Reese’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Reese's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Reese’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Let’s take out some butter to soften up.   Check that your pantry has plenty of flour, sugar and brown sugar.  Oh, and we’re going to need peanut butter, peanut butter in several forms.  Why?  Because today is baking day.

Today we are going to make Peanut Butter Oatmeal bars, and we’re pulling out all the stops with these, incorporating peanut butter-flavored baking chips, peanut butter, and Reese’s Miniature candies.  Total peanut butter heaven!  I’ve been enthralled with all kinds of bar cookies lately, and these leave no room for disappointment.  If you have Reese’s Cups left from Halloween this is a great way to use them up.

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These bars are fabulous in every way;  besides the wonderful taste, the centers are perfectly soft and chewy, and the Reese’s cup surprise in the middle makes them even more drool-worthy.   It takes very little time to whip these up, but everyone who tastes them will want the recipe.  To make sure the Reese’s are nicely distributed I put down a layer of about half the dough in the bottom of the baking dish and then sprinkled the chopped candy on top.  Next I dolloped the remaining dough on top of all that, making a kind of peanut butter oatmeal cookie sandwich with a Reese’s filling.   Turned out to be a great way to do it, as every bite gives you all that yumminess combined.

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These will bake up beautifully and cut nicely also.  I cut mine into 16 bars for the photos here, but you may want to cut them diagonally in half if you’re serving a large group, or double up on all the ingredients and bake in a 13″ x 9″ pan for a larger batch.  Be sure to treat yourself to a whole bar… you deserve it.   I know I did! 🙂

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIE BARS

Yield:   Makes 16 barsIMG_8222

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter-flavored baking chips
  • 1 cup Reese’s miniatures, chopped or Reese’s minis

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Add peanut butter and continue mixing.

3.  Add egg, mix in well, then add vanilla.

4.  Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.   Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir in well.

5.  Stir in the peanut butter chips.

6.  Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the pan.  Top with chopped Reese’s miniatures.  Dollop the remaining dough on top by the teaspoon.  It doesn’t have to completely cover all the Reese’s.

About half the dough on the bottom, a layer of Reese's cups, and the remaining dough on top.

About half the dough on the bottom, a layer of Reese’s cups, and the remaining dough on top.

7.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Serve with a glass of cold milk for supreme satisfaction!!

 

SOURCE:  Slightly modified from Mom on Time Out.com

 

 

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Maple Bacon Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

These are the best breakfast muffins, ever.   You read that right.  These muffins are for all of you who can’t make up your mind in the morning.  These muffins are like four breakfasts rolled into one:  they are a stack of pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, bacon and eggs or just a muffin, thank you very much.

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Just when I’m trying to avoid eating greasy things like bacon, or pancakes slathered with butter and maple syrup, here I go combining them.  No, I’m not trying to kill you, or me either, I’m just full of contradictions.  But there is meaning in my madness:  the oatmeal is in there for a purpose.  Oatmeal provides fiber, and the fiber cleanses out the greasy bad stuff.  Oh, the power of oatmeal.  It’s feeling the weight of responsibility on its shoulders.  But I know it can handle it, else I wouldn’t be using it.   Maple syrup?  It’s there to take the place of sugar.  You know, sweeten things up a little.  And living in maple syrup country as I do, I try to include it when ever possible.  Bacon?   Well what can I say about bacon that hasn’t already been said by a million  other people.  Bacon makes everything better.  That’s all there is to it.

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You must try these muffins —- and think how healthy they are for you!

MAPLE BACON OATMEAL MUFFINS

Yield:   This recipe makes about 17 -18 muffins.  It can easily be halved for a yield of about 8-9 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups quick cooking or regular rolled oats

    A trio of great ingredients:  maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

    A trio of great ingredients: maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk  (any kind, I used almond milk)
  • 2 cups flour (I recommend using 1/2  white whole flour and/or spelt flour for additional nutrition and fiber)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg ( when making half a recipe, I still used 1 whole egg)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  •  2 Tbsp. maple syrup for brushing tops

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Line muffin tin(s) with paper liners and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine milk and oats, then let it sit while you cook the bacon to allow the oats to soften.

Cooking the bacon.

Cooking the bacon.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

4.  Whisk maple syrup, melted butter, and egg into the oatmeal mixture.  Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the bacon.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until each is about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the tops with the reserved maple syrup, using a pastry brush.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Be sure to “taste test” one while it is still warm.  😀

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SOURCE:   an adaptation of Oatmeal Muffins from Taste of Home

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

These large sandwich cookies made their way onto my cookies-to-give list.  The moist filling and the soft oatmeal cookie are both delicious separately, but when you put them together they become sublime.  I chose to include them in my cookie collection this year because they are BIG, not some little dainty cookie that’s gone in two bites.  (Although I love those, too!)  I think guys will really like them because they’re “manly”.

These are generously sized cookies, with a cream cheese filling that has bits of crystalized ginger in it.  (Did you notice what happened there?  I found another way to sneak in some ginger. :P)  The cookie part is a nice soft, oatmeal that’s got lots of spices in it.  The oats are toasted in the oven before incorporating them into the batter, making them crispier and toasting the oats also brings out their nutty flavor.  When two oatmeal cookies are sandwiched together with the ginger cream filling the flavors fuse and compliment each other so well.  Mr. D. described them as YUMMO!!IMG_5676

The recipe expects you to get 12 cookies, but I must have made mine a little smaller, because I got 15 sandwich cookies, and they were plenty big for my taste.  They are not low in calories, but I tried to reduce the fat and calories somewhat by using low-fat cream cheese.  These are definitely cookies that guys will like.

Without the filling these are still very good oatmeal cookies, and I think the addition of raisins in that case would really enhance them.

OATMEAL GINGER CREAM COOKIES

Yield:  Makes 12-15 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups rolled oats

    These cookies are nicely spiced.

    These cookies are nicely spiced.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Ginger Cream  (recipe follows)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Position racks in the top and bottom levels of the oven.  On a baking sheet, bake oats on the top rack, shaking the pan intermittently to prevent burning, until lightly browned, 10 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool, leaving oven on.

Begin by toasting the oats on a baking sheet.

Begin by toasting the oats on a baking sheet.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy….

Cream butter, sugars and egg.

Cream butter, sugars and egg.

Beat in the egg.  Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Stir in the toasted oats.

This is a thick dough.

This is a thick dough.

3.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll dough ( about 2 tablespoons/cookie), into balls, or use a #30 (1-ounce) ice cream scoop.  For each baking sheet, drop 12 balls 2 inches apart.  With dampened hands, flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness.

Flatten dough balls prior to baking.

Flatten dough balls prior to baking.

Using the bottom and top racks, bake until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and set, 12 minutes, switching the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotating them from front to back halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

After baking, browned but not crispy.

After baking, browned but not crispy.

4.  Frost the bottoms of 12 cookies with Ginger Cream, then top with the remaining 12 cookies.

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For Ginger Cream:IMG_5670

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (low-fat cream cheese is OK)
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the ginger.

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SOURCE:  The Beekman Boys via Country Living Magazine

Fresh Cranberry and Oat Scones

Once daylight savings time is over and we’re back to Standard time, the days seem shorter with darkness coming before dinner time.  Whose idea was this any way?  I don’t really need the sun shining in my eyes, waking me up at 6am., nor do I appreciate it when it starts getting dark when I want it to stay light outside. Where’s all the day light we’ve been “saving”?   This whole time change thing makes me grouchy.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

To get me over this hissy-fit I needed something good to eat.  Something baked, delicate and crumbly.  Something sweet, but not too sweet, with good-for-me-and-you ingredients.   Into my laboratory/kitchen I went and in about 45 minutes we were having these scones with a cup of coffee.  They didn’t bring back more day light but they did help me to get over the “grouchies”.  If you’re having a “mood” these scones just might help you too.

