In my news roundup this week, I posted about a cookie scuffle surrounding the Bayshore Marathon and Old Mission Women’s Club. Each year for the past oh-so-many years, the Club has been supplying cookies to the runners on race day. If you’ve ever picked up a box of Christmas cookies at the Club’s annual sale in December, you know they’re the best cookies you’ve ever tasted. However, the runners have opted for snacks like fruits and veggies instead.
At the Township Board meeting where this discussion took place, it was decided that the Bayshore folks would cut a check to the Women’s Club for $3500 – the usual amount they would have received for the cookies – and the Club members will help out in a different way on race day.
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Township Clerk Becky Chown mentioned that perhaps the Club could bake something different for the runners, and said in the Chown household, they have a few home-made protein bars that they love. So of course, I thought those recipes would be great to include in the Gazette, since my hiker friends and I are always looking for healthier options than the commercially-made granola bars, which, let’s be honest, aren’t always all that healthy.
So Becky sent along two recipes. The first is Almond Jam Bars, a recipe by Chris Morocco from Real Simple. Although they have a write-up about the bars on their website, they don’t have a link to the recipe. Fortunately, Becky sent me the clipping from the magazine. Here is what Real Simple says about the recipe:
“If you love the crumb topping on coffee cake and fruit crumbles, these nutty breakfast bars are the perfect treat for you. With a base made from oats, flour, almonds, butter, and brown sugar, these taste decadent but are packed with protein and whole grains. Jam, which is typically reserved for sandwiches, is the other star of these bars, which can (and should) be eaten for breakfast, dessert, and any time in between. Wrap the bars individually, which will make them easy to grab on busy school mornings. Oh, and make an extra batch to stick in the freezer — you’ll thank yourself later.”
These don’t have much sugar (just a third of a cup of light brown sugar), but as someone who keeps a close eye on my sugar intake (my doc says I’m pre-diabetic – swell), I bet you could even make these with just a touch of sugar, since the sweet jam is already in there. If anyone wants to modify the recipe that way, let us know how it goes.
Almond Jam Bars
Recipe by Chris Morocco for Real Simple; hands-on time, 25 min.; total time, 4 hours (includes cooling). Serves 12.
1 c. rolled oats (not quick cooking)
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. raw almonds
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 c. light brown sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. raspberry jam
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides.
Pulse oats, flour and one cup of the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt; pulse to combine. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture. Press the remaining mixture into the prepared pan using a straight-sided dry measuring cup or glass.
Spread the jam over the bottom crust. Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup of almonds. Scatter the almonds and reserved crumble mixture over the jam. Bake until golden brown and set in the middle, 35 to 45 minutes.
Let cool completely. holding the paper overhang, transfer to a cutting board and cut into 12 bars. The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week or frozen for up to one month. To make them lunch box ready, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then place in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
The second recipe is for Hempies. While I don’t know the exact origin of this recipe (if you Google, it brings up the recipe on all kinds of sites), here is a link to the recipe on Epicurious. I like this one because 1) I’m crazy about peanut butter; and 2) you don’t even have to bake it. Just pat everything into a pan and put it in the freezer. Again, I wonder how it would be if you cut the maple syrup a bit – if you try it, let us know how it goes. (And I’ve learned from Jeremiah Warren that maple syrup has lots of nutritional benefits, so there’s that!)
Also, according to this story on Web MD, hemp seeds have a ton of health benefits. For one thing, they’re one of just a few plant foods that are considered “complete” proteins, containing all the essential amino acids. Your body can also absorb hemp seed protein better than many other plant-based proteins. If you choose to follow a plant-based diet, adding hemp seeds to your food is a quick and easy way to get more protein.
They’re also rich in healthy fats, “including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these fats are known for improving heart health by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. Adding hemp oil to your diet may reduce your risk of heart problems in the future.” Good to know!
1 1/2 c. smooth natural peanut butter (a good tasting one)
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. hemp seeds
3 c. Rice Krispies
Mix peanut butter, vanilla and maple syrup until smooth. Add and mix in hemp seed and Rice Krispies. Pat into a greased or lined pan.
1 1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips
1 round Tbsp. peanut butter
Melt chocolate and peanut butter together, pour on top and spread evenly. Put in freezer for 30 minutes, and store in freezer.