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Peanut Butter Food Bars

food bars 1 Peanut Butter Food Bars

A friend relayed a great analogy from Facebook yesterday – it’s as if Canada is in a snow globe and someone keeps shaking it. We’re hiding out on the westernmost side of Vancouver Island, keeping tabs on the continuous dumping from what sounds like the only place in the country where green and colourful things are growing OUT OF THE GROUND.

With no TV, W had essentially no choice but to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on iPad approximately elevenhundred times, and yesterday wanted to go into the kitchen and make food bars (as per the movie). He decided that here on in he would exclusively eat food bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we would no longer have to worry about feeding him. More fish tacos for us.

His plan was to pulverize soup ingredients and shape them into bar form, producing a Willy Wonka-esque mash-up that replicated breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one. But I convinced him that we should instead make something that we’d actually eat – peanut butter bars with oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate. Pilfering the cupboards we came up with pumpkin and sesame seeds, raisins and chocolate chips, so that’s what went in. You can use what you like, or what you’ve got.

mixing bowl Peanut Butter Food Bars
food bar batter Peanut Butter Food Bars

We made ours in the ceramic bowl with the slug on the rim that’s usually reserved for popcorn.

(Apologies for the photos – my camera and laptop are being temperamental, and have possibly reverted to island time, which makes me want to unplug them both and go get me some fish tacos to eat in the forest. Think I will.)

Peanut Butter Food Bars

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
Pinch salt
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, peanut butter, milk, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add all the additions you want to add and stir just until blended.

Spread the batter into a 9×13-inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 12-18 bars.

button print gry20 Peanut Butter Food Bars

March 29 2014 | snacks | 12 Comments »

Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Ponchiki Collage Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Q: What do you get when you cross a Russian doughnut with a Timbit? A: Ponchiki!

Russian Doughnuts 7 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

I had never heard of these dense, cheesy fritters before yesterday, but they seemed appropriately Russian-Canadian-snackable to serve up while planted on the couch glued to hockey or snowboarding or luge. We’ve already started to call them Those Little Russian Doughnuts.

Russian Doughnuts 6 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

They’re made with farmers’ cheese, a dry, crumbly cheese that looks like ricotta would had it been pressed a little more. Ricotta would work just as well – I added some sour cream to the farmers’ cheese to moisten it a bit. Some recipes I came across called for raisins in the dough – I used currants, which are more easily dispersed and seem like an ingredient my grandmother would have used. Not that she was Russian – they went into her butter tarts. But someone’s Russian grandma must have used them. Perhaps when I’m a grandma I’ll make Russian ponchiki. And Ukranian peroghy and Belgian beef carbonnade, and Danish Æbleskiver.

Russian Doughnuts 5 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

The dough is dense and cheesy – I had more than a cup of farmers’ cheese left, and so went ahead and used it – most recipes called for the spoonfuls of relatively wet batter to be rolled in flour before being lowered into the the hot oil, but mine wasn’t sticky enough to need it – it could be rolled into neat balls by hand without making much mess. Either way.

Russian Doughnuts 4 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Once nicely deep golden, set them on a double thickness of paper towel and douse in icing sugar.

Get yourself a fresh cuppa coffee and eat warm.

Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

1 cup farmers’ cheese or ricotta
2-3 Tbsp. sour cream (if the cheese is very dry)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup raisins or currants (optional)

extra flour, for rolling
canola or other mild vegetable oil, for cooking
icing sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl, stir together the cheese, sour cream, sugar and egg. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until you have a thick batter. If you like, stir in some raisins or currants.

Put some flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Scoop medium spoonfuls of batter and roll in flour to coat. Heat a couple inches of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking – a crust of bread should sizzle if you dip it in. Gently lower a few ponchiki at a time into the oil – don’t crowd the pot – and cook until golden on the bottom. Flip and cook for a few minutes on the other side, until deep golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Dust with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar while still warm. Makes lots.

pixel Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts
button print gry20 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

February 11 2014 | dessert and snacks | 9 Comments »

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