Garden City Granola Bars and Getting Back to Food Blogging!

I know, I know. Taking my dang time posting new recipes, aren’t I?

But here I am, living in Cape Town, South Africa (things have changed up a bit since my last post which was…EEK…in October). I’ve been neglecting my poor Mile High Pie for job and grant applications. But recently my dairy allergy (I am super sensitive to the protein called casein found in cow’s milk) has been acting up like crazy! So I’ve been making a lot of my own snacks, as dairy is difficult to avoid in store-bought items here. Case in point: I cannot buy non-dairy yogurt other than shelf-stable soy stuff which is way overpriced. It’s awful because I love yogurt, so I’ve been cheating and eating bulgarian yogurt a bit…needless to say it’s uncomfortable!

But back to baking. Seeing as I’m here for the next few weeks still and have had some interesting culinary experiences, I figured it’s about time to pick up the figurative pencil and write down a couple of my recent recipes.

First things first: Garden City Granola Bars. These are an adaptation of a few recipes I’ve found online, with my own influence (yes that means chocolate) thrown in there.

2014-07-05 20.20.41

I absolutely love them for hikes, days exploring the city, or mid-morning munchies. I actually came up with the recipe at 4am one day when I just couldn’t sleep and needed something semi-productive to do. You know how that goes, right? No? Just me at 4am? I guess I forgot to mention that I live above a club and when it closes at 4am and all the happy (and occasionally angry) drunken souls pour out, it’s difficult to sleep. I have become remarkably good at turning city noise into white noise though! Back to the recipe…

Garden City Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • ½ cup puffed rice cereal
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts
  • ¼ cup diced dried fruit
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ heaped cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs water
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

  • Toast the oats, puffed rice, fruit and nuts in clean pan on stove top (just until the mixture begins to brown and smell delicious), empty into bowl and set aside.
  • In same pan, melt all the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate) together. Heat until bubbling.
  • Turn off heat and mix in dry ingredients.
  • Pour out mixture onto a cookie sheet pre-lined with baking paper. Spread out and into ¼-½ inch thickness (rectangle shaped for easier cutting).
  • Let cool for a few minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut into bar shapes. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Immediately after taking out of oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. They will melt on a bit and be secured as they cool!

2014-07-05 20.22.41

Roasting the dry goods before mixing creates a distinctive, nutty flavor and makes your kitchen smell divine!

2014-07-05 20.21.53

What the mixture should look like as it cools, after you shape it.

IMG-20140704-WA0003

 

Baking complete!

 This is of course not the only bar I was able to make. I also made Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars by Chocolate Covered Katie. These were TO DIE FOR.

20140709_162101

 

The recipe has three layers and quite a few ingredients which makes it seem complicated – but it actually isn’t too bad. One thing that was very interesting though was figuring out the mint flavoring. In Cape Town, at least so far, I have been unable to find mint extract or flavor. I had to actually buy those mint oil capsules (you know, the ones for indigestion!), and cut them open to get the oil! Mission accomplished, and I got my mint chocolate deliciousness. Check out her recipe. Definitely recommend.

20140709_154846

 

Center layer consisting of soaked macadamia and cashew nuts, peppermint oil, coconut oil, vanilla, sweetener and (gasp!) spinach.

20140709_153003

Top chocolate layer, which contains cocoa powder, coconut oil and honey.

20140709_151138

Crust layer of coconut, dates, cocoa powder and walnuts.

20140709_161933

These buddies are amazing. I keep them in the freezer until an hour or so before I want them, when I pop them in the fridge. After that time lapses, the centre layer takes on an ice cream like smoothness. And they’re totally dairy free. I’m in heaven.

Alright that’s it for now. I’ve been experimenting with coconut yogurt recipes and falling flat on my face. I think the probiotics I’ve bought are either dead, or totally different than what I need. Anyone have advice? Until next time!