Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter “Granola” Bars (Oat and Grain Free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars (Oat-Grain Free)

These might just look like every other granola bar you’ve seen and you might even be wondering why “granola” is in quotes in the title.  That would be because there are no oats or grain in these.  The kick of flavor from all the different nuts, coconut, and of course, chocolate is heavenly in these bars and the grain is not missed at all.

I made these right before my family reunion in June.  When getting out other desserts to share, I snuck one of these out of the fridge for me (since I’m not eating any of the other treats that were available) and my brother, Matt, asked what they were.  He was interested in them since he tries not to eat much sugar and he knew they were probably healthy since I was eating them.

Within minutes, they were almost completely gone.  Matt loved them.  He encouraged others to try them and they liked them as well.  I hurried and snuck a couple more bars to save for me for another time and let them get devoured.  Without oats and other grains, the nutty flavor is intensified and these have just the right amount of chocolate.

I got this recipe from Danielle’s blog, Against All Grain.  Love her blog and cookbook and her!

Chocolate Peanut Butter “Granola” Bars, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Danielle at Against All Grain

1/4 cup (84 grams) raw honey

1/2 cup (148 grams) organic, natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons (28 grams) coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup raw cashews

7 pitted dates, roughly chopped to check for pits

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with nonstick foil.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine the honey, peanut butter, coconut oil and salt.  Heat until all melted and combined together.  Stir in the vanilla.  In the meantime, put all of the nuts and the dates in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles course sand.  Add the sunflower seeds and coconut and pulse a few times until they are mixed well with the other nuts.  Remove the peanut butter mixture from the stove and stir the nut mixture into it.  Once it is all combined, pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on the top and press it down evenly with your hands.  Remove the paper from the top and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and again using the parchment/waxed paper, press them in to the top of the bars.  Put the pan in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours.  Remove bars from the pan and the foil and cut into desired sized bars on a cutting board.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Chocolate Peanut Butter "Granola" Bars

It’s official, I am making these again today.  They are full of nuts and pretty sweet, I think the bars could even be cut smaller than I did in the photos.  But at this size, they are a perfect snack or energy bar.

Chocolate Peanut Butter "Granola" Bars

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars and Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake (Both Gluten Free)—The Secret Recipe Club

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars (Gluten Free) 7-2-14

It’s time for my July Secret Recipe Club post and reveal!  I have a little thing to tell you—it “secretly” bugs me when the last (or one of the last few) post someone did on their blog is what someone picks for their reveal.  That said, here I am, posting one of the last things on my Secret Recipe assignment.  I AM happy to see that she has since posted a few more things, so it’s not the very last thing.  It just always makes me think that someone didn’t take the time to look throughout the blog to decide what to make.  Blah, blah, I know, silly me.  Then I saw Sarah at The Pajama Chef recently post these granola bars made with coconut oil (EASY to make gluten free) after I already made something else (the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake) and decided I had to make them, too.  So you’re getting a twofer again, which I’m sure you don’t mind and I am SO happy to have found TWO recipes that I love!

I really don’t know which one I liked better, the granola bars or the cake.  I’m posting the granola bars first because I made them a little healthier (although both are gluten free) so I feel a little better about that. ;  )  I LOVE how chewy the granola bars are and that they are not baked—no turning on the oven in this hot, summer sun for these!  I used gluten free oats, organic brown rice crisp cereal, raw honey and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.  Yep, these are health food.  I love the caramel-flavor from the honey and coconut sugar.  Actually, I love the chewy texture it gave to these bars as well!

Gluten Free Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Gluten Free Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars (Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys! (Adapted from Sarah at The Pajama Chef)

2  1/2 cups (75 grams) organic brown rice crisp cereal

1  3/4 cups (140 grams) gluten free rolled oats

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1/4 cups chopped pecans

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (168 grams) raw honey

1/2 cup (80 grams) organic coconut palm sugar

1/3 cup (80 grams) organic coconut oil

1/3 cup (96 grams) organic natural creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick foil.  Put the rice cereal, oats, flax, pecans, sunflower seeds and salt in a large bowl.  Put the honey and coconut sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-low head.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in the coconut oil and peanut butter until well combined.  Whisk in the vanilla.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to coat everything evenly.  Press into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, then put waxed paper or parchment paper over the top and press it down evenly.  Leave the paper on as a cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove from pan and cut into bars on a cutting board.  Store in an airtight container (for up to 3-5 days) or keep refrigerated or freeze some for later (individually wrapped in an airtight container).

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars (Gluten Free) 2

These are so good!  But like I mentioned, I’d already made a cake from Sarah’s blog that I was going to  share.  So here you go.  Another delicious recipe.

