Wednesday, June 04, 2008

better than MCL sauteed apples

I've never been to MCL, but from the way Kira describes it, I can imagine it would be a place where they might offer cinnamon-y apples as an option for dessert. I'm also imagining that their apples might resemble the usual institutional apple-pie filling type served at buffets, and that they'd be kinda thick in consistency and super sweet. Ick.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a recipe for sauteed apples to use on top of a dutch pancake I was making. When I googled sauteed apples, this was the first recipe that came up (thank you,!) and I'm so very glad it did! I absolutely loved the way these turned out in texture, in consistency and in flavor! They were so delicious and perfect that they even inspired me to wake up 15 min earlier every day so I could make oatmeal w/these apples and raisins. Impressive!

There's not much to this recipe, but if you're like me and haven't ever sauteed apples before, it's a great first-timer recipe. I had an idea of how sauteeing apples might go, but I would have never been able to guess the proportions of sugar/cinnamon/butter or the need to boil the apples toward the end to achieve the best texture!

Without further adieu, I give you's recipe for sauteed apples...

1/4 cup butter
4 large tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons cornstarch
(I used flour because I couldn't find my cornstarch and it worked fine, you just have to make a roux with the butter and flour in order to cook the flour before the apples are added so that you don't end up with a flour-y taste)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve warm.

world's yummiest granola bars

My sister in law makes the yummiest granola bars EVER. I love this recipe because is super easy, fast and you get to play with the flavorings and textures!! I always seem to have the hardest time finding a store-bought brand that I like because if the texture is great, I'll hate the flavor combination, or vice versa. With these granola bars, you get to decide how crunchy, chewy, sweet, healthy or junky they'll turn out! Here's the base recipe, with notes on ways you can play around to get different results:

4 c quick oats (do not even THINK about using old fashioned oats. you will not be pleased with the outcome! you can, on the other hand, consider substituting a cup or two of a cereal... the finer the texture of the cereal, the better this works.)
1 1/2 c chopped whatever (nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chocolate...)
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1 whole cup, but that was way too sweet for me since I'm almost always using chocolate or raisins in my chopped whatever)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 melted butter/canola oil mix (you can play around with this as well, but I find that I like to melt a little less than 1/2 c butter in a glass measuring cup, then pour canola oil in until it reaches 3/4 c. more butter makes the bars have a richer taste, obviously)
1/2 c honey (if you pour in the butter/oil mix first and then reuse the same measuring cup for the honey, the honey will pour right out! much better than having to wait for hours for it to drip into the bowl)
1 tsp vanilla extract (don't worry, Kira, you can't taste a thing! ;-) )

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 glass pan. Mix all of the above ingredients until incorporated and press into pan. Bake about 20 min until golden brown (longer baking will be crunchier, shorter baking will be chewier). Let cool completely before cutting. I usually wrap each individual granola bar in plastic wrap so they're convenient to store and stay fresher. Yum!!