Friday, December 16, 2011

Blueberry Poppyseed Streusel bars

As a general rule, Abiline appreciates food more than Sawyer does. He's just not a big eater, although he has gotten better over the past few months, as he has been recognizing more when he is hungry and even saying that he "loves" certain foods. This is big progress. Yesterday when I fed these blueberry bars to the kids for breakfast, he actually asked for seconds. I tried to stay cool, but inside, I was having a party.  This was monumental--the only other time I can remember him asking for more of anything was for plain pasta or bunny pretzels.  Ironically, I had made these bars with Abiline in mind, since she loves Kashi cereal bars, and they are a similar formulation of crust with fruit filling. Not a hit with her, though. You just never can tell what they will like, which is why I'm always trying new foods with them.

This recipe was the result of a recipe gone awry, actually, as my initial intention was to try to make vegan blueberry jell-o, aka kanten, according to a recipe I found in the Clean Food cookbook.  Abiline doesn't really appreciate fruit, so I thought I may be able to sneak some in her jell-o.  However, I think the recipe called for too much agar, as the blob set even firmer than jell-o wigglers. After it was set, the recipe called for taking the whole pan of kanten and blending it, which just made a grainy mush.  I try to never let a cooking failure stay that way, so I turned the kanten into a creamy filling for these breakfast bars by adding some no-soy tofu. 

For the Filling:
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 1/2 tsp agar powder
pinch of salt
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 c. no soy tofu (or, if no soy allergy, silken tofu)
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds 
2-3 Tbsp. coconut sugar (optional, to taste)

For the crust/streusel:
1 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. coconut sugar
1/4 c. poppy seeds
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. non-dairy milk
1/4 c. brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. To make the kanten, in a medium pot, boil the apple juice, then reduce the heat and stir in the agar powder, salt, and lemon juice, just until the powder is dissolved. Remove from heat, add the blueberries, and refrigerate until set (about 45 mins.).
2. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a nine inch square pan. Prepare crust by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the oil, non-dairy milk, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. Stir together with a fork until evenly moistened and crumbly.
3. Prepare the filling by breaking up the kanten and placing the pieces in a food processor or blender along with the tofu, and poppy seeds. Blend until smooth. Taste and add sugar, if desired.
4. Press about half of the dough into the prepared pan, cover with a layer of creamy blueberry filling, and then crumble the remaining streusel on top of the filling. Bake for 22-25 mins. just until slightly browning on top.  The bars taste best after cooling completely in the fridge.

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