Trail mix is such a great snack and so easy to make! I make a mix with some healthy ingredients I usually have on hand—dried cranberries, coconut flakes, roasted almonds, chopped dates, and of course, dark chocolate chips! If you’re not crazy about dates, you can chop up your favorite energy or protein bar and use that instead! I often use different chocolate flavors of Lärabars in this trail mix instead of dates! RX BARs would be good too!Continue reading
Summer is the perfect time for making citrus-flavored muffins, like these Orange-Almond Muffins! They have a great orange flavor, and sliced almonds give them a light, nutty taste. They’re good without any toppings, but if you’re making these muffins for a brunch or tea, you may want to fancy them up a bit with the Simple Orange Glaze and a few other toppings!Continue reading
I found some blueberries at a really good price at my local market, so it was the perfect time to make this Blueberry Almond Pound Cake! If you like blueberries, you will need to try this–it’s so moist, dense, and rich! You can also use frozen blueberries in this cake, but the baking time will be slightly longer. I prefer using fresh blueberries because the frozen berries tend to give the batter a blue-ish color. The almonds and almond extract give this pound cake a really nice flavor and the glaze adds a little extra sweetness. Serve it for dessert at dinner or at a brunch with coffee or tea.
BLUEBERRY ALMOND POUND CAKE by NancyC
Makes one 10″ bundt cake
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup sliced or coarsely chopped almonds
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream), depending on desired consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 Tablespoons sliced or coarsely chopped almonds for garnish (you can lightly toast them if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan; set aside.
In large bowl, blend butter, cream cheese, almond extract, and sugar until mixture is creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamy mixture and mix well.
Stir in sliced almonds, mixing to evenly distribute in batter and then gently fold in the blueberries and blend evenly into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean (do not over bake, or cake will be dry).
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a serving plate (you may need to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan a little with a knife). Let cake cool completely.
While cake is cooling, mix the glaze ingredients and after cake cools, drizzle glaze over the cake. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Makes about 8-10 servings.
Have you been enjoying fresh blueberries this summer too? What kind of blueberry baked goods have you been making lately?
I love those crunchy Nature Valley Granola Bars, so I thought this would be a good recipe to try. It originated from Americas’s Test Kitchen, but I actually found these granola bars on Bakerlady. I adapted the recipe by making them into Honey Almond Granola Bars by using almond extract instead of vanilla, canola oil instead of vegetable oil, adding a little extra salt, and leaving out the cinnamon, since I didn’t want it to take away from the almond flavor. I also added some milled flaxseed for extra fiber. I liked the way these turned out, so I plan on making them regularly! They don’t taste exactly like Nature Valley Granola Bars, but they have the same great crunchy texture. Since I eat a lot of granola bars, I’m sure I will save money making them myself! Making your own granola bars is also much more eco-friendly, too, when you think of all the packaging used for those store-bought bars.
This recipe works best in a 13 x 18″ pan; if you make it in a 10 x 15″ pan the bars will be thicker and harder to cut. Also, you should not use quick-cooking oats–be sure to use Old Fashioned Oats!
CRUNCHY HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA BARS by NancyC, adapted from Bakerlady
Makes a 13 x 18″ pan (about 24 to 30 bars, depending on the size you cut them)
- 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons almond extract (if you just use 1 Tablespoon, the almond flavor will be very, very mild)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons milled or whole flaxseeds or wheat germ (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375˚F.
Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, oil, and salt, mixing until oats are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring oats every 10 minutes, until pale gold, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and lower temperature to 300˚F.
Combine honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.
In large bowl, combine the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ (if using), and almonds, mixing until ingredients are blended well. Then add the honey mixture and stir with a large spoon or rubber spatula until the oats are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture.
Spray the baking sheet, still lined with foil or parchment paper, with non-stick spray and spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the sheet. Spray a large spoon or metal spatula with non-stick spray and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make a flat, tight, even layer. Bake at 300˚F until golden, about 35 minutes.
Cool granola in baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes before cutting into bars with a knife or pastry scraper. Cut bars all the way through (2 x 3″ is a good size), then allow the bars to completely cool. Do not wait any longer than 10 minutes to cut the bars because they harden up as they cool and become difficult to cut.
You can put the bars in a covered container and store for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: You can make Cinnamon Walnut Granola Bars by substituting vanilla extract for the almond extract, chopped walnuts (or pecans) for the almonds, and adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the honey and brown sugar mixture.
Do you like crunchy or chewy granola bars–and do you have a favorite granola bar recipe?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday.
Eating healthy is something I’m trying to do more and more. I limit the amount of red meat I eat and try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. But when it comes to baking, I’ve never been quite sure how to make desserts and other baked goods healthier. So the opportunity to review the Green Market Baking Book came along at just the right time! The subtitle of this cook book says, “100 Delicious Recipes for Naturally Sweet & Savory Treats,” and that is very true! Looking through the book, I found mouthwatering recipes like these…
- Spring Carrot Teacakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Honey Strawberry Shortcakes with Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Peach and Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
- Blueberry Ginger Sauce
- Chocolate Honey Tart
The recipes are divided by seasons so you can buy the ingredients fresh and locally. All the sweet treats are made with natural, healthy sweeteners instead of refined sugar and artificial sugar products. In addition to yummy sweets, there are also recipes for delicious savory items like breads, biscuits, muffins, frittatas, pizzas, and more, contributed by some of the best chefs and bakers across America. The book also includes dairy and gluten-free recipes, as well as low-fat and vegan options. The Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Basil Cornbread, Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits, and Dill Ricotta Torte are a few of the savory recipes that sounded really wonderful to me! The author, Laura C. Martin, answers some questions about baking the healthy way in the beginning of her book and includes helpful information about ingredients used in the recipes (organic produce, natural sweeteners, grains and flours, butter and oils, and dairy). And each seasonal section of recipes includes tips on choosing the best, freshest produce. Near the end of the book, Martin also has some information and tips on freezing, canning, and drying produce, along with tips on growing your own produce. So, in addition to lots of yummy recipes that are good for you, this cook book also has a lot of very practical, helpful information about baking and eating healthy! I decided to make the homemade Granola Bars first because, in my continuing efforts to eat healthier, I have been trying to eat a granola bar whenever I’m craving a candy bar. It has been working pretty well, but I’ve been wanting to make my own granola bars because that would be even healthier. And these granola bars turned out great! They’re very easy to make and are sweetened with brown rice syrup, a natural sweetener which has the consistency of honey, but is not as sweet-tasting. The only ingredients I had to buy from my local health food store were the brown rice syrup and the whole grain spelt flour; I had most of the other ingredients on hand. These granola bars are thick and chewy and filled with lots of yummy, healthy things: chopped dried apples, cranberries, cherries, and almonds. And they’re so healthy that you can feel good instead of guilty about eating this treat! The recipe in the book says it makes 36 bars, which would be pretty small; I cut mine about double that size, into 16 chunky, delicious squares!
CHEWY GRANOLA BARS (Dairy-Free, from the Green Market Baking Book)
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
- 1 3/4 cups total of chopped dried apples, cranberries, cherries (or other dried fruit), or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ground flax and water to form a paste. Set aside. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix together the dry ingredients. In a third bowl, mix together the olive oil and brown rice syrup. Add the flax paste. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and incorporate well. Pour the batter into an 11 x 7 1/2″ baking pan, pressing the mixture down firmly. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown. Let rest about 10 minutes until slightly cool, then cut into bars.
Linked to Sunday Showcase.