Tag Archives: sweet potato

Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola Bars

Anyone who knows me really well is familiar with my love for peanut butter and jelly. I could eat a PB&J sandwich every day. If it weren’t for all the other wonderful nut butters in the world I probably would. My fridge is always stocked with at least two, more likely three or four, different kinds of nut or seed butters. Right now I have a GIANT jar of PB, a tub of tahini, and a jar of T.J.’s sunflower seed butter. I’ve been on a serious open-face, forget-the-jelly, nut butter on toast sandwich kick lately. That and toast with avocado, smoked sea salt, and pepper are my lunchtime obsessions.

Back to the peanut butter and jelly. I used to find peanut butter kinda scary. It was sooo high-calorie and so high-fat! I tried to get away with spreading as little of it as possible on my sandwiches and, consequently, never savored that peanut butter’d up sticky mouth feeling.

Nowadays, no one can tell me to use less peanut butter, or any nut butter for that matter. Those are healthy fats and useful calories, especially for a vegetarian! The same goes for baking with nut butters. I purposely bought a two-pack of giant PB jars at Costco so I could bake with it. Otherwise, one PB-containing recipe can use up most of a jar!

Determined to bake something other than 5-minute-a-day bread last week, I broke out the giant peanut butter jar, some grape jam, and some oats for a batch of granola bars. It’s been quite a while since I made granola bars last and I’ve never found a recipe that I really, really love. This one comes close. The bars held together. They’re fully on the healthy side of the spectrum (in my opinion) and they’re beautiful to look at!

After a sample, I carried these over the hill to Lee’s work, where hungry engineers promptly devoured them. This was my second walk of the day with Doc, who was thrilled to go on a granola bar delivery. The weather in San Francisco was summer-like for a couple of days last week and I did not let it go to waste. Come to think of it, isn’t there something about summer weather, PB&J, and granola bars that fits together? It’s like a deconstructed childhood memory centered around summer camp lunchboxes and snacks eaten on the grass.

I couldn’t make these bars without including an unusual ingredient. I think they owe at least some of their deliciousness to the leftover sweet potato I mashed into the mix.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran (or wheat germ, or oat bran, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 a baked sweet potato, peeled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey (more if you like things sweeter)
  • 1 "flax egg" (2 tablespoons flax seed meal + 4 tablespoons water)
  • About 1/3 cup grape jam
  • Additional 1/4 cup oats for topping
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened, dried coconut for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a square or rectangular baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together flax seed meal and water, set aside.
  4. In a larger bowl, mash sweet potato.
  5. Add honey, peanut butter, and "flax egg" to sweet potato, mixing well.
  6. Add oats and wheat bran, stirring until mixture is evenly moist.
  7. Spread peanut butter-oat mixture into prepared pan, flattening it with a spatula or spoon.
  8. Spoon jam on top and and spread evenly over peanut butter-oats.
  9. Sprinkle reserved oats and coconut over the jam.
  10. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until firm and starting to brown at the edges.
  11. Remove pan from oven, lift bars out with parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.
  12. When bars are partially cool, place them on a cutting board (parchment and all) and cut into squares.
  13. You can put the bars back on the rack to cool, with or without the parchment. I kept mine on the parchment for easy transport and cleanup.
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Crustless sweet potato goat’s milk pies

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I thought long and hard about what to call these. They combine so many good things into one little package: sweet potato pie, goat’s milk, single servings, crustless-ness… In the end, I went with the briefest title that would do justice to such a flavor-packed little dessert.
My inspiration for these began with a snippet in the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine. The article suggests baking pumpkin pie in ramekins rather than a traditional crust. I love the idea of a crustless pumpkin pie! I’ve always liked the custard filling better than the crust anyway. I filed that recipe idea away in my brain as something I’d have to try this fall. Then I saw these Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes on Baking Bites and almost decided to make them instead (I’m sure I will, soon enough). Instead, I combined the crustless pumpkin pie concept with the cupcake idea and added my own, unique twist.
I pulled out the 6 pack of Texas-sized silicon muffin cups I got a Reny’s earlier this summer (apparently muffins are bigger in Texas). Rather than stick with pumpkin filling, I looked up the sweet potato pie recipe I made for Thanksgiving last year. It was a hit on Thanksgiving and a bit more substantial than pumpkin. When I realized I’d need evaporated milk another twist on the traditional came to mind: evaporated goats milk! I know, it’s weird, but I really love the taste of anything made with goat’s milk (cheese, yogurt, you name it). I have always wanted to try baking with the canned Meyenberg evaporated goat’s milk I see in the store. This was my chance!
So how did my little experiments turn out? They’re delicious! The sweet potato filling is velvety, nicely spiced, and satisfyingly dense. I love the smooth texture and melt-in-your-mouth quality of custard pie fillings. The goat’s milk flavor is definitely there but it’s not so strong that it distracts from everything else.
These mini-pies are really easy to make. They only require one bowl. I divided the batter into 6 large muffin cups but it would fit in 4, for more generous servings, or in ramekins of a similar size. You can eat them right out of the muffin cups or pop them out onto a plate with some ice cream or whipped cream. This takes the drama out of decided how big a piece of pie you want after dinner. Spoon or fork, enjoy dessert one bite at a time!

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Crustless Sweet Potato Goat’s Milk Pies
Adapted from Real Simple

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 tbsp orange juice, optional (part of the original recipe. I left it out but it might add a little something)
1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/2 a 12oz can evaporated goat’s milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook sweet potato in the oven or microwave. Peel it and mash it in a bowl.
In a separate bowl or a mixer, beat butter and sugar together till smooth.
Beat in egg, agave, and orange juice, if using.
Add sweet potato, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine.
Spoon into large silicon muffin cups arranged on a cookie sheet or oven-safe ramekins.
Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool for a few hours before serving. Heat them up or devour them eagerly at room temperature.

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