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Apple cinnamon crunch bars

 
In our October/November 2011 issue, we featured three fantastic food bloggers to check out how they inject their own personal style into their cooking. Ann Claire McBride of A Flourishing Foodie focused on healthy eats that prove that living well doesn’t mean nixing taste (and treats). In her own words…


A great after-school snack or light breakfast, these crunch bars combine two of my favorite fall flavors: cinnamon and apples and will have your whole house filled with the scent of the season. If I'm feeling a little fancier, I'll crumble a bar on top of some yogurt and fresh fruit for a satisfying snack. The bars are also fabulous crumbled atop ice cream; add caramel sauce for a truly fabulous dessert.

Ingredients:


2 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup walnuts, almonds or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apples, chopped

 

Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
 
In a medium sized skilled combine oats, salt, and 2 tablespoons canola oil. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring regularly. The oats should become fragrant and slightly browned in color. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl combine brown sugar, honey, applesauce, cinnamon and remaining canola oil. Set aside.

Put the nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse to a fine mill. Add  chopped nuts to the liquid mixture. Next, place toasted oats in the food processor or blender and pulse just a few times. They should still retain much of their texture. Add oats and apples to the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and pour into prepared baking dish.  Using a rubber spatula or clean hands press the mixture into a thin even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should be lightly browned but not burnt. The bars will still be soft upon removal from the oven; they will harden during cooling. When cool, cut into bar sized pieces using a large chef's knife. Store in the fridge to maintain optimum crunchiness.
 
Variation: For peanut butter crunch bars, reduce amount of oats by 1/2 a cup, replace nuts with peanuts, and replace 1/4 cup of the canola oil with peanut butter.
 
Crumble crunch bars with fruit and yogurt for an easy and delicious parfait, pictured above.

 

Thanks, Ann Claire!
 
 

BY ANN CLAIRE MCBRIDE, A FLOURISHING FOODIE ON 9/27/2011 12:51:00 PM

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