Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

You guys, there’s this bright light in the sky and I don’t know what it is.

Oh, that’s the sun???!!!

You’ll have to forgive me for not recognizing it.  I can’t remember the last time the sun was out.  This winter hasn’t been that bad as far as winters go.  We recently had a ten day stretch during which even low temperatures did not dip below freezing.

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

But it has been so dark and grey and lifeless and downright depressing I can’t even.

Winter has me down.  This happens every year, but this year it’s stronger than ever.  Maybe it’s because I was making the same wishes last birthday as I did a little over a week ago on this one and because year after year things build and build and build until they come to a head.

I want to frolic outside in the sun and take walks and eat outside and be happy and not have to slather lotion and oil and all things moisturizing on my skin.  Please tell me I’m not alone.

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

I won’t be alone in loving these Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars.  I made these years ago, before the blog and loved the filling but not the crust.  Then I made them again recently with a different crust that tasted great but totally fell apart.

Enter test three.  These are the winner.  The filling is as gooey and rich as ever with tons of crunchy nuts.  The base is a vanilla bean olive oil shortbread.  I know olive oil in shortbread sounds weird, but trust me, it is heaven.  It provides a fruity, light note against the rich filling.

Winter is no match for these bars.  Well, really it is, but we can pretend it’s not while we make them.

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

 

Caramel Nut Shortbread Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
Filling
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups untoasted nuts, I used half pecans and half walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. generously butter a 9 by 13-inch pan.
  2. Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, butter, oil, and vanilla bean paste until a thick dough forms that holds when squeezed together. If it falls apart, add a bit more oil until it holds. Press into the prepared pan, bringing some of the dough up the sides. Bake for about 15 minutes until just barely golden brown.
  3. While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a medium saucepot, stir together butter, brown sugar, honey, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and foamy.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Be careful! It will bubble up. Place pan back over the heat and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees or about 10 more minutes. I actually did this without a candy thermometer. It’s rather forgiving and you can always test for soft ball stage in a bit of cold water.
  5. Add the nuts and cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour filling over the hot crust, spreading into an even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, until bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Cool completely in the pan before cutting and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

Notes

Filling recipe adapted from Food and Wine

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http://piesandplots.net/caramel-nut-shortbread-bars/

Cherry Walnut Biscotti #SundaySupper

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

Italian food has never really been my thing.  See the problem is I don’t like tomato sauce.  Like I can’t stand it.  The mere thought of it sends a chill down my spine.  I’m weird, I know.  This isn’t breaking news.

It’s one of those things that I just don’t get.  It makes no sense to me that people like this weird red sauce that smells funny.  But then again, I like kale, something my uncle suggested was only to be eaten as punishment the other day.

This means I’ve never had traditional pizza, lasagna, or spaghetti and meatballs.  I was on the “white pizza” bandwagon before it was a thing.  That’s right, I’m hip and weird 😉

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

Of course, I love fettucine Alfredo, but it’s not really something I eat much anymore, so my Italian food love is very limited.  Garlic bread, plain pasta, garlic bread.

Luckily, there are always Italian desserts.  Tiramisu is awesome, but I wanted to make something super shareable to bring to my friends at the dentist office.  Enter Cherry Walnut Biscotti.

I’ve eaten more than my fair share of biscotti over my life, but I had never made it until now.  Why did I wait so long?  This biscotti is super easy to whip together.  Then it is shaped into loaves, baked, sliced, and baked again.  That’s what makes biscotti … well biscotti.

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

The dried tart cherries and walnuts play so well together and are the perfect combination.  I also love how the end pieces of this biscotti are super crunchy, but the middle ones have just a little chew left.

While I’ll still be steering clear of tomato sauce, I will also be making this biscotti again and you should check it out too.

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

Cherry Walnut Biscotti #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: About 3 dozen

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup dried tart cherries

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work as well. Beat in the vanilla and eggs until once again light and fluffy.

Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the walnuts and cherries.

Divide dough in half and shape into two long, flat logs on the baking sheet, flouring hands if the dough is sticky.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until starting to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Then slice the biscotti into about 1 inch thick cookies. Turn cut side up on the baking sheet. Bake for about an additional 15 minutes, until golden brown and mostly firm. Cookies will become crispier as they cool.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

http://piesandplots.net/cherry-walnut-biscotti-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Appetizers:

Mains:

Dessert:

Beverages:

And Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Greek Walnut Cake #SundaySupper

Greek Walnut Cake

I remember distinctly the day I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  It was the middle of summer.  One of my favorite baby sitters was helping my mom out.  She was still awesome, but had a kid of her own, so that complicated things, including making going to the movies almost impossible.

Knowing that it wasn’t always easy to make plans around her youngster or have a crying baby in the middle of a restaurant, one day she dropped her kid off at her mom’s house so we could have the day to ourselves.

Greek Walnut Cake

We turned the radio in the car up loud and headed straight for the movie theater.  We bought our tickets and then snacks.  I was in a nacho phase then and she always got the largest soda available.

I don’t remember a ton about the movie itself, which is so odd considering the day stands out in my mind.  I’m not sure I liked it that much, but I was a naïve child sometimes and movies went waaaaay over my head.  I’m excited to revisit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and check out the sequel.

Greek Walnut Cake

While I rewatch the first movie, I am definitely going to be enjoying another piece of this Greek Walnut Cake.  Awhile back when I received Debbie Matenopoulos’ cookbook It’s All Greek to Me, I knew I wanted to make this cake, and now I finally got to it.

Greek Walnut Cake

I’m glad I did.  The cake is super moist thanks to the soaking syrup and full of walnuts, cinnamon, and a hint of lemon.  It definitely makes a great dessert, but it is also breakfast and tea time appropriate.  Cake for breakfast is always a win in my book!

Greek Walnut Cake

Greek Walnut Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 18 pieces

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups walnut halves, finely chopped

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Syrup

2 cups water

2 cups granulated sugar

2 2-inch pieces fresh lemon peel, yellow part only

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and lemon juice. The mixture may look curdled, this is okay.

In a medium bowl, stir together chopped walnuts, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Alternately add the walnut mixture and the milk to the butter mixture. Mix just until a batter is formed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Make the syrup while the cake cools slightly. In a medium sauce pan, bring water, sugar, and lemon peel to a boil. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until reduced to the consistency of maple syrup. Remove the lemon peel and immediately pour over the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from It’s All Greek to Me by Debbie Matenopoulos

http://piesandplots.net/greek-walnut-cake-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Greek Appetizers:

Greek Soups:

Greek Breakfast:

Greek Main Dishes:

Greek Side Dishes:

Greek Desserts:

Greek Beverages:

Plus Baked Shrimp with Feta plus More Greek Cuisine from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Summer Peach Cake #SundaySupper

Summer Peach Cake

I talk a lot about Granny, my mom’s mom, but I haven’t spent much time talking about Grandma, my dad’s mom.

The truth is, like the rest of my grandparents, my memories of her have faded. I vaguely remember a couple parties thrown in her honor. I know we frequently went to her house and out to dinner with her, often for Chinese food. At nearly every holiday and birthday, we spent time with her, but I was so young for much of it, I can barely recall a single thing.

Summer Peach Cake

An even harsher truth is that I was kind of scared of her. She was a bit rough around the edges and when you’re an incredibly nervous child, that’s hard to understand and harder to deal with. But she did love me, I knew that then, and I know it now, looking at all the cards she sent me and photos we took with her.

Just like Granny, I miss her and wish that I had time now to get to know her. To talk to her and learn about her, to make memories with her. I have grown so much since I had the chance to see her and am a different person almost entirely. To share that with her would be something.

