Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sometimes I just go to the store with absolutely no planning involved. Well, I PLAN to go to the store but I am, on occasion, shopping on a whim. Yesterday was one of those days. I had been reading about protein bars and how to make them, comparing ingredients in power bars, kashi bars and thinking about my gluten free life and seeing how I could put that all together. I guess it would be similar to when I am drawing or doing a creative writing project. The food items are the canvas and tools and it is up to them to come together to be something--I just hope it is something palatable!
In the organic whole food section of the store I purchased dates, almonds, dried coconut, dried cranberries, and more gluten free oats. At home I knew I had this protein powder in the pantry that was really unfriendly in most of the recipes I had tried with it. I guess I am not a banana creme lover after all--don't tell the monkeys.
So, back at home I go--ingredients in the car and ideas in my head. First I knew I wanted to soak the almonds, oats and dates. The oats to remove some sort of acid a friendly blogger mentioned to me--what acid it was--no idea (details escape my ADHD brain). Perhaps she will be kind enough to chime in to remind me! I had to soak the dates to make them easier to use as a paste and the almonds were to be soaked to make them less flavorful--ok, just kidding, I soaked the nuts because it is the thing to do! ( I forgot why)
I am super glad I did soak all of them because the results were a benefit to the end results. The oats with the dates made a fantastic paste that just blended so well together. The soaked almonds added a different texture to the end result that made it feel more earth like and natural, more wholesome. I liked it! I soaked them all for 30 minutes, however, the dates were soaked in hot water, nuts and oats in cold water.
After the soaking and draining, I removed the pits from the dates and added those along with the soaked oats to the hand blender blender. (Dear Santa if you can see this, please may I have a food processor for the holidays?)The oats were really in no need of draining as they plumped right up and absorbed more water than I thought they even would! Once these were fully blended into a paste I added that paste to the stand mixer. I tossed in some dried cranberries, some dried unsweetened coconut and an egg and let that blend together.
While that was mixing I took out my handy dandy coffee grinder (which has never seen a coffee bean) and ground up those soaked almonds into a chucky meal of sorts. You can see how there are still considerable chunks in the grinder along with tiny little almond fragments. I added this right into the stand mixer as well. Then I threw in the protein powder and some cinnamon then watched as it made the dough. I was apprehensive and curious--like a mad scientist waiting to see if the creature would live. I thought about short circuiting the outlet to give the bowl a charge but thought better of it. I then remembered to add some xanthan gum to the batch to make sure once it was baked it would still all be as one versus a bunch of weird lumps of granola or something.
I lightly greased a pie pan ( do not use a pie pan, use a 9x9 pan) I dumped my new creation into the pan. You can click the image of the blob to see what it looks like. Very, um, blob like with lumps of goodies poking out. I then wet my hands (if you cook gluten free you should know this trick) and began smoothing out the dough with my wet hands. Wet hands do not get the dough stuck to them. Nifty, right?
I then took the pan and placed it in the oven and laughed maniacally while rubbing my hands together. I was alone in the house so this was OK behavior. I baked this for 35 minutes, until the edges were brown and the top golden. When I sliced this up and took some out I thought--hey these look like Biscotti! So, I plated some and took some pictures and then threw them onto a non-stick pan and placed them back in the oven to toast them up.
You could certainly serve these after the first baking, they smelled so wonderful and had great texture--chewy and crunchy. I just wanted to see what they would do if I baked them again. I left them in for 25 minutes with the oven still on 350 degrees and checked them for burning while they cooked.
I was very pleased with the end result, as were the kids and the hubby. This is a keeper for sure and I will be making these in batches to freeze for breakfast bars. These will now be a part of a healthy breakfast in our New Hampshire home!
Biscotti Protein Bars
13 whole dates
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups protein powder
1 cup raw almonds
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 TBL cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
Calories Per 2 cookies-360
Fat- 14 grams
Carbohydrates- 30 grams
Fiber- 7 grams
Protein - 32 grams