Saturday is rapidly becoming my baking day. It seems as though, if I’m going to bake in a given week, it’s going to happen on Saturday. This week I was baking in preparation for a business trip next week and for Mother’s Day. Please forgive the lousy photo quality; between baking at 10 pm and having a less-than-professional camera that kept devouring my batteries, I’m impressed that I managed any at all.
First, for my business trip (and for general tastiness at snack time), I made homemade granola bars. I’ve been experimenting with these a bit, modifying some other recipes to see what I like and what works. This weekend’s attempt has its fair share of flaws, but lack of yum is not one of them.
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup milled flax seed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Tonight I tried toasting the almonds and oats in the oven at 350* for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. It did firm up the texture a bit, but it had a side effect that, had I actually spared a moment for thought, I would have foreseen: hot-from-the-oven almonds/oats + chocolate chips = melty chocolate-y goodness.
This became apparent when I combined all the dry ingredients without giving the oats and almonds time to cool. By the time I added the wet ingredient mixture, the chocolate chips had ceased to exist. Instead, I simply had chocolate bars.
They baked up just fine, however, and are surprisingly good, considering how little like the last ones I made they look. If dried fruit weren’t so expensive (and I knew where to find dates around here), I would aim to follow the “Pennies on a Platter” recipe to the letter; it looks incredible. Maybe next time… In the meantime, I have a container full of these beauties to enjoy:
With the granola bars out of the oven and cooling, I cranked out a super-easy recipe for what I’m calling Black and Whites. It’s something of a cheat for occasions when you need quick and simple cookies but don’t have much of anything aside from a cake mix (also known as broke college kid baking ).
Preheat the oven to 375*.
Take a box cake mix. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup of vegetable/canola oil. You can also add up to 1 1/2 cups of extras, from chocolate chips to dried fruit to nuts. I used a devil’s food cake and white chocolate chips.
Drop the cookies by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheets after you spray the sheets with Pam or otherwise grease them. Bake like regular drop cookies for 9-11 minutes. The recipe makes somewhere between three and four dozen cookies, depending on how much dough you put into each cookie. I got 46 out of this batch!
I’m going to serve these with brunch for Southern Honey’s mom, sister, and brother-in-law. Then I’ll bag some up and take them with me when I go see my mom and grandmother, who is in the hospital. Knowing everyone’s love of chocolate and love of cookies, I suspect they’ll be a Mother’s Day hit.
Now I’m off to bed. I’ve got to get up, finish cleaning, and get brunch ready in the morning. That means another food post tomorrow night.