Summer Peach Cake

But I can’t do that, so I just have to think about it. Even her favorite things to cook aren’t known to me save for a few recipes. Apparently she was known for her chop suey. Mom also talks of one day she spent with her baking tons of different Christmas cookies. That sounds like something right up my alley.

Like I imagine sharing cinnamon rolls (and really whatever I make) with Granny, I imagine sharing this Summer Peach Cake with Grandma. I hope she’d like it. Maybe with a cup of coffee or tea – I don’t even know which she preferred. We could talk about her past and my future. We could bond.

Summer Peach Cake

I made a different version of this cake awhile ago based on Ina Garten’s recipe. Look at the photos if you dare! I revamped it this time, swapping the sour cream for almond milk, the pecans for walnuts, and most importantly the butter for olive oil. Something was just telling me this cake needed to be made with olive oil. With a bit of trepidation the cake wouldn’t bake up properly, I did it.

I am so glad I did. This is a much better version of the cake (sorry Ina!). It baked up perfectly and is so wonderfully moist. So let’s all make this cake and share it with the grandparents we may still have and remember the ones that are gone.

Summer Peach Cake

Summer Peach Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

½ cup olive oil

1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided

¾ cup milk (I used almond – use what you love)

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large peaches, peeled and sliced

¾ cup walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and oil the parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla until emulsified. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.

In a small bowl, stir together remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon and ½ cup sugar.

Pour half the batter in the prepared pan. Top with roughly half the peach slices, placing them in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Pour the remaining batter over the peaches. Top with the remaining peaches using a decorative pattern. Sprinkle with walnuts, pushing them gently into the batter, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Tent the cake if at any time it is getting too brown during the baking process. Cool cake completely in pan or serve warm (which I recommend). Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

http://piesandplots.net/summer-peach-cake-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Sweets that are the Sweetest

Savory Meals with Special Memories

5 Tips for Preserving Family Recipes and a Grandparents Day Tribute by Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Apple Juice Cake

Apple Juice Cake

Do you ever have leftover ingredients? You know ones that need to be used NOW.

I try to keep things moving in my refrigerator and pantry, but every once in awhile, I lose track of things. I find that bunch of asparagus that has been hanging out in the crisper a little too long. Or that extra jar of marshmallow fluff I picked up a couple months ago and totally forgot about (by the way, stay tuned for that recipe in a few weeks).

Apple Juice Cake

There are a couple dishes that help me use all these things up. Vegetables about to pass their prime can be added to salads or frittatas, even pasta. Fruit makes an awesome crisp or baked oatmeal.

But recently I had a huge bottle of apple juice sitting in the refrigerator. I bought it for a recipe from a cookbook that didn’t turn out. But I couldn’t stand to waste the rest of it.

Apple Juice Cake

I can’t remember the last time I bought apple juice, so I did drink some of it. Icy cold from the refrigerator, it totally quenched my thirst. I needed to do something more with it though.

So I made cake. Apple Juice Cake. This is one of the more unique cakes I’ve made. It baked up beautifully and has a distinct apple juice flavor, which kind of surprised me in a pleasant way. It has more of a bready texture, instead of a cakey one. Not that this is a bad thing; it actually reminded me of my favorite raisin bread as a kid.

Apple Juice Cake

Full of crunchy nuts and plump raisins, and topped with a fabulous glaze, this is such a nice, old fashioned cake that I know you will love!

Apple Juice Cake

Apple Juice Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs

2 cups apple juice

1 cup raisins (I love Trader Joe’s Jumbo Raisin Medley)

1 cup mixed nuts (I used unsalted pecans and walnuts)

Glaze

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup apple juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will also work. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Alternately add the flour mixture and the apple juice, beginning and ending with the flour. You should do 3 additions of flour and 2 of juice.

Fold in the raisins and nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Cool in pan about 15 minutes, before carefully loosening and inverting onto a serving platter. Cool cake completely before preparing the glaze.

