Thursday, October 23, 2008

And here... we... go!

10 points for whoever knows that one!

Tonight's events may be posted in multiple entries throughout the night, just to warn you...

I've been running around like a crazy lady since I got home today. I've pretty much been alternating between opening the oven door and washing dinner all evening! So we're having a pre-Halloween dessert thing tomorrow so I've been baking a LOT. One of the girls is allergic to nuts and anything that has been anywhere near tree oil, so I went to my trusted friend, Veganomicon. Oh Isa, how I love you. I decided to make two bar-type things, but only one is completed as of yet. But you know me: I'm a scavenger! So I nibbled all the way through the process.



Here's the recipe:

Apple-Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars (adapted from Veganomicon)

Makes 12-24 bars*


3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp light vanilla soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar
2.5 tbsp canola oil
pinch of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg

Apple filling:
3 lbs Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced

1 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp water
pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

Peanut butter caramel:
2/3 cup reduced-fat Skippy (apparently it's not manufactured with tree nuts)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Prepare the Crust: Place the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil and mix until moistened. Add the soy milk and mix with your fingers; the crumbs should hold together if pinched. Press the crumbs firmly into the prepared baking pan to form a crust.

Prepare the topping: Place the flour, sugar, and spices in a mixing bowl. Drizzle 2 tbsp of oil
into the flour and mix with your fingertips until crumbs start to form. Keep tossing the mixture with your fingers; you want the crumbs to be fairly large for crumbs. Add more if necessary.

Prepare the apple filling: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, coating all the apples.

Layer the apples into the crust and sprinkle the crust with topping. The topping won't solidly cover the entire pan; just sprinkle it randomly over the top so that the apples are peeking through in places.
Baker for 40-45 minutes, until the apples are tender.

When the bars are almost done baking (after 35 minutes), start preparing the PB caramel: Mix all ingredients well with a fork, in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 3 minutes. The mixture should soften and slide off the fork in ribbons.
When the bars are done baking, drizzle the caramel across the top. Let cool COMPLETELY (I am impatient and tried to cut them twice before they were ready... THIS DOES NOT WORK!!); you can place the pan in the fridge to hasten the process. Slice into bars and serve.

*The recipe makes 12, I made 24 to make them smaller so we can try more treats!

Even after these were completely cool, they were still tricky to cut and lift out of the pan. They're a little messy...

My friend Caitlin sent me this hilarious book of essays as a surprise birthday treat. I started it when I took a breather to have a little dessert (dinner's will come later... sorry about that). Here's the first paragraph of "The New Mecca":

If you are like I was before I went to Dubai, you may not know exactly where Dubai is. Near Venezuela? No, sorry, that is incorrect. Somewhere north of Pakistan, an idyllic mountain kingdom ruled by gentle goatheards? Well, no.

I can't wait to read a little more when I'm cozy in bed!

And now, to wind-up, backtrack, rewind (crazy lady, I told you!):

I had my first Ginger Snap Larabar today.

Verdict: Pretty good, but not my favorite. I think I'm at a consensus with most of the blog world in that Coconut Cream Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie are pretty darn hard to beat. While leafing through the November Gourmet, I found just what I didn't know I was craving for dinner.

Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp! (Adapted) Serves 2 1/2 onion, chopped 1 shallot, chopped 1 tbsp EVOO two shakes cinnamon pinch ginger pinch nutmeg 1 14- oz can diced tomatoes pinch sugar 1/2 lb shrimp (I used frozen, thawed) 1/3 cup feta dried thyme (garnish)
Preheat oven to 375.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and sugar and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Season shrimp with a little salt, then stir in tomato sauce. Transfer to a small baking dish (I used a glass loaf pan) and top with feta. Bake about 20 minutes, until just cooked through. Sprinkle with thyme.

I had this with a little brown rice and raw broccoli. I didn't end up needing any salt on the shrimp, and usually I'm a total salt fiend. I really liked this recipe; it would be delicious served over angel hair pasta.

Back to baking!

I'm trying to figure out how to make a special section for "recipes" so all you have to do is click to find it. So far I'm a little technologically challenged... does anyone know how to do this?


Andrea said...

fantastic opost! the apple caramel bars look soooo good woww

Anonymous said...

wow! those apple PB bars look sensational!! I love the huge chunks of apple and glooby PB. PB is only good when glooby, I think. That's a word, right? I think I may be saying that all day!

VeggieGirl said...