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CRANBERRY AND OAT SCONES

Yield:    Makes 10 scones

Ingredients:

  • 10 Tbsp. frozen butter

    A variety of "healthy" ingredients.

    A variety of “healthy” ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup milk (regular, almond, coconut are all OK)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in a processor
  • 2  2/3 cup flour ( or flour and oats combination)**
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs

**  In place of regular flour I made up this combination:  1 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cups oats, 2/3 cups oat flour, 1/3 cup potato flour.  Also I used almond milk instead of regular milk soured with lemon juice.  Either works just fine.  You could also use buttermilk and omit the lemon juice.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 *F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2.  Mix milk with lemon juice, and keep in refrigerator to chill

3. Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor and reserve.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

I have a small 2-cup processor that works great for small amounts like this and saves getting out the big processor.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour (s), baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest…..

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Grate butter on the large holes of a box grater.  Add to flour and toss gently to integrate.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

5.  Whisk 1 large egg into the chilled milk and fold into the flour mixture.  Fold in cranberries.

6.  On a floured surface, knead the dough a few times till it just comes together.  Do not over work it.  Form into a disc.  Roll out to 3/4 – inch thickness.  Cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Reroll scraps and repeat.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

7.  Brush tops with remaining egg and sprinkle with oat flakes and natural sugar.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and  oats.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and oats.

8.  Bake till golden, about 18 minutes.  Watch carefully, they brown up quickly.  These freeze well.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Everyday Foods

Apple Oat Cinnamon Bread

Apple-Oat Cinnamon Bread

Apple-Oat Cinnamon Bread

Dear readers, I have a confession to make.   I am a bread snob!  I am mildly ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.  I am a person who loves bread, but not white bread, only artisanal or whole grain breads will do. For me, white bread is boring, bland, Blah!  Therefore I either buy my bread at a good bakery, or make my own.  That is what led me to make this wonderful bread that contains apple, oats and cinnamon.

The cloudless blue sky and brisk air this week has made me think of the kids gone back to school, and getting lunches ready. When I was in grade school I always brought my lunch, carefully packed by my mother.  One of my favorites was her homemade raisin bread with peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and cherries.  I considered myself lucky to be one of the “brown baggers”, not one of those kids who purchased weekly lunch tickets, which entitled them to “hot lunches”.  No sir, the sloppy joes, canned corn, tuna noodle casserole, applesauce , and jello were not for me.  I much preferred Mom’s carefully handcrafted sandwiches, or sometimes hot soup in a thermos bottle.

So now when September rolls around, I remember those days and long for home baked bread.  After a summer of grilled chicken and Caesar salads, it’s time for my comfort food,  the sandwich.

Apples and oats both team up happily with cinnamon, so why not put them all together in a soft, tasty loaf?  A touch of maple syrup sweetens the loaf, while walnuts add crunch.    A slice of this, toasted for breakfast is wonderful, and of course, sandwiched with peanut butter and jelly it can’t be beat.

APPLE OAT CINNAMON BREAD

YIELD:  16 – 18 slices

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_5099
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2  1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp. potato flour, (optional, for softer texture)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely diced peeled apple (about 1 medium apple)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  (optional)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, or in the bucket of your bread machine, combine all of the ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a fairly smooth (though quite sticky), elastic dough.  I used my bread machine set to the “dough” cycle.  If you’re using a mixer, knead for about 7 minutes at medium speed;  the dough will never completely clear the sides of the bowl.

2.  Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for 1 hour or until it’s quite puffy.

3.  After the first rise, gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9-inch log.  If using a bread machine, remove dough, deflate and shape as described.

After first rise form dough into a 9-inch log.

After first rise form dough into a 9-inch log.

Place dough into a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.  Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow the loaf to rise until it’s crested about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and put in a warm place to raise again.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and put in a warm place to raise again.

What you see here is my loaf inside the microwave, on a heating pad set to “low”.  Close the door and keep it warm inside.  You’ll get a beautiful rise for all your yeast dough(s).

Mine rose really high!!

Mine rose really high!!

