Thursday, May 21, 2009

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

Healthier version of store bought granola bars. These tastes better and have none of the icky preservatives. The only problem they are too good to have just one.

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup reduced fat peanut butter (you could substitute almond butter if you like)
½ cup white chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over sides. Butter foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Mix oats, raisins, and pecans in bowl. Combine butter, sugar, honey and peanut butter in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and mixture is smooth and begins to boil. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until well coated. Mix in chocolate chips. Transfer to prepared pan. Using spatula, press mixture evenly into pan.
Bake oat mixture until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Using foil as aid, lift out of pan; place on work surface. Using large sharp knife, cut into 18 bars.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I had the urge to cook but not the urge to go to the grocery store. This easy treat can be made simple with things already in your pantry! (Plus a Candy thermometer)

1 cup butter
1cup sugar
3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces (I used chips and I worked fine)
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, toasted

Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (standard cookie sheet) with foil extending foil over the edges of the pan and set aside.

Butter the sides of a 2-quart heavy saucepan. In saucepan melt butter; add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir on medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at moderate steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 290˚F, soft crack stage. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into prepared pan, spreading quickly.

Let candy stand about 2 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill about 20 minutes or until firm. When firm use foil to lift out of pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
No candy thermometer not problem:
Using the cool water test you can see if you mixture has reached the right stage.

Thread stage:(230 to 233 F) when a spoon is dipped into the hot mixture, then removed, the candy falls off the spoon in a long, fine, thin thread.

Soft-ball Stage: (234 to 240 F) when the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, the candy instantly flattens and runs over your finger.

Firm-ball Stage: (244 to 248 F) when the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, it is firm enough to hold it's shape, but quickly flattens.

Hard-ball Stage: (250 to 266 F) when the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, it can be deformed by pressure, but it does not flatten until pressed.

Soft-crack Stage: (270 to 290 F) when dropped into cold water, the candy separates into hard but, pliable and elastic threads.

Hard-crack Stage: (295 to 310 F) when dropped into cold water, the candy separates into hard, brittle threads that snap easily.