To make the glaze stir together sugar and juice until a thick yet pourable consistency is formed. Add more sugar or juice as necessary. Pour over the cake and serve. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Lucky Leaf

http://piesandplots.net/apple-juice-cake/

Spicy Energy Bites + Giveaway!

Spicy Energy Bites - Gluten Free, Vegan, Healthy, and No Bake

It’s always fun to get a package in the mail. It’s even more fun when you don’t know what’s going to be in the package.

As you probably know, I am a member of Peanut Butter & Co’s Yum Squad, so I get to participate in fun challenges to create amazing treats. This particular challenge was extra special and exciting since it was a #MysteryIngredient challenge. It’s to celebrate National Peanut Butter month and showcase how versatile peanut butter is.

#MysteryIngredient Challenge

When I opened the box, I saw a giant bottle of Sriracha. At first I was a bit panicked. I mean when I think of peanut butter, I think of sweet … not spicy. But I remained undeterred.

It would have been easy to create a spicy peanut noodle dish, but I wanted to think outside of the box. It took some time, but I decided on Spicy Energy Bites.

Not only are these little bites gluten free, healthy, and vegan, but they also pack a major nutritional and spicy punch. Seriously you look at them and think they’re innocent little treats. Oh, no, these things are fierce … just like me 🙂

Spicy Energy Bites

I paired the Sriracha with not only the peanut butter, but also carob powder to add another, complementary assertive flavor and some maple syrup as a balancing sweetener.

Everyone loved these Bites. I wasn’t sure what people would think but the sweet, spicy flavors were really well received. I know that you will love these easy to make, no bake treats! Make up a batch to celebrate National Peanut Butter Month!!!

And to enhance the celebration, Peanut Butter & Co has been kind enough to offer a giveaway of two jars of Mighty Maple peanut butter!

Spicy Energy Bites

To enter the giveaway, answer the question: What is your favorite spicy food?

To earn additional entries:
Follow @piesandplots on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.
Like Pies and Plots on Facebook. Come back and let me know you’ve liked me in an additional and entirely separate comment.
Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.
Follow @piesandplots on Instagram. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.
Subscribe to Pies and Plots via email using the form at the top of the page on the right hand side. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.
IMPORTANT: This giveaway is open to residents of the US only.
The giveaway ends Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 11:59 pm EST.
The winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

As a member of Peanut Butter & Co.’s Yum Squad food blogger club, I received product and the giveaway in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Spicy Energy Bites

Spicy Energy Bites + Giveaway!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 24 bites

Ingredients

2 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup Mighty Maple peanut butter

½ cup carob powder

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons Sriracha

2-4 tablespoons water

Instructions

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, coconut, peanut butter, carob powder, maple syrup, and Sriracha. Add water as needed until dough comes together.

Take tablespoon sized portions of mixture and form it into a ball. Continue until all the dough is used.

Store bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

http://piesandplots.net/spicy-energy-bites-giveaway/

Easy Candied Walnuts

Easy Candied Walnuts

Okay, let’s talk about this winter. It was a rather stealthy one. December wasn’t too bad. We had rain Christmas Eve. January was even okay. A little snow, a little cold, but nothing unbearable.

I thought perhaps we were in the clear. It wasn’t going to be a bad winter. Not tropical, but nothing like last year. We could glide into spring like it was no big deal.

Easy Candied Walnuts

I was wrong.

It all started Sunday. First the snow storm was just going to be a couple inches. Then three to six. Four to eight. A foot. It ended at 16.3 inches, officially, the third biggest snow storm ever. EVER! Then it snowed again yesterday. I’m not looking outside at a winter wonderland, but instead a frozen hell, feeling claustrophobic from the mounds of the white stuff.

Easy Candied Walnuts

It’s a good thing I don’t really want to leave the house because today while the sun is out, it’s deceiving all of us. The wind chills are below zero.

