Thursday, January 30, 2014

Apple Crisp Mini Pies


  • Cook time: 25-30 min
  • Yield: Serves 4 8 oz. wide mouth mason jars or 8 4 oz. mason jars

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 5 granny smith apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon self rising flour

For the Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large sauté pan melt butter, water. Add the sliced apples and cook until apples are tender and release juices. Meanwhile, in separate bowl mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, tapioca and self rising flour. Place this mixture over apples & toss in pan. Cook apples until they begin to soften.
3. Place all topping ingredients into a bowl. Using your fingers mix until well incorporated and mixture resembles crumbs.
4. Place apple mixture into mason jars. Place topping on apples & cook in a water bath at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars


Granola Bars

 by Pioneer Woman


Granola bars are my life. I never knew that until just now.
It’s fun to make granola bars. It’s so fun, I made them on one of my recent Food Network episodes. It’s so fun, I could make granola bars every week for the rest of my life. It’s so fun, I’d rather make granola bars than go to Disneyland!
Of course, my not wanting to leave my house probably contributes to this somewhat.
Here’s the basic recipe, but note that you can change it up however you’d like! Add different nuts, different grains, different cereals. This is the beauty of making your own granola bars: You can totally customize them according to what you like.
Let’s DO this thang.

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The Cast of Characters: Oats, canola oil (not pictured because I’m an airhead), butter, salt, brown sugar, honey, apple juice, molasses, vanilla, Rice Krispies, wheat germ, pecans, and almonds.



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Throw some butter into a bowl…



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And nuke it in the microwave.



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Measure some oats, spilling them all over your counter-top in the process.



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Pour the oats into a bowl.



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Next, grab the spottiest measuring cup you can find because you’re impressive that way, and measure a little bit of canola oil…



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And pour in the melted buttah.



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Stir it together and drizzle it into the bowl of oats…



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And stir it as you drizzle.



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Then just toss it around until the oats are all coated.



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Sprinkle in a good teaspoon of salt. You’ll be glad you did.



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Then stir it around…



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And pour the oats onto two rimmed baking sheets.



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Shake ‘em to evenly distribute them in the pans, then throw ‘em into a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes—and reach in and shake the pan two or three times while they toast.



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After they’re toasted, let ‘em cool for a bit then throw ‘em into a big bowl.



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Then measure some brown sugar…



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And throw it into a medium saucepan.



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Grab a half-cup measure…



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And drizzle in some honey, baby.



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Sorry I called you honey baby. I get carried away sometimes.



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Then pour it into the pan.



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I want to take a bath in this and use it as a body scrub.
Would that be weird?



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Then grab a fourth-cup measure…



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And pour in some molasses.



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Ooooh. Talk about tempting fate! I like to walk on the edge. I like to walk on the wild side. I like to play with fire. I like to worry so much about taking a photo of molasses going into a measuring cup that I almost pour too much molasses into the measuring cup.



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Pour it into the saucepan with all the other goodness.



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I want to publish a coffee table book filled with nothing but photos of molasses being poured.



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I’m going to call the book “Molasses.” Look for it on bookshelves in the year 2079.



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Finally, measure some apple juice…



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And pour that in. Basically, I’m looking to create as sticky a substance as I can.



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Stir it around over medium heat…



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Let it heat until it just barely starts to bubble, then turn off the heat.



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Stir in plenty of vanilla extract, then set the mixture aside for a minute.



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Grab some pecans…



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And some almonds.



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Then chop up the pecans…



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Until they’re nice and fine.



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Then chop the pecans until they’re…well, not so fine. Big, crunchy chunks of almonds make the granola bars worth living for. Worth fighting for, worth DYING for! Because it’s the only thing that lasts. Wait. Sorry. That was land. Gone with the Wind. Tara. Mr. O’Hara. Ignore me, please.



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Now add the chopped pecans to the toasted oats. Your kitchen smells really good right now, by the way.



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Then add the almonds…



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Measure some Rice Krispies…



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And pour them in. This won’t cause your granola bars to snap, crackle, and pop…but it will give them extra flavor and crunch.



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Then grab this weird, yummy substance. Growing up, my mom always had wheat germ in the cabinet. I’m glad we had this talk.



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Measure a nice, big cupful…



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Then pour it right on in.



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Stir all these crunchy, crispy dry ingredients together…



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Then grab the saucepan of sweet, warm liquid…



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And pour it right on in! Drizzle it slowly, though, so that you can slowly stir it the whole time.



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Yummy!



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Grab a foil-lined baking sheet (it’s best if you can do this ahead of time so that it’s ready when the mixture is…well, mixed.)



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And pour on the the mixture.



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Get it all into a uniform layer…



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Then you can spray your hands with cooking spray…



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And pat it gently so that it’s lightly pressed into the pan. Speaking of which: In my haste,  I completely neglected to spray the foil with cooking spray, which is an important step. You’ll find out why in a minute. Don’t be like me.


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Next up, just bake it in a 325 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until it’s nice and golden brown and your kitchen smells like home.



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Let it cool completely (the granola will seem soft when you first pull it out of the oven, but will crisp up as it cools) then carefully lift the foil out of the pan in one piece.



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If you sprayed the foil with cooking spray, the granola should easily separate from the foil. If you did not, you’ll have to do some careful peeling. I repeat: Don’t be like me. This has been a public service announcement.



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Got most of it…



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Got all of it!



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Then I flipped it over so that the top was on top again…



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And with a very sharp knife, I cut the granola into large strips.



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From there…



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You can cut them into bars…



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Or squares! Sometimes I like the more bite-sized pieces, because then you’re not committing to a whole bar. Also, then you can eat twenty. Ha.


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I kinda like this size.



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Yum, yum. These are really so good. And what I love about making granola bars is, you can change up the things you add: sunflower seeds, walnuts, Grape Nuts, different cereals, different grains.



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You can also break them into clusters. And if, when you break them up, they don’t seem quite as crazy crisp as you’d like, just pop ‘em on the baking sheet and throw ‘em back into the oven for five to ten minutes. Then let ‘em cool and they’re good to go.



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And here’s another thing you can do.



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Dunk ‘em in chocolate.



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Then just set ‘em aside on parchment (or a baking mat) till the chocolate sets.
I could go on and on, but I need to go have a granola bar for breakfast!
Here’s the handy dandy printable. Makes a bunch!


Recipe

Granola Bars

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Difficulty:
Easy
Servings:
16
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Oats)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted, Plus More For Greasing
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Or Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Apple Juice
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup Wheat Germ
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup Roughly Chopped Almonds
  • 8 ounces, weight Milk Chocolate Or Chocolate Almond Bark, Melted (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, toss the oats with the canola oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Stir in the vanilla.
Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, pecans and almonds. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss to combine; it will be sticky!
Press into 1 baking sheet (thoroughly greased with butter, or line pan with foil and grease foil) and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut pieces with a sharp knife and remove from the pan.
OPTIONAL
Dip the cooled granola bars straight into the melted chocolate so that the top is plain and the bottom is chocolate-covered. Set on parchment until set, sticking in the fridge to hasten this along if necessary.
Yum yum!