Friday, October 26, 2012

Granola Peanut Butter Bars

I am not going to tell you how many of these bars I can eat in one sitting. You simply wouldn't believe. But that  just proves how good they are. When I made them first, I said to myself that I will never eat store bought bars again. Homemade are so much better! However, after I ate half of the batch at once, I changed my mind. It's just too dangerous. I know, I know. But I just CAN'T eat only one... Really, I wish I could.

As you already know, I am a huge fan of oats, dried fruits (especially cranberries and apples), peanut butter and brown sugar. So it's not surprising that I loved them so much. Feel free to add your favorite dried fruits instead of apples, pears, apricots and cranberries. You can also replace peanut butter with cashew or almond butter. Improvise! 

Granola Bars:

100g dried cranberries
160g dried fruits (apples, apricots, pears)
½ cup toasted chopped peanuts
1 ½ cup quick cooking oats
1 cup rolled oats

5 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp homemade peanut butter (+ 1tsp honey)

1) Chop the dried fruits into small chunks and mix together.

2) In another bowl, mix together the oats and chopped peanuts. Add in the dried fruits.

3) In a food processor, grind the peanuts until they start to liquefy. Add 1 tsp of honey and mix for for some more minutes until the consistency resembles peanut butter.

4) In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine together brown sugar, water and honey. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and small bubbles start appearing in the edges of saucepan. Reduce heat to low and add peanut butter. Mix until combined. Turn off the heat and let cool a little bit.

5) Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and mix very well. Lay a piece of parchment paper over a bottom of a 20x20cm square pan. Pour the mixture into prepared pan and press it to the bottom with your fingers.

6) Let stand for couple hours and then cut into bars.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pancakes for One

Yesterday I made a batch of fluffy pancakes only for myself. It's a basic recipe which I use every time. What can be better than a serving of pancakes with sweet strawberries and syrup just for you and yourself?

Buttermilk Pancakes

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
 pinch salt

1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk 
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

butter or coconut oil (for griddle)

In medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.

In another bowl, beat together eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to liquid mixture, combining only enough to moisten the flour.
Heat skillet to medium-low heat. Brush the bottom with some butter or oil.
Ladle batter onto the skillet.
Cook pancakes for 2-4 minutes or until the underside is golden brown and bubbles break on topside.
Flip and bake another minute or so longer until second side is golden brown.
I served my pancakes with strawberries. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Cream Cheese Bars

These cream cheese bars are absolutely amazing, however, there's one thing I'd change. Next time I would definitely use milk chocolate for topping. Actually  I hated the bitterness of the chocolate so I simply took it out and ate it without chocolate. I made some modifications in the original recipe: I reduced the amount of sugar and it was sweet enough for me so I recommend reducing sugar for you as well. And I omitted nuts. I just didn't have any but actually I didn't even miss them. I think these bars are better creamy without any crunchiness.

Sorry about the photos. I've no idea why the color of these bars looks so strange. Well, I'm not a professional photographer. It was a dark and foggy day.

Cream Cheese Bars

1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour (divided use)
1 cup sugar (I used 180g)
2/3 cup butter, softened

225g (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar (I used 100g)
2 eggs

340g (12 ounces)  semisweet chocolate chips* (divided use)
½ to ¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (I omitted)

*I used less chocolate and I didn't add any inside the bars, I used it only for topping. And as I've mentioned before I prefer milk chocolate.

Preheat oven to 180C (350 F) degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, sugar, and butter. Beat at medium speed about 2 minutes or until crumbly and well blended.  Press mixture into an ungreased pan.  Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and eggs at medium speed until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the partially baked crust.  Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is almost set.

Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips over top.  Return to oven for 1 minute to melt chips.

Remove from oven. Gently spread melted chips over top.  Sprinkle with nuts, lightly pressing them into the chocolate.

Refrigerate 1 hour.  Cut into bars.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake

This time I decided to follow the trend and make something with pumpkin. I wasn't a fan of pumpkin desserts until I made this fabulous cake. And of course, I realized how much I love pumpkin spice! This cake has everything in it! Although I didn't add ginger (didn't have any) and cloves (which I hate). This cake is soft, moist and sooo fragrant. It's a fall must-make cake. And now, can you believe? I'm already planning to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins etc.. Truly, this cake made me fall in love with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake

225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
315g (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
177ml (3/4 cup) well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
245g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
3 large eggs

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and flour bundt pan.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl.

3) Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.

4) Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute.
Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

5) Spoon batter into pan and bake until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack.

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