4.  Bake the bread in a preheated 350*F oven for 45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes, to prevent over-browning.**  Remove bread from the oven when its internal temperature registers 190*F on an instant-read thermometer.  After about 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

**A work of caution here:  When you tent the bread with foil, be sure the top has baked enough to hold itself up, else the weight of the foil may cause the loaf to collapse.  You can see in my pictures that is what happened to mine.  Prior to putting it into the oven it had risen beautifully, but because the dough is “airy”, it had not baked enough to hold itself up before I covered it with the foil.    The excess dough rolled to the sides and down over the edges of the pan, giving the bread a “flat-top”.   A lesson learned!  It still tasted fabulous, though.

Everything about this bread is so good;  color, flavor, texture.

Everything about this bread is so good; color, flavor, texture. (Except the “flat top”.) 😀

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour

Breakfast Before Bed. Really!

Slow cooker oatmeal.

Slow cooker oatmeal.

Did you ever think of making your breakfast before going to bed ?  No?  Me, either.  But then I got this idea from something I read.   So simple, really,  why haven’t I thought of this before now?

The whole idea is to use your crock pot or slow cooker to cook breakfast overnight and when you get up in the morning, instead of starting then to cook cereal, voila, there it is hot and waiting for you.

Hot and waiting for you in the morning.

Hot and waiting for you in the morning.

On the weekends I often will cook steel-cut oats for hot  oatmeal which we both love, but it usually takes about 20 minutes of cooking time.  So of course, I never make it on weekdays.  But with starting it in the crockpot the night before, we can now have oatmeal anytime we want.  And the recipe makes about 6 servings, so once made, I refrigerate the extra, and can warm up just one serving in the microwave very easily whenever I want.   I am so proud of myself for coming up with this.  When I told my daughter about it she said, “yeah, I know,  I’ve done that before.”   Duh!  Where have I been?

In case there’s anyone else out there who has never done this,  here’s all you do:

1.  Peel and slice 2 apples and  put in the bottom of a crockpot,   sprinkle  1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon over the apples.  If you are not fond of apples in oatmeal use raisins, or just leave out the fruit completely.

Apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal.  What's not to like.

Apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal. What’s not to like.

2.  Pour 2 cups regular or steel-cut oats on top,  then add 4 cups water.   Do not stir!   Cook overnight  8 – 9 hours on low.

Layer it all in the crock pot, set it to low, and forget it.

Layer it all in the crock pot, set it to low, and forget it.

3.   Before serving give the pot a stir to mix it all up and enjoy with milk or cream poured over the top.   YUM!

A hot breakfast waiting for you.

A hot breakfast waiting for you.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars

Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars

Are you tired of recipes with pumpkin?  I hope not, because this is another one, and as long as no one raises a red flag and shouts STOP, they’ll probably keep coming.  You know me and pumpkin by now, so as long as a recipe has the “P” word in it, I’m on it.

These are the BEST Granola Bars I have ever made.  I know that because my husband told me so, and I believe what he says.  🙂

Seriously, they are awfully good tasting, but also hold their shape without crumbling and cut nicely when cool.  They make a nutritional after school snack, or lunch box treat.  You can wrap them individually in wax paper or parchment paper and freeze them so they are available to grab on short notice.  Actually mine never made it to the freezer, because as you are chewing the last bite of the first one, your hand will be reaching for another one so in my house they didn’t last long.  Give them a try and I think you’ll agree with me —they are the best!

PUMPKIN BUTTERSCOTCH GRANOLA BARS

YIELD:  makes 20 – 24 bars depending on how you cut them.

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 13″ x 9″ pan with a sheet of parchment paper  lining the bottom.

2.  Get these ingredients ready:

  • 4 cups oats, preferably old fashioned whole oats, but quick oats work, too.

    Get all the ingredients ready in advance.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas ( I used toasted sunflower seeds)
  • 11 ounces butterscotch chips ( 1 bag)

3   In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, and vegetable oil, mixing until the oats are well coated.

4.  Add the honey and the  brown sugar, pumpkin and cinnamon and salt and mix to combine.

5.  Add the almonds and pepitas and mix in.

6.  Stir in the butterscotch chips.

7.  Transfer the granola to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.

8.  Bake the bars at 325 degrees for 30 minutes and then press down hard with a spatula.

9.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

10.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.  Wrap individually and store in an air-tight container, or freeze.

PUMPKIN BUTTERSCOTCH GRANOLA BARS, a delicious snack.

SOURCE:    blog:  Heather Christo Cooks

Oatmeal Pear Scones

I went to the orchard recently to get some fresh apples and pears.  While there I noticed some recipes that were available using some of the products they were selling.  On looking through them I came upon this one for scones that included chopped fresh pears. Unusual, I thought, and worth trying out.  The recipe also called for ground ginger, but I knew immediately that I would put in some crystalized ginger, because pears need something with a little zing to enhance their flavor, and also just because I love candied ginger and use it whenever I can work it in. The recipes were free for the taking, so—I came home and soon began to bake these scones.  There is no rolling of dough or cutting involved.  They are simply dropped by the 1/4 cupful onto a baking sheet.  Quick. Easy.  Try them!

OATMEAL PEAR SCONES

YIELD:  Makes 10 dropped-style scones

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional, my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unpeeled, finely chopped pear

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, i.e. flour through salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3.  In a small bowl, combine yogurt, egg and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients all at once.  Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently stir in pear.

4.  Place  10  1/4 -cups of dough on the baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

5.  Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Adding the crystalized ginger worked out very well.  It added an occasional sharp little bite to a very nice, not too sweet accompaniment  to coffee.  I’m so glad to have found this recipe.  I think you will enjoy it, too.

SOURCE:  Courtesy of Belltown Hill Orchards

Chewy Granola Bars

When September and back-to-school time rolls around I always think of these bars.  That’s because my children loved them and I always made them to have as after school snacks, or to pack in lunch boxes.  I still make them because Mr. D. likes them a lot and I like to have them around for a healthy snack.

These bars can be customized to your taste by the addition of your favorite fruits and nuts or chips.  They are a great way to use up small amounts of fruits, or chips left over from another recipe.  They also freeze well and pack well so you can have them available all the time.  They can easily go along on a hike, a car trip, or camping.  What I like to do is wrap each square individually in plastic wrap, place in a covered container in the freezer, and take out the desired number as needed.  Last weekend Mr. D, and his friend went fishing for the day, and took some of these bars along to munch on.  His friend called to thank me and tell me how much he liked them.

These bars smell wonderful as they are baking, and eating one leads to wanting  another one, so they don’t last long.  It’s good to make a double recipe if you want to have a quantity on hand;  some to eat, and some to freeze.

CHEWY GRANOLA BARS

YIELD:  about 1 dozen bars, cut 2″ x 4 1/2″

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cups oat flour  (or 1/3 cup quick oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 cups mixed dried fruit and nuts (example: cranberries, apricots, dates, raisins, coconut, almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13″ x 9 ” pan.

2.  Stir together all the dry ingredients including fruits and nuts.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, syrup or honey and water.

4.  Toss the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

5.  Spread in prepared pan to evenly cover the bottom and pat down gently.

6.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.  Remove from oven, loosen the edges and let cool for 5 minutes.

7.  Use a knife ( or bench knife) to cut bars while still warm.  Cool on rack.  Wrap individually to store or with parchment paper between the layers in an air tight container.  These bars freeze well.

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour

Grab ‘N Go: Granola and Yogurt

Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself.  My reasons are  threefold;  environmental:  less packaging to dispose of;  health:  I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional:  I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package.  Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.

Granola is very versatile.  It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack.  So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and  spreading it around  rather liberally.  My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack.  Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.

For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo.  I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies.  You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers.  Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and  you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.

Trail Mix Granola

Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats


    Have all your ingredients ready before starting to assemble.

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup.  Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend  and melt any sugar lumps.  Stir well,  then pour over oats in a  large bowl and toss to coat.

3.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

4.   Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins.  Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE:  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures