Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raising the Bar

At my boyfriend's request, I sought out to find a tastier, less manufactured alternative to Power Bars and the like. After searching the web for hours (not really, I was just trying to add some drama), I came across a recipe for Peanut Energy Bars. They're full of nuts, seeds, fruits and oats, adapted from Amy Harrison's prize-winning submission in the Plains (Georgia) Peanut Festival recipe competition sponsored by The Peanut Institute. The bars include protein thanks to the generous amount of peanuts and peanut butter, and they're a great pre-workout snack or breakfast on-the-go.

Peanut Energy Bars

1/2 cup(s) dry roasted salted peanuts
1/2 cup(s) roasted sunflower seeds, or other chopped nuts
2 cup(s) raisins, or other chopped dried fruit
2 cup(s) rolled or instant oats
2 cup(s) toasted rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
1/4 cup(s) toasted wheat germ (optional)
1/2 cup(s) creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter
1/2 cup(s) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup(s) honey
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

1. Coat an 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine peanuts, sunflower seeds (or other nuts), raisins (or other dried fruit), oats, rice cereal and wheat germ (if using) in a large bowl.
3. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar and corn syrup (or honey) in a large microwaveable bowl; microwave on High until bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until blended. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press down firmly. (It helps to coat your fingers with cooking spray.) Let stand for about 1 hour to harden. Cut into bars.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fudge Brownies

It's Monday and I couldn't think of a catchy headline to my post about brownies. "Fudge Brownies" should be enticing enough. I got this recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday. Don't overbake these brownies - otherwise they won't be as moist.

Fudge Brownies

8 oz. semi-sheet chocolate, chopped
1 stick of butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking pan. Line bottom and two sides with parchment paper - cut it to make sure about 2 inches hangs over the 2 edges. Butter the parchment paper. In a large bowl, microwave chopped chocolate and butter about 2-3 minutes. Mix until smooth. Add sugar and mix until combined. Add eggs. Sift and mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix just until combined. Don't overmix. Pour into pan and bake on the middle rack for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out nearly clean (it should have a few moist crumbs).

Cool 20-30 minutes. Take two edges of parchment paper and pull the brownies up and out of the pan. Slice however you choose. Eat and enjoy.