SRC July  GF Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

Sarah’s recipe for the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake is delicious, I’m sure, but so I could have some, I made it gluten free.  Since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, I halved her recipe and made the cake in an 8x8 inch pan.  Delicious!  I wish I wouldn’t have halved it except that I would have eaten a whole cake (not all in one sitting, but still).  I didn’t feel nearly as guilty knowing I ate an 8x8 inch cake over a number of days rather than a 9x13, but this cake would be great for company.  Dare I say, it would even be a great breakfast/coffee cake.  I MIGHT have eaten some for breakfast one day.  It was great for on-the-go, which I was one day after I’d made it, instead of making my usual oatmeal or smoothie.   Check out Sarah’s recipe on the link above!  Here’s my gluten free, coconut oil version.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake, Gluten Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3/4 cup organic brown cane sugar

3 tablespoons  coconut oil

1/2 an egg (2 tablespoons after whisking, 28 grams)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1  1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Premium Gold ancient grains blend, found at Costco)

3/4 cup apples, peeled and chopped (1 small-medium apple), I used Red Delicious because that’s what I had

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Brush coconut oil in an 8x8 inch baking pan (I often just use my fingers).  In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, egg, buttermilk and vanilla.  Whisk together well.  Stir in the baking soda, salt and gluten free flour.  Add the chopped apples and fold in with a spatula.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil.  Mix together with a fork until all the mixture is like wet sand.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.  Sprinkle evenly over cake.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake (Gluten Free)

I really loved this cake.  I will say, it was a little sweet for me.  I think it’s just because I’m not used to sugar being sprinkled on something anymore.  Next time, I think I’ll use only about half as much topping and I might even try coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index and is unrefined.  While I like to make myself think organic and cane sugar is unrefined, I know it’s not and is still basically refined.  So every now and then I use it, but not very often. 

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake--SRC

I think this cake worked so well making it gluten free that I’m going to try it with blueberries instead of apple—ASAP!  Doesn’t that sound good?  Yeah, that will be happening by tomorrow!  Thanks for the great recipes and blog, Sarah!  Check out her blog, The Pajama Chef, for more deliciousness!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

Do y’all love Texas Sheet Cake like most everyone I know?  Been needing to get this one posted for a couple weeks now.  It would be a perfect treat for the upcoming holiday.  I know, it’s not red, white and blue for 4th of July, but when you have a chocolate cake that is this good, does it matter if the color matches the holiday?  Yeah, didn’t think so. 

I posted on Facebook about a Texas Sheet Cake I’d made for a family get together last month and that cake is good, but my friend, Paige, who blogs amazing food at For Love of the Table, told me about one she makes so I tried her recipe for my family reunion the next week.  It is quite similar to the other one I’d made, which is the recipe made most all over the internet, except that this one has double the amount of cocoa, making it more chocolaty!  You certainly can’t go wrong there.

Most Texas sheet cakes also have the cocoa and melted butter mixed in a saucepan with hot water added and this one is just a bit easier since you just use cold water and it doesn’t have to come to a boil on the stove.  Easy and delicious!  I snuck a little bite of this one.  Had to, for quality control, you know. This will definitely be my go-to Texas sheet cake from now on.  Try it.  You’ll love it!  I think I’ll make it again for our 4th of July festivities on Friday with some friends.  It also helps since I still have some buttermilk to use up in the fridge.

Paige's Texas Sheet Cake Looks perfect, huh?  Still has the same simple chocolate icing that is poured over the still-warm-from-the-oven cake.  Did I mention how easy it is?  I’m telling you, go right now and make this cake.  It doesn’t have to be for a celebration.  Cake is acceptable anytime.  ;  )

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Paige, For Love of the Table

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (3 ounces) natural cocoa powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 /2 cup canola/vegetable oil

1 cup tap water

2  1/4 cup (9 ounces) all purpose flour

2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 10x15 inch baking sheet pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Mix together the buttermilk and baking soda in a bowl big enough for it to expand a bit(it will foam up). Let sit while you prepare the next ingredients.  Whisk together the cocoa powder, melted butter and oil in a large bowl.  Add the water and whisk to combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the cocoa mixture and stir to combine.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined, then stir in the buttermilk mixture.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting--

Texas Sheet Cake Frosting

1 pound powdered sugar (almost 4 cups)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (20 grams) natural cocoa powder

7 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the powdered sugar into a big bowl to remove any lumps.  You don’t want lumps in this frosting.  Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan.  Once it is just about melted, add the cocoa powder, salt and milk.  Stir to  combine.  Bring to a boil.  Once it is at a good boil, remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar.  Stir until well combined and no lumps remain.  Stir in the vanilla.  By this time the cake should have just been taken out of the oven for a few minutes.  Pour the frosting over the cake and smooth out evenly, working quickly.  Let sit until firm and the cake has cooled.

Texas Sheet Cake