Sesame-Cashew Snaps

My husband has a love (…ok craving…) for sesame snaps and frequently buys them at grocery stores. It looks deceptively healthy…after all it’s packed with sesame seeds, which are nutritious right? However, a look at the ingredient labels reveals that the snack is basically made up of sugar. For example, of the four ingredients in a Sezme brand sesame snap, three of the ingredients are sugar based. Here is the entire ingredients list: Sesame seeds, glucose syrup, sugar, honey.

I was determined to make a healthier version. But I was disappointed to see that most of the recipes out there on the Internet for homemade sesame snaps or sesame bars use quite a lot of sugar or sweeteners as the main ingredient as well. I really wanted a healthier, lower sugar version. So when I stumbled across this recipe (see source) from bon appetit for Sesame-Peanut Bars Recipe by Molly Mitchell, I was ecstatic!! I tried it out right away, making some modifications and a winner was born! I absolutely love the fact that it only calls for ¼ cup of honey. Try it yourself!

Sesame-Cashew Snaps

Recipe by: Dietitianmom
Makes about 16 snaps

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups raw or toasted sesame seeds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup unsalted, roasted cashews (chopped).
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar)
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9 x 13 inch glass bakeware pan with parchment paper, with sufficient overhang on all sides.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients (sesame seeds, coconut, chopped cashew nuts, salt and optional ingredients like the flaxseed meal and chia seeds if desired).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (honey, sunflower seed butter, and vanilla)
  4. Add the wet ingredients mixture to the dry sesame seed mixture and mix well.
  5. Scrape mixture into prepared baking dish, and then press firmly into an even layer, as thinly as you can!
  6. Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges (at least 20–25 minutes, depending on how thick the mixture layer is).
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm (this will take at least 30–40 minutes). Lift the entire parchment piece with the baked layer out of the bakeware (if it starts to crumble, let cool longer) and let it cool fully. Then cut into rectangular snaps.

This is a very easy and versatile recipe, and quick to throw together when the snack craving hits. Use whatever you have in the kitchen, be it toasted or raw sesame seeds, sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut shreds. I’m sure it will work fine with other nuts too such as chopped pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts! Feel free to experiment! You can also make these bars a few days ahead of time and store them in an airtight jar or container. However, if you don’t intend to eat all of this right away, the best method I’ve found to maintain the crispiness of the sesame-cashew snaps is to freeze them in an airtight container. Then take some snaps out to thaw for about 10 minutes before consuming.

The problem? Now I’m addicted!

(Source: Sesame-Peanut Bars. Bon Appétit. http://www.bonappetit.com.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/sesame-peanut-bars. Published September 2015. Accessed June 20, 2017.)

 

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Fresh Cranberry & Pear Crisp

I initially created this recipe below to use up some fresh cranberries I had on hand from the winter holidays. But my husband and child loved it so much that I’ve made it a few times since, including taking it to potluck meals. Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry & Pear Crisp

Recipe by: DietitianMom
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 pears (ripened pears work best)
1 cup fresh cranberries, pierced
4 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼-1/2 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup or agave nectar)
1 cup old fashioned/rolled/large flake oats

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Peel and cut pear into slices. Layer the pear slices, covering the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Rinse and wash the fresh cranberries, then pierce each with a toothpick. Then throw the cranberries into the baking dish, evenly dotting the pear slices.
  • In a bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar (add the amount you desire), cinnamon, nutmeg and oil together.
  • Sprinkle this oats combo mixture over the pear slices and cranberries in the baking dish.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then serve!

Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you like. This is a great recipe to involve your preschooler or older child in, as it’s easy to make and is ready to eat in no time! My preschooler had lots of fun helping me pierce each fresh cranberry with a toothpick. The best part? Since the ripened pears are already sweet, you don’t really need to add too much additional sugar to sweeten the dish. So adjust the sweetness level to what you prefer by the amount of brown sugar (or maple syrup or agave nectar) you add. This crisp keeps for a few days in the refrigerator and tastes delicious cold too!

Simple Dairy & Egg Free Birthday Cupcakes

chocbdaecakesRecently, my daughter’s birthday came up and I thought it was a great opportunity to make some dairy and egg free birthday cupcakes. Not that my daughter has an allergy to cow’s milk or egg, but my past experience in pediatric food allergy research has granted me a heart for families with children that have multiple food allergies and need simple easy but great tasting recipes. Plus the dietitian in me just can’t resist trying out a new recipe when I get the chance!

Below is a recipe I found but then modified slightly to reduce the sugar content. It’s super easy and not too sweet.   There’s also no need to use a mixer. Make it chocolate flavored or not! The family loved it and I hope you do too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 -¾ cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl (use a 1/2 cup of water first) and then stir to combine together.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until a smooth batter is obtained. Add a bit more water if the batter is too thick.
  5. Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9 inch pan or 12 cupcake molds.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven for cupcakes or 35 minutes for a cake until done (or when toothpick or knife inserted in the cake comes out clean).
  7. Cool before applying frosting if desired.

Tips: If you use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of the brown sugar, then mix up the batter without adding any water first. Depending on the thickness of the batter, slowly add in tablespoons of water and mix until the desired baking batter consistency is reached. For a gluten-free option, you can try to use 1 ¾ cup of gluten free flour mix instead of the wheat flour and include 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum in the recipe. For those who simply want a vanilla cake, just double the amount of vanilla in the recipe!