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Monday, June 6, 2011

AND THE TURTLE PULLS AHEAD... a cookie and two bars
We all know what's it like. When you're out of it, there's nothing anyone can do to help. You just have to wait it out.

My enthusiasm for cooking went away for a while. I don't know why and I don't know how. And it wasn't just all those things I love doing in the kitchen; it was everything I knew about cooking and baking, and all my interest in food (I rarely visited cooking sites and recipe blogs and even neglected my own). They all just left.

Everything I cooked tasted terrible, my breads (and people who know me know I am crazy about breadmaking) were either hard or gummy, and one batch of buns I made were so salty though I don't remember adding more salt than usual.

On top of that, my oven went on the blink. A non-functioning oven is, of course, one of the biggest misfortunes for any avid baker. The trouble started when it wouldn't heat from the bottom. Later, the top started overheating. Only certain dishes can be cooked in the oven now. Breads are okay, since they do well in high heat, and cookies are all right, since they only take minutes to bake. But cakes are out ­­– the centre hardly cooks. And that's the reason the Tiger Brownies here look terrible.

Oh yes, the cookie and two bars in the picture above. I'll come to those in a bit.

Long story short, I'm back to cooking and baking and happily being in the kitchen now. My oven is still wonky, but I'll have to use it until I put my new one in.

Right, the cookie and bars. The theme for the June issue of Don't Call Me Chef was "road trip". My story was on food aptly named for travel, and I featured Rocky Road Chunky Chews. The other three snacks that I mentioned are featured here.

First up is a Happy Trails Bar. These are high-fibre granola/muesli bars and use whole wheat instead of white flour. With all the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, they're healthy and great to snack on anytime of the day. I have a set of recipe books from Pillsbury and one of the books has a recipe for apple sauce granola bar. I have adapted the recipe below from that one. On the Pillsbury website, however, there is a recipe for Crunchy Trail Mix Bars which has a topping of cereal.
A bar that's full of energy
½ cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed soft brown sugar
½ cup apple sauce*
1 egg
1 cup fine whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon allspice
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup trail mix^
  • Preheat oven at 180°C. Grease a 24cm square baking tin.
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in apple sauce and egg; blend well.
  • Sift flour, allspice, bicarbonate of soda and salt together; add to the butter mixture and mix well.
  • Stir in trail mix. Spread into prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
* Cut peeled apples into cubes; place in a saucepan with a tiny bit of water and cook until soft enough to mash; purée. Store tightly covered in the fridge.
^ Mix your choice of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and grain together. The one used here is a combination of sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, dried coconut, dates and crystallised ginger.

Next are Tiger Brownies. As you can see from the picture, the tiger stripes (made from cream cheese) are not at all distinct. The bottoms of the brownies are also undercooked and I admit, I had to smoosh two bars together for them to look a little presentable. So I am cheating here with the picture.
A brownie that earns its stripes
However, I have made these before when the oven was fine, and they turned out well. The Pillsbury website has a recipe for Tiger Brownies that utilises a fudge brownie mix (the picture on the site looks delicious!). There are lots of recipes from scratch online (look for cream cheese swirl brownies and colour the cream cheese mixture with food gel ­­– mix yellow and red together as in the Pillsbury recipe).

Finally, I mentioned Turtle Cookies in my article. After the Rocky Road Chews, these were my favourite snack to make because of the amusing shape. The cookie dough is good even without the turtle's head and feet, but why omit them, right?
A cookie that makes you smile 

One of my Pillsbury books has a recipe for Snappy Turtle Cookies. Since the recipe is also online at Pillsbury's website, I am directing you there. I followed it to a T(urtle!)

1 comment:

  1. I get that sometime totally burnt out! Glad to know I am not the only one lol! Anyway, I love those turtle cookies, so cute!


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