So it looks like it’s going to be a long winter after all. I’m not going to hope for an early spring. I just hope one comes at all.

Easy Candied Walnuts

While I have barricaded myself in the house, or rather, the snow has barricaded me in, I whipped up these Easy Candied Walnuts. As the title suggests, they are simple to make. They only require three ingredients, about ten minutes, and are gluten free. Plus, they make a great snack while you try to pretend the snow isn’t there.

Easy Candied Walnuts

Easy Candied Walnuts

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups of nuts

Ingredients

2 cups walnuts

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the walnuts, sugar, and butter.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar and butter have melted and the nuts are fully coated.

Spread into an even layer onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Separate the nuts as much as possible.

Allow to cool completely before enjoying. Nuts may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Natasha's Kitchen

http://piesandplots.net/easy-candied-walnuts/

Nutty Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Nutty Granola Bars

Healthy eating is a part of life for me. It’s how I live every single day. My countertops and refrigerators are loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. I rely on oatmeal for breakfast and lean protein and salads for dinner. I actually look forward to these foods. I crave them just like a lot of people crave fast food and decadent desserts.

I still love eating the occasional giant slice of pie or cake. My day doesn’t feel complete without at least a small portion of candy, even if it’s just a couple Starburst. Life doesn’t have to be about deprivation, only moderation. At least that’s what I believe.

Nutty Granola Bars

But eating healthy can sometimes get boring. How many ways are there to make a bowl of oatmeal exciting? After awhile they all taste the same. The premise holds for salads. Sure toppings and dressings can be switched up, but sometimes a salad is just a salad.

So I try to get creative in the kitchen, especially when it comes to breakfast bars. I have made my fair share of granola bars here on the blog. These Fruity Pebbles ones are some of my favorites. But I really have never made anything like these. They are sure to make breakfast or snack time much more exciting and keep things super healthy for the New Year.

Nutty Granola Bars

They are so nutty with coconut, almond butter, and walnuts. Plus the Rice Krispies add an amazing texture. You’ll crave healthy food too if you whip up these no bake, gluten free treats!

Nutty Granola Bars

Nutty Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup almond butter (I really like the maple flavored ones)

¼ cup honey

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 ½ cups quick cooking oats (gluten free, if necessary)

1 cup Rice Krispies (gluten free)

½ cup walnuts

¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Instructions

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine oil, almond butter, and honey. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for an additional minute. The mixture should be bubbling. If it is not, microwave for an additional minute.

Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the oats, Rice Krispies, walnuts, coconut, and chia seeds. Stir until fully combined and coated with the honey mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until firm. About 2 hours. Cut into bars. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/nutty-granola-bars-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Bright Beverages

Blissful Breakfast Items

Appetizing Starters

Savory Soups and Sides

Marvelous Mains

Delightful Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

I can’t believe the holiday season is nearly upon us. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I was celebrating last Christmas. I demand time to slow down!

Other than my issues with time vanishing before my eyes, I’m having another problem. I don’t have anything on my Christmas list.

I’m trying to think of things. Big things, small things. Fun things, practical things. It’s just not happening though.

This is totally not like me. Typically the list of things I want is about a mile long. From the time I was a little girl asking for a multitude of Barbies and accessories to now when I ask for clothes and shoes Barbie might be happy to wear, I’ve never been light on wants.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

Perhaps 24 years of accumulating stuff has left little for me to want. Plus a lot of the things I want aren’t tangible. Unless one of you know an agent looking to represent a new screenwriter or a way to magically teleport me to California. Or maybe I’m just – shudder – becoming an adult.

I’m sure my list will come along eventually. If not, the pressure’s on Mom and Dad to come up with gift ideas all on their own. Surprises are the best.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

One thing I do want this holiday season is to keep extra pounds from creeping up. While I fully intend to eat my favorite foods in moderation, as always, I’ll be sticking to mostly healthy foods just like any other time.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars are a great compromise. While they aren’t going to replace traditional cinnamon rolls, these healthy, gluten free treats are a flavorful, filling breakfast or snack sure to keep you on track.

