One of my favorite blogs is written by Katie at Good Things Catered. She has amazing meals, party planning skills, and creativity in decorating. I love browsing all her ideas, and then promptly *stealing* them. (Seriously, if you haven't made Angie's Strawberry Cupcakes yet, you don't know what you are missing!) Anyway, this post is about two recipe raves for some recent jewels that she has posted!
A few months ago I feel in love with her Apple Crunch. I started craving it again as soon as she mentioned her new twist - cranberry apple crunch! I was sure I'd be a purist and stick to the original, but I bought a bag of cranberries for the other recipe I'm highlighting here, and figured I'd give the cranberry version a whirl to use up the extras. WOW, I am so glad I did! The cranberry take is even more amazing than the original, something I didn't think was possible! This stuff is heaven in a bowl - especially when combined with homemade ice cream. I altered it slightly since I'd be just me whoofing it down. :-)
Cranberry Apple Crunch
Source: Mixed and matched two recipes from Good Things Catered (here and here)
~1 to 1.5 cups fresh cranberries
~3 large apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used macintosh)
~1/2 cup oats
~1/2 cup packed brown sugar
~1/4 cup whole wheat flour
~4 Tbsp butter, cold
~1 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp nutmeg
~1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with baking spray (I used a 1.5Q oval casserole dish). Spread fruit mixture evenly in baking dish. In medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut butter into small pieces (or grate with a grater) and add to dry ingredients along with the vanilla. With pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until all butter is about the size of a small pea. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over fruit. Place baking dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until apples have cooked down and begun to caramelize (oops! I left it in for 55). Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
The second recipe I wanted to talk about is Cranberry White Chocolate Bars. Now, I'm making them as written for a work event this week, but I figured I'd like to mess around with the recipe and see what I could do with the nutritional profile. (I mean, I realize I am still talking about a sugar filled dessert, but I can at least try, right?) I've had a bottle of agave nectar hanging around for a few months and I really wanted to experiment with using it in baked goods. I also wanted to revisit using pureed white beans in brownie/bar type recipes. Finally, I just picked up some whole wheat pastry flour, and hear that it can be used to substitute for white flour in these types of recipes (unlike whole wheat flour, which is only recommended for replacing half of the white flour in a recipe). So, I sat down and tweaked a little here, a little there, threw it together and ended up with an almost cake/quick bread like cranberry and (sunken) white chocolate bar. I can't wait to try the real version later this week, but so far, I am loving the results of my tweaking! I just have to remember next time to toss the chips in some flour so they don't sink straight to the bottom of the pan!
Cranberry White Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Good Things Catered
~2 Tbsp butter, softened
~1/2 cup packed brown sugar
~1 individual size container of unsweetened applesauce
~2 Tbsp agave nectar
~1/2 cup white beans (I used navy), pureed
~1/2 cup egg beaters (or 2 eggs)
~1 tsp vanilla
~1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
~2 scoops vanilla protein powder
~1/2 tsp baking powder
~1/4 tsp baking soda
~1/4 tsp salt
~zest of 1/2 orange
~1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
~1 to 1.5 cups dried or fresh cranberries
~1/2 cup white chocolate chips, tossed in flour to prevent sinking
~1/8 cup oats
Preheat to 325 degrees and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, zest, nutmeg and set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on high, about 3 minutes. (I actually tried doing this with a hand mixer and it was a failure so I can't comment on what it should look like!) Turn mixer to low and beat in applesauce, then agave nectar, then white beans. Slowly add egg beaters, then vanilla until thoroughly combined. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Remove from stand mixer and stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips. Spread batter in pan, sprinkle over top with oats, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 1 hour. Remove from pan and cut into squares.
So, the results? It may not seem like much, but I'm pretty happy with the 40 calorie drop, and the loss of over 4 grams of fat per 1/16 portion of the recipe. I also love the gain of some fiber and protein. YAY!