Tag Archives: apple

Extreme Makeover: Bagel Edition

25 Jan

I hate to waste food. And, as you have learned, I love leftovers. So what to do with 7 100 calorie mini cinnamon raisin bagels that have been languishing in my freezer since August? I think that since I bought them while on vacation, the novelty of a mini 100 calorie cinnamon raisin bagel seemed too much to resist, blinding me to my better judgment which would say that this item isn’t something I’d normally eat (they are good, but pretty small for 100 calories). By the time January rolled around, freezer burn had definitely started to set in. But I couldn’t very well just throw out 7 bagels – over half the package! What better way to use them up than by making bagel chips? Baking these lifeless bagels in the oven would crisp them up nicely, and the freezer burn wouldn’t be an issue.  I thought I’d go about making bagel chips in a similar way as to make croutons. Here’s what I did:

I started by cutting the bagels into thin slices (if the shapes look a bit odd, it’s because the bagels had already been pre-sliced in half, so I couldn’t get perfectly round slices). Then I spread them in an even layer on my stone (but you could certainly use a metal baking sheet). I did two batches, mainly because I wanted to test half first to make sure they turned out.

I sprayed the cut bagel pieces with PAM and then sprinkled with cinnamon and Splenda. I tossed them around a bit, then applied a bit more PAM, cinnamon and Splenda. I baked the chips for about 50 minutes at 300, tossing the chips twice during that time to ensure they crisped evenly (since I was using a stoneware pan, I would check on these a bit earlier if you use metal).

I let the chips cool thoroughly at room temperature. The result? A sweet, spicy and crunchy snack – and no wasted bagels! I’m sure you could do this with any variety of bagel (100 calorie or not) – sweet or savoury, and switch up the seasonings. Wouldn’t ranch dressing mix be great on plain bagels? Or garlic salt (that really takes me back to the garlic bagel chips of my childhood – anyone else?) If you try any good flavour combos, please share them!

Since the bagels were 100 calories each, I divided them up into mini ziploc baggies by the number of bagels I started with (ie 4 bagels = 4 baggies) and had my own homemade 100 calorie packs.

I went beyond just eating the chips on their own – I incorporated them into the delicious parfait you see to the right….seriously yummy! I cooked a chopped apple in cinnamon, water and Splenda, and let it cool slightly. Then, in a wine glass, I layered one fat free sugar free vanilla pudding cup with the apple and one bagel’s worth of the chips. I topped it all off with fat free whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon…and enjoyed a mug of tea on the side. It was a great combo of sweet, creamy, and crunchy. I also think the chips would be great at breakfast over yogurt.

Another thing I did with the chips? Mixed them into my original sweet snack mix! I mixed 1/2 cup of cereal, 1 small package freeze-dried apples, 1 package yogurt-covered pretzels (slightly broken up) and 1 bagel’s worth of the chips. I can’t wait to try this stuff!

If you any kind of freezer burned bread, don’t throw it away. You can make chips like I did, or cut it up and use for croutons (use the same basic method). It’s a great way to use up something that’s a bit past its prime and not let anything go to waste.

Have you ever turned a freezer-burned tragedy into a culinary triumph? What did you do?

Advertisements

Cinnamon Apple Almond Pound Cake

22 Jan

As I mentioned on my snow day, I will take any opportunity to bake. Sometimes, however, those opportunities are not exactly pleasant circumstances, as was the reason for making this cake. An acquaintance of my mother’s passed away. Since I knew I had the day off and would be baking anyways, I offered to bake something for the grieving husband. I am not very good at offering condolences or wise words after the passing of a loved one. However, food is something I can do. I have learned in the last year or so that you don’t need to be an expert in grief counseling to be there for a friend. Just being there and offering whatever you can is enough, and often appreciated more than you might know.

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite recipes from one of my favourite cookbooks: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. This book has everything I love – decadent recipes for delicious desserts, beautiful illustrations, extra tips and in formation, and lots of beautiful details (polka dots, frills and dessert quotations). If you are like me – girly and a dessert-lover, you should seriously consider buying this book! I haven’t made a lot of recipes from it, but so far everything has been delicious.

I started with the recipe for My Favourite Cream Cheese Pound Cake and went from there. I halved the recipe so it would make one cake instead of two. I have lots of apples in the fridge, some of which are going soft and needed to be used up, so I thought that an apple cinnamon pound cake sounded pretty tasty. I made a streusel, and added some chopped almonds that have been sitting on my counter since last week’s 5 day fast forward.

What I did is make the recipe as directed, then poured half the batter in a loaf pan. I topped this with half of the streusel and 2 chopped, peeled apples. Then I added the rest of the batter and topped with the remaining streusel. It looks like it turned out well – kind of sorry I won’t get to taste it, but I’m glad to be able to offer something to a grieving family. Only 2 minor issues – the apples increased the bake time A LOT (it took about an hour and a half)…and getting it out of the pan. I let it cool, then loosened with a knife, but for some reason only the top half came out when I flipped it over. I was able to use a spatula to loosen the bottom half and set it directly on top, and then flip the whole thing together and I think it looked okay.

Mmm…the batter for this cake is so yummy! That is my one major weakness – when I am baking, I just can’t stop myself from eating the batter and licking the bowl – and I know all that tasting adds up!

Here’s the adapted recipe:

Cinnamon Apple Almond Pound Cake

Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

4 oz (half a package) cream cheese, room temperature

1  1/2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 small apples, peeled and chopped

Streusel:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

Several dashes cinnamon

1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Make the streusel: combine butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until crumbly. Stir in the almonds, set aside.

Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla.

Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour along with the baking powder into the batter (I just measure them both into a fine mesh strainer and shook it over the batter) and, using a large rubber spatula, fold in until no traces of flour remain and the batter is smooth.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the streusel and the chopped apples. Spread remaining batter over the apples and sprinkle with remaining streusel . Bake until the top is golden and slightly cracked (this was about 90 minutes for me, but I would start checking after about 75 minutes) and a skewer inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for at least ten minutes, then run a knife around the sides and turn the cake out on the pan to cool completely before serving.

This cake freezes beautifully. If you want to make plain pound cake, just omit the apples and streusel and bake for 60 to 75 minutes. You can double the quantities above to make two. This cake is great in trifle.