Ooey, gooey from almond butter, they also have crunch from walnuts and chia seeds, along with warmly spiced cinnamon. A simple, optional glaze adds a little extra sweetness and that great cinnamon roll twist. They are a gift all their own this holiday season!

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

Bars

2 cups old fashioned roll oats, gluten free if necessary

¼ cup oat flour, gluten free if necessary

1 cup walnuts

¼ cup chia seeds

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup creamy almond butter

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water, or more if necessary

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, walnuts, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon until fully incorporated.

Add oil, almond butter, honey, and vanilla and stir until distributed and a thick dough is formed. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and partially set on top. Cool completely in pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, vanilla, and water. Add more water or sugar as needed until a thick, yet spreadable glaze is formed. Drizzle over bars. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour or in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/cinnamon-roll-granola-bars-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Drinks

Appetizer or starter

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

It’s clear that the holiday season is already in full swing. Halloween came up super quickly and all the stores are already decked out in Christmas decorations. Before you know it, we will all be surrounded with delicious, decadent, calorie laden food. Leaving us with a choice. Either we indulge at every turn and deal with tighter clothes and New Year’s Resolutions to get back into shape or we try to eat healthily without sacrificing a bit of flavor all holiday season long.

I’m picking choice two, and I hope you will too. That doesn’t mean you have to forego every single traditional holiday food. I intend to make pecan pie a part of my Thanksgiving. It just means making smarter choices. And, oh, those choices are going to taste AMAZING!

NatureBox

I was recently introduced to NatureBox. I’d heard of it before, but never really perused their website of checked out their snacks. Um . . . what was I waiting for??? They have a huge variety of snacks, some sweet, some savory, some gluten free, some vegan or dairy free or non-GMO. There’s a snack for everyone. Plus, all of their snacks are nutritionist approved with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, no trans fat, and no high fructose corn syrup.

When you sign up for NatureBox, you’ll receive five snacks each month. You can either choose what you want to receive (it’s going to be a tough decision!) or be surprised. Then you can rely on those healthy snacks to take you through the holidays and beyond in a deliciously healthy way.

NatureBox

Grab a serving of one of your NatureBox snacks before a party so you don’t arrive starving, ready to devour anything in front of you. Serve NatureBox snacks at parties instead of traditional greasy potato chips and heavy dip. You can even make a quick recipe to either serve at a party or bring as a hostess gift. These Flourless Fruitcake Cookies will be a huge, healthy hit.

Gluten free and full of wholesome ingredients, these cookies can satisfy you day or night. They make your holidays tasty, as well as those of the people around you. That is, if you can bring yourself to share. I loaded my favorite flourless peanut butter cookie recipe with Fancy Dried Figs, Dried Cherries, and Watermelon Fruit Chews from my NatureBox along with some walnuts for an exciting cookie with tons of different textures. The dried cherries are so plump and juicy and I love the unique texture and bright flavor of the fruit chews in the cookies. I bet you’ve never had a cookie like this. It will remind you of the best version of fruitcake . . . without all the calories.

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

I know I’ve convinced you to give NatureBox a try whether you just want to eat the snacks as is or bake with them. Luckily NatureBox is offering a free trial box that includes one full-sized bag and four single-serving pouches! That sounds like a great deal to me.

Click here to start your free trial with NatureBox!*

*Fine Crumbs: Free trial is available for new and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers”

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup walnuts, chopped

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup watermelon fruit chews

½ cup dried figs, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, egg, baking soda, honey, and vanilla until well combined.

Add in the walnuts, cherries, fruit chews, and figs and stir until well distributed.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet, mounding it together with your hands so that it doesn’t fall apart. Once all the cookies have been scooped, bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and set on top.

Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

http://piesandplots.net/flourless-fruitcake-cookies/

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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