Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

It’s finally that time of year. The time when I need a steaming hot cup of chai every evening, and I put pumpkin into nearly everything I eat. Seriously. Probably 98% of my meals include pumpkin in some form. That’s to talk about another day, though. Today we’re focusing on apples. Apples that are so crisp and crunchy that sprinkling cinnamon on top or dipping into peanut butter is quite unnecessary. Really, who would want to mask the flavor of an apple in it’s prime? Okay, I admit I still do the peanut butter thing a lot. It’s just too good.

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Actually, Justin an I went apple picking over the weekend and wound up with 20 pounds of apples (and beets, and broccoli). So my refrigerator is pretty full. Apple are going into everything: oatmeal, flatbread, stir fries. Everything. I figured I should probably do some baking with these hand picked apples, and while pie seems to be the tradition this time of year, I’ve never really been a fan. Except for this certain pie my mom always made that had a streusel topping. And even then, I just ate the filling and a disproportionate amount of streusel in comparison to what should’ve been allotted to my slice. I’ve always been a streusel fiend. Once, a friend suggested (jokingly) that I just make a batch of streusel topping. So I did. I called it granola to make myself feel better about the situation. It was worth it though. I also made streusel topped cookies, which I should probably do again.

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Anyway, I decided to go with apple streusel oatmeal bars this time around.

There is something so magical about the combination of apples, pecans, and brown sugar. It really is fall in one bite. These bars are perfectly soft and doughy on the inside, with a wonderful crunch on top. The sharpness of the apples is balanced by the warmth of pecans (the best nut, in my opinion) and cinnamon, the quintessential fall spice.

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Save the edge pieces for yourself. You won’t be sorry. Maybe I should think about getting one of those brownie pans that makes all of the pieces the edge piece. Does anyone have one of those? Are they worth it? Also – those crumbs are valuable. Don’t let anyone else have them. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal for a real treat.

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium apple, finely chopped (about 1 and 1/4 cups)
  • For the streusel
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (room temperature)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil or line with parchment paper an 11-inch by 7-inch baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax and water. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract and flax mixture and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Pour in the flour, oats, corn starch, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. Fold in the apples. Press mixture into prepared baking dish.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together all streusel ingredients with fingers until crumbly. Pour over the prepared dough and press down slightly to compact the mixture.
  6. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until edges are just golden. Cool in baking dish for at least an hour before cutting.
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Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

What have you been baking with apples this year. I’ve been trying to add them to more savory dishes (roasted with sweet potatoes and beets – so good!) But mostly I just slice them up and eat them plain.If you have a surplus of apples that need using up, do be sure to try my pumpkin apple butter. I made it a few times last season and it never lasted long enough. I suggest doubling (Tripling! Quadrupling!) the recipe.

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

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Chipperdoodles

Chipperdoodles (vegan!) | Whole Pure Recipes

Something about this time of year makes me crave snickerdoodles. The problem is, I can never seem to stick with the original. Well maybe it isn’t such a problem. In fact, it’s led me to all sorts of cookie delight. This season’s rendition? The chipperdoodle. I debated about name for quite a while. Snickerchipper? Chocolate Doodle? Both fine names, but eventually I decided that chipperdoodle was the cutest. And who can argue with a cute and tasty treat? Not I, that’s for sure.

Chipperdoodles (vegan!) | Whole Pure Recipes

So about these cookies. I was so excited when one of my coworkers told me it tasted like a chocolate chip snickerdoodle. Up until that point, I didn’t know if I had biased taste buds. These cookies have all the cinnamony goodness one expects in a snickerdoodle, with the added bonus of a crunchy turbinado sugar coating, and a very generous sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. Because, obviously, miniature chocolate chips are cuter than their full size counterparts. Plus you can fit so many more of them in each bite. Which is a priority.

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Anyway,I made these cookies for a work meeting, and they were gone within the hour. I guess that’s a good sign. And in fact, I’ve decided to make cookies (or muffins, cakes, etc. a weekly thing at work. This way I’ll for sure have something worthwhile to share with all of you at least once a week. I’m aiming for more, though!

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Chipperdoodles

Yield: 20

Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax plus 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons non dairy milk of choice plus more if necessary
  • 2 cups white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ground flax and water. Set aside to gel for 2-3 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour in non dairy milk and flax egg and mix until full incorporated.
  4. Pour in the flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, and mix until fully incorporated, careful not to over mix. The dough will be slightly crumbly, but should stick together when you squeeze it in your hands. Add additional non dairy milk if necessary, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach this consistency.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Pour the chocolate chips into a small bowl.
  6. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll in the cinnamon sugar, and press into the chocolate chips. Place on baking sheet and flatten with fingers, leaving about an inch between each. The cookies spread minimally while baking.
  7. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, until golden on the edges.
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P.S. If you’re thinking about your annual holiday cookie baking extravaganza (we all have those, right? Right. Phew.) these cookies certainly fit the bill. You won’t get one complaint. Not a single one. Unless, of course, you invite someone into your home who doesn’t like chocolate. And if that’s the case, well they’ve already lost their right to an opinion! If you’re looking for other seasonally appropriate cookie options, be sure to try my chewy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!

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Bakery Style Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Spice Muffins

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Wow. It has been quite some time since I’ve made an appearance here. That is not to say, of course, that I haven’t been in the kitchen. No, no. I’ve spent countless hours cooking and baking my heart out. I just got out of the groove. I was, perhaps, in a rut. I didn’t feel all too inspired.

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Maybe it was the warmer months that really threw me off. But come Autumn, my favorite season (of course), pumpkin arrives on the grocer’s shelves, the scent of cinnamon fills the air, and the crisp fall breeze gently nudges me back to the kitchen (now that I can bear to turn the oven on). And what better way to start off the season than with warm, comforting, muffins.

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They’re the perfect fall treat, if you ask me. Especially with that big, bakery-style domed top. That is, after all, the best part of a muffin. And, in fact, the only part I would eat as a child. The domed top comes from baking these muffins at high heat for a brief time before lowering the oven to a more traditional muffin making temperature.  These autumn-inspired muffins are full of texture from crunchy toasted hazelnuts, melty chocolate chunks, and the perfect bakery-style streusel topping. A batter full of spicy cinnamon and ginger, along with a healthy dose of molasses, remind us that Autumn is here to stay. Happy first day of Fall (well almost . I just couldn’t wait)! Celebrate with muffins! You’ll thank me, but not before you’ve consumed half the batch in one sitting.

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Bakery Style Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Spice Muffins

Yield: 12 Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or other neutral oil*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or lightly grease a standard muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside to gel for 5 minutes while you mix the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger until dispersed. Set aside.
  4. To the flax egg, whisk in almond milk, 3/4 cup sugar, molasses, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until a homogenous mixture is formed. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold in until just combined, then fold in chocolate chunks and 3/4 cup hazelnuts. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts and sugar.
  6. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 24-26 minutes, until golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Notes

*You can replace up to 1/4 cup of the oil with applesauce

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What are your staples in Autumn? I  can’t seem to help myself from stirring a bit of pumpkin into everything. And apples, oh the apples! My cravings for apples have been simply insatiable. I think I actually screamed a little when I saw Honeycrisps for the first time of the season. I see all sorts of apple filled  goodness in the future. There is serious potential for a pumpkin-apple pairing, too.

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