kneading. A small price to pay for 3 incredible baguettes or rounds, or any combination of the two. I started this process Sunday morning, by the evening had finished the process, and will be enjoying home-baked bread all week-long. I built a simple baguette rising contraption based on a photograph from Pépin’s book, which consists of: a small square piece of plywood, 3 1*1″ pieces of wood, and a lightly floured kitchen towel. This MacGyvered device was essential for the second rise and molding of my precious baguettes. A large bowl with a splash of olive oil worked sufficiently for both rises of my rounded loaf.

baguette device

Makes 3 loaves, baguettes or rounds.

Ingredients:
– 9 cups of all-purpose flour
– 6 Tbsp & 3/4 tsp yeast
– 3 1/2 cups of water (about 80 degrees)
– 1 Tbsp salt


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Instructions :

Written by Patrice Helmar

January 17, 2011 at 8:33 am

Grandma Pat’s Chocolate Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies

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Close up Oatmeal Cookie

My mom would make these cookies for our family for dessert on special nights. We loved it when mom would tell stories about grandma Pat making them for her nine kids. There are a few favorite recipes in my mom’s family that are passed down. They’re usually simple and affordable recipes made popular by an ability to feed a lot of people on not a lot of money. An example being my mom’s potato salad, a dish so delicious it could sway a vote or sail a ship.

The process of stirring melting butter, sugar, and cocoa on the stove until boiling coupled with the aroma of the ingredients melding into one is satisfying. It reminds me of home and my family. I like to think about my grandma Pat hurriedly making these cookies while some of her kids clung to her pant legs, while others still in diapers pulled things out of cabinets. There was no such thing as an “easy” recipe for a mother with nine children.

I can remember my mom pulling a chair up to the stove and putting a wooden spoon in my little hand, guiding it around the pot carefully, making sure the sugar didn’t burn so I could learn how to make these cookies. I think that’s why they’re the best cookies ever.

I made this batch for a party and put a little shaved macadamia nut on top and dusted the platter with some cocoa powder to make these cookies look fancy.

Cookies

Ingredients:
– 1 cup of sugar
– 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder
– 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
– 1/4 cup of milk
– 1 tsp of vanilla
– 2 cups of rolled oats
– (optional) 3-4 macadamia nuts, very finely cut for topping
– (optional) 1 Tbsp cocoa powder for dusting a platter

Instructions:
– Mix sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk in a sauce pan until boiling over medium
heat for 1 minute.
– Take off stove and fold in the oats and vanilla in a large bowl.
– Using a spoon, drop cookies on wax paper, or a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
– If desired add shaved macadamia nuts and dust with cocoa powder
– Refrigerate for one to two hours, until hardened, if you can wait that long.

Makes about a baker’s dozen.


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Steve’s Morning Glory Granola

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The most beautiful granola, ever.

This year for Christmas my friend Steve gave me homemade granola. I savored the granola each morning for breakfast with a little yogurt, honey, and some fresh fruit. Honestly, it was one of my favorite gifts this year, from one of my favorite people in Juneau. When my stash of Steve’s granola ran out I set upon making my own healthy blend without refined sugar and only a little oil. Many of the granolas available on the market are full of fat and sugar and are ridiculously priced. Organic rolled oats are cheap when bought in bulk, puffed rice is affordable, and dried fruit is easy enough to find.

Do yourself a favor and make this delicious cereal the way you want it. I didn’t find puffed rice in town until after I’d made my first batch. I’ll probably add a cup of puffed rice to my next granola attempt. If you’re having a hard time finding it in Juneau, check out the Foodland hippie aisle: look on the bottom row of the cereal section.

Feel free to add your favorite ingredients, use brown sugar instead of honey, throw in a little dried coconut, your favorite nuts, and mix the dried fruit up a bit. I made my version of the cereal based on my tastes and it was great, for me. I’ll admit that my granola wasn’t as good as Steve’s special blend. My version does have a depth and a spice of its own, much to the credit of chopped almonds and an addition of dutch cocoa powder.

Ingredients:
– 4 cups of rolled oats
– 1/2 cup of chopped almonds
– 1/2 cup of dried apricots
– 1/2 cup of raisins
– 1/2 cup of honey
– 1/2 cup of applesauce
– 1 Tbs canola oil
– 1 Tbs cinammon
– 1 Tbs dutch cococa powder
– 1 tsp each of allspice, nutmeg, clove
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
– Preheat the oven to 350
– Mix the oats and chopped almonds with spices & dutch cocoa in a large bowl.
– Make sure your honey is warm enough to mix together with your oil.
– Mix oil and honey in a small bowl with a fork.
– Integrate oil & honey mix into the oat mixture.
– Stir with a wooden spoon, until oats and nuts are coated.
– Pour onto a 13 X 18 X 1″ sheet pan or a large Pyrex.
– Bake for 45 minutes, making sure to stir the mixture every 5- 10 minutes.
– After 45 minutes, take granola from the oven to cool.
– Add the dried apricots and raisins. mixing well.
– Keep your amazing granola in an airtight container.

Serving suggestion:
Add 1/4 cup of granola to a 1/2 cup of low-fat plain or Greek yogurt, top with a tiny drizzle of honey, and a chopped banana for a perfect breakfast.

– 1/4 cup is 2 WW points.


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Easy Granola on Foodista

Matty’s Banana Bread

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Banana Bread

A banana bread without refined sugar or oil? Is it possible to make such a bread without it being a rock hard device of hippie terror? We had a couple of bananas on their way out that needed to be made into something delicious. After some research online and in our modest cookbook collection, Matt went to work and came out with a banana bread worthy of praise: moist, hearty, delicious with a little butter added to a slice. The perfect loaf for an easy Sunday afternoon, even better with a nice cup of coffee.

Makes about 14 servings, depending on desired thickness of slices.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup applesauce, without added sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp baking soda

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 325
– Beat the applesauce and honey together using a stand mixer on low speed, until integrated
– Add the eggs on low speed, don’t over mix
– Add bananas and vanilla
– Add flour, salt, and baking soda
– Add chopped pecans, oats
– Spread batter into a greased 9*5″ bread pan
– Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, insert a toothpick to check for doneness
– Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing

4 WW points per serving.


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Written by Patrice Helmar

January 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm