Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Basic Add In Granola Bars

We love this recipe and the variety of combinations we can enjoy. One of our favorites is cranberries and sunflower seeds. Chocolate chips and pecans. mmmm. Until I figure out what I want to substitute the corn syrup with, #4 will have to be content with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Basic Add In Granola Bars
2/3 c. oil
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. rolled oats
2 c. dried fruit, nuts, chips, coconut shreds

Preheat oven to 350. Mix oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Add oats then mix thoroughly to break the oats down for a smoother bar. Mix in fruits, nuts, chips, etc. . Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Pat down with wax paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

At some point during the school year, the boys started eating their lunch on the way to school or in the middle of the morning then would have no food left for lunch. To remedy that I started making things that could snack on mid morning: granola bars, fruit roll ups, apple chips, cheerio treats, etc. . . Anything to get energy to those hard working brains of theirs. 

from Menu Managed

My friend, Michelle, over at Menu Managed shared the recipe of these fantastic granola bars. Woo hoo! I love it and everyone can eat them, so I make these and Basic Add In Granola Bar every couple of weeks.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
1 egg
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter, honey, egg, oil and vanilla until blended.
Combine oats, brown sugar and salt in a seperate bowl.
Add oat mixture to peanut butter mixture and mix well.
Stir in chips.
Batter should be sticky.

Coat a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until edges are light brown.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cowboy Cookies

This recipe is from Quaker Oats
Toasting the nuts and coconut really brings out the flavor and adds to the overall deliciousness of this cookie.

Cowboy Cookies modified recipe from Quaker Oats
2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup apple sauce, drained
1/4  cup canola oil
1  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1  cup granulated sugar
3  medium eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
2  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 1/2  cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3  cup chopped nuts, toasted
2/3  cup shredded coconut, toasted
2/3  cup raisins

Heat oven to 350°F.
Combined flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, mix apple sauce, oil,  and sugars, until well incorporated.
Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture.
Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (or a #60 or #40 disher) onto ungreased cookie sheets; flatten slightly
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Yield : about 4.5 dozen

Notes: Initially it was a really dry crumbly dough. I added an extra medium egg. Problem solved.
My reason ~ maybe when the recipe says "2 eggs" it meant large. If so, 2 medium eggs weren't going to cut it, an extra was needed. Don't know if that was the best solution, but it worked for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lemon Cookies

In my youth, we once had a ward luau in our backyard. As part of the menu, there was your standard luau fare: teriyaki steak, kalua pork, and chicken long rice.  And the not so standard: lemon and orange cookies, orange rolls, and mandarin orange jello. I love citrusy flavors and smells.

The cookies and rolls were so melt in your mouth delicious!! I was so glad that a handout of the recipes was provided (on bright pink and yellow paper. I can always find it in the midst of all the white printouts of recipes).

When I make these I usually go for lemon, but during the holidays I enjoy orange. Then for Chinese New Year, I'll make almond cookies. I love how easily I can change the flavoring to suit my mood or season.

Lemon Cookies recipe modified from Bonnie Workman
1/4 cup apple sauce, drained
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Place oil, apple sauce, and sugar in a large bowl and mix.
Add egg, lemon extract and lemon zest.* Mix well.
Add flour mixture in 3 batches to the sugar mixture. Mix well after each addition. Dough will be stiff.
Use a #60 disher (or a tablespoon) to scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.

* A variety of extracts may be used to change the flavor of this cookie.
Orange: 2 teaspoon orange extract, 1 tablespoon orange zest
Almond: 2 teaspoon almond extract, 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
Vanilla: 2 teaspoon vanilla

36-40 cookies

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

This recipe comes from the back of the Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips bag. 
 When making cookies for everyone to eat, I use dark chocolate or 60% cacoa bittersweet chocolate chips, since it has less or no milk in them. It's great for the 3A's!

Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) dark chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped toasted pecan

Heat oven to 375°F.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Mix applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix.
Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.
Scoop with #60 disher (a tablespoon) or drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Cool completely.
About 5 dozen cookies.

It makes so much that I only bake one dozen,
 then freeze the rest.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Place cookie dough balls close together, but not touching 

Freeze until hard. (I wait an hour).

Label a gallon sized zip top freezer bag with the recipe name, date, cooking temperature and bake time.
(I add an extra two minutes to the original bake time)
Bag cookie dough balls, and keep in freezer.

Thaw the balls, while the oven is preheating. 

The boys love coming home and having freshly baked cookies for snack time. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A journey with cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. Since our first allergic was diagnosed, I rarely indulge in making them. It means making two batches, one from what was a short list of  3A approved cookies, and the chocolate chip cookies. So time consuming! To simplify things, I've been testing ways to make our favorite cookie recipes safe for all of us to enjoy. 

The main obstacle ~ butter/shortening. Folks use applesauce for healthier cookies, and oil can substitute butter. I figured those would be the best solution. But each came with their own issues.  

Too much oil make the cookies greasy. Too much apple sauce make the cookies poofy.  I want to stay true to the original cookie, if possible. 

With some testing, I found the right ratio of oil & applesauce to avoid the greasy problem. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, I will use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup apple sauce. 

However, the cookies were still a little too poofy and cakey. Then I thought: What if I drain it? You know, eliminate as much extra moisture as possible.

First, I dumped a bunch of apple sauce in a tea towel and squeezed the juice out. Then used the remaining sauce. It worked!!! But, I felt like I was losing too much of the apple solids in the squeezing process. 

Now, I use a fine mesh strainer to drain the apple sauce. You can also use a tea towel lined colander over a large bowl. I let it drain while I gather all the ingredients and combine the flour mixture. 

That was my "aha moment" in baking cookies for my kids with allergies! 

P.S. Jake pointed out that we have palm kernel shortening.  Uh . . . that works too :) 
I used this technique in these recipes:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chili for a Crowd

I have posted chili recipes before, but they were for small batches to feed a single family. If you are cooking for a crowd, you need something that scales better! The recipe below can be doubled, tripled, etc. as necessary for large groups of people.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cans pinto or red beans (or one of each)
  • 1 large jar pace picante sauce
  • Garlic Salt
  • Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Black Pepper

Brown Ground Beef with ½ teaspoon garlic salt. Add beans and picante sauce. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder and ½ teaspoon each of cumin, oregano, and black pepper.