Thursday Treats from 2 Health Nuts – Healthier Holiday Goodies

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A Note from our 2 Health Nuts Janine Serio & Daria Shaw:

It’s that time of year for cookie baking, fruit cake making, and egg nog partaking. Sure, it only happens once a year, and it can be a built in “treat,” but too much of your “once a year” vice is never a good thing, right? We have all been there…”I will only sample” or “just one glass.” Before we know it, we are a few cookies shy of our record consumption and the few glasses of “nog” have left us with a tummy ache (and a major head ache).

While the 2 Health Nuts are not as fond of the fruit cake or creamy Christmas concoction, this does not mean we have not indulged during past Holiday’s (hello Christmas Brunch Monkey Bread). In the month of December, we bring you our “Thursday Treats.” While still needing to be mindful, these delectable recipes will please your palate and waistline.

Married to a former teacher, one Health Nut can recall many years where, no joke, the baked goods & treats would be overflowing on the kitchen table (see picture below). Sure, the hubby would never deny himself a few chocolate chip or sugar cookies now and then but even this was extreme. Send in the other family members!

Check out these “Apple Almond Squares.” Loaded with tasty fruit and nuts, these gluten free squares are a revamped version of a fruit bar & a fabulous alternative to the traditional buttery and sugar laden cookies. These even make a wonderful mid-morning snack!

Apple Almond Squares

Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp. stabilized rice bran, optional
2 tbsp. organic, evaporated cane juice
2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 McIntosh apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened raisins
1/4 cup sliced, raw, unsalted almonds

Topping:
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Sucanat
1/8 tsp. arrowroot powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving 1-2 inches of overhang on opposite sides.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, bran (if using), cane juice, flaxseeds, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.

3. In a large bowl, mix egg, egg white, applesauce. oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in apple, raisins, and almonds. Spread evenly in dish. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Lift edges of parchment paper to remove bars from dish. Cut into 12 squares (serving size = 1 square).

4. Prepare topping: In a spice grinder, pulse Sucanut and arrowroot into a fine powder. Sprinkle over bars. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Thank you CE!

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