Monday, January 30, 2012

Low-Fat Granola Bars & Poached Pears!

Here we are again!

Sadly I did not get around to doing the coffee shop review like I had planned this weekend. Instead I made granola bars and poached pears!

The granola bars were because my boyfriend and I seem to go through about 2 boxes of these a week and I'm looking for a healthy (and cheap!) alternative!

This recipe was taken from the Cookin' Canuck and her pics are awesome! I apologize for the 'ruggedness' of my pics but I kind of forgot I was planning to blog all this until I was almost finished!

My only complaint about these granola bars is that the texture came out kind of gummy, and I'm wondering if I did something wrong! Maybe I didn't bake them long enough? Or I should have toasted the granola longer? Does anyone have any recommendations to fix this??

The taste is also not very sweet, since it has no added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the banana, cranberries and the sugar-free apple sauce. I shouldn't really be surprised since I was looking for a healthy recipe, but the Cookn' Canuck recommends adding a couple tablespoons of maple syrup or honey, and I think this might be a good idea. I also substituted walnuts for the pecans, as that's what I had on hand. As it is, it kind of has the taste and consistency of bread. Not horrible, but kind of straaaange for a granola bar.
(*Note- these taste better the more I eat them! Maybe they're like one of those cakes that has to sit so that all the flavors meld into each other... definitely tastes better after a day. Also, my boyfriend likes them and he's very picky. And DON'T add to yogurt, tastes way better on their own.)

Low Fat Granola Bars with Bananas, Cranberries & Pecans
Yield: Makes approximately 24 bars.
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck.

  • 3 1/2 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed (or flax meal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, with about 1 inch of parchment paper overlapping the sides.
  3. Spread out the oats and chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until they are lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in applesauce until combined.
  5. Transfer the oats and pecans to a large bowl and stir in dried cranberries, ground flax seed (flax meal), cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  6. Stir the banana mixture into the oat mixture until well combined and starting to clump together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press down evenly.
  7. Bake until the bars are golden brown and starting to separate from sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  8. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into bars.
  9. Before I put it in the oven!

  10. Serve or store in an airtight container.
After I put it in the oven!

As for the Poached Pears, I made this for a movie night with my friends and it was a smash! This is a combination of two poached pear recipes I got from working as a pastry cook! It's very easy and relatively painless to do! After making the pears, I served them warm with a couple scoops of vanilla ice-cream and some caramel sauce! A-Maz-Ing! I have also tried this with Basil Ice-cream and Cardamom Ice cream and it's verrry lovely! The caramel really pulls everything together and if you want you could also add some crumbled Sandies (or Sable as we called them in the kitchen), graham crackers, or nuts for some added texture!

Poached Pears:

-4 Cinnamon Sticks
-4 Bay Leaves
-4-5 Boshc Pears (Anjou will also work)
-Equal parts sweet, white wine & water (I used Moscatto as that's what I had on hand, but I highly recommend Riesling!) I ended up using 3 cups of each, totalling 6 cups of liquid, but it should be enough liquid to cover your pears!
-3/4 cup of honey
-1/2 tsp of Vanilla or 1 Vanilla Bean
-Zest of 1 Lime
-Zest of 1 Lemon

-Peel the pears and put everything in a large pot.
-Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer.
-Simmer until the pears are slightly translucent and a knife will go easily into the pear.
-When the pears are done (about 45mins), scoop out the pears and let them cool. They will continue to cook slightly due to residual heat in the pears so be sure to remove them from the liquid or the cooking process will continue even after you have turned off the heat!
-Strain out the spices and zest and continue to boil the liquid in a clean pot. Simmer this down until it resembles an amber, sticky syrup.
-After the pears have cooled you can split the pears down the center using a paring knife and scoop out the seeds with a spoon or melon-baller. I also like to carve out the stem, using a knife in a small 'V' incision.
-Store the pairs in the syrup and serve warm.

Alternate recipe for syrup:
-After you have made the syrup, you could also mix this into 2 pints of heavy cream.
-Put the Cream/Syrup mixture into the fridge to cool and once it has chilled whip the cream for soft, pear flavored whipped cream (aka Chantilly Cream)
-Serve chilled whipped cream with warm pears on a bed of crumbled Sable cookies.

Simmering Pears! Oh My!
Remove Pears & Let Cool.
Reduced Syrup and Pears
Pears with Seeds & Stems Removed.
Pears in Syrup- YUM!

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