Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Tag: snack foods

Apple Crunch Bars

Are you bored with your breakfast and snack choices? These apple crunch bars are the perfect way to change things up a bit while still delivering great nutrition and deliciousness.  A base and topping of oats, pistachios, brown sugar, and whole wheat flour surround a cozy apple-cinnamon filling for a healthy treat that tastes like a cross between an apple granola bar and a bite of apple crisp.

apple crunch barsI posted a recipe for cranberry almond bars about a year ago, and these apple crunch bars are similar to those, except for the obvious change in filling, and this time I used pistachios in the topping instead of almonds. The filling is a version of my basic homemade applesauce recipe, and the base and topping are loosely adapted from a recipe I found in Real Simple magazine in September of 2015.

apple crunch barsI love these apple crunch bars! The apple-cinnamon combination is always so cozy and comforting, especially when the apples are bubbling away in a pot on the stove.  And the crunch mixture is so tasty, so full of salty-sweet flavor from the pistachios and brown sugar, with such a crunchy, crumbly texture that mixes so well with a fruit filling.  They really are a great breakfast choice, snack, or even a guilt-free dessert, if that’s what you are looking for.

apple crunch barsIn a few days (I can’t believe it is coming up so quickly!) my family will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  It is the time of year when we consciously think about what we are thankful for, about gratitude.  I recently checked out a book from the library about the spirituality of gratitude, because it is something I want to cultivate more deeply in my life.  It is easy to be grateful when things are going well, and more challenging to feel gratitude when things don’t go our way, or when we are struggling.  I am enjoying (though it is sometimes really hard!) going further into this practice.

I was raking leaves yesterday afternoon, and our dog kept sitting right in the middle of the tarp I was using to drag the leaves to the back of our property.  Then when I finally got him off of the tarp, he would run alongside me as I was dragging it and either step on it or grab it with his mouth and start tugging.  He didn’t want me to get anything accomplished!  He wanted those leaves to fly and scatter with the wind.  I love that about our dog.  I hope you all have a great weekend! Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love are co-hosting Angie’s Fiesta Friday this week, and I look forward to sharing this recipe over there.apple crunch barsapples and peelsthree apples

Apple Crunch Bars

  • Servings: 12 bars
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Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 3 medium sized apples, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the base and topping:

  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of pistachios, shelled (raw almonds or walnuts may be substituted, if desired)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (or 1/2 cup or 1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed

Directions:

For the filling:

Wash, peel, and dice the apples.  Place them in a small or medium pot, along with the vanilla, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are tender.  Let the filling cool slightly, then mash it with a potato masher so it becomes somewhat smooth.  Let it cool while a bit more and the filling will thicken a bit as it cools.

For the base and topping:

While the apples are simmering, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line an 8 inch square baking dish with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of paper on all sides, pressing the paper down inside the dish.

In a blender or food processor, pulse or puree the oats, whole wheat flour, pistachios, baking powder, and salt until finely ground. Transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar.  Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter and continue to work it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs about the size of a pea, and everything is well combined.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the crunch mixture for the topping.  Press the remaining crunch mixture into the baking dish, using a straight-sided glass or measuring cup to pack it down evenly.

Spread the apple filling over the bottom crust, distributing it evenly.  Scatter the reserved 1/2 cup crunch mixture evenly over the top.  Bake until golden, and set in the middle about 35 to 45 minutes.

When it is done, let it cool completely (the cooler it is, the better the bars will hold their shape–I can’t always wait till it’s totally cooled!).  Then, holding the overhanging parchment paper, lift the crunch out and transfer it to a cutting board and cut with a sharp knife into twelve bars. Enjoy!

Citrus Nut Bread

Orange zest and a half cup of lemonade infuse this bread with a subtle zing, balanced by the creamy flavors of walnuts, pecans, and milk.  Moist and subtly sweet, this citrus nut bread is a tasty snack, with nutritional benefits from the nuts and orange zest.  Savor a slice with a cup of coffee or tea, as an after-school snack, or even just grab a piece on the go.  Some may like to spread cream cheese or jam on a slice; I like it just as it is.  There is something joyful and energizing about citrus flavors.  As we wait for seasonal fruits to become ripe here, citrus can do wonders to tide us over.  Though it takes almost an hour to bake, it takes just a few minutes to zest some orange peel and mix up the batter.

DSC_1155This recipe is adapted from a favorite orange walnut bread recipe in one of the many cookbooks I have collected from various churches over the years.  Once I got started making the bread, I realized I didn’t have the orange juice the recipe called for.  I also didn’t have enough walnuts.  My husband suggested I use lemonade instead of the orange juice, and I used a combination of walnuts and pecans.  The bread turned out great! I actually like it better than the traditional orange walnut bread.  The lemonade gives it a sunny flavor and such a pretty, delicate color.

citrus nut bread on bench 2The making of this bread helped soothe my nerves.  I made it a day or so before my daughter was to leave on her overnight class trip to Chicago.  I know she loves this bread, and making it for her made me feel like I was giving her an extra hug before she waved goodbye and hopped on the bus.  It is true that food can express love in ways that words sometimes cannot. I look forward to hearing all about her trip when she gets back!

citrus nut bread on porchMeanwhile, spring marches on with warm days and cold days, bright sun, rain, and wind.  The key is to dress in layers, since it changes so quickly!  The scene around us is becoming more colorful by the day.  After the browns and grays of winter, it feels good to see such bright colors.  Our cherry trees are starting to blossom! Bright yellow dandelions decorate bright green grass.  I hope you are all having a great week!cherry blossomscherry blossoms against blue sky

Citrus Nut Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • 1 tablespoons of orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of a combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, lemonade, butter, egg, and orange zest.  Add those ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir gently until just incorporated and a batter forms.  Stir in the chopped nuts.  Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the top cracks just a little.  Test to see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When the bread is done, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy!