Cherry Oat Bars

Ingredients sometimes create necessity! I had some sweet cherries unexpectedly and wanted to use them up. So this was the result.

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water

Crust & Topping Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vegan butter (I know)

Process

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  • Prepare a 9 x 9 pan. Oil and/or line it with parchment.
  • In a saucepan, add cherries and sugar and place over medium heat until warmed through.  
  • Combine cornstarch, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water, whisk. Add mixture into the cherries and stir.  Gently crush cherries somewhat while stirring.  This should thicken fairly quickly. Remove The cherries from heat when at the desired thickness and set aside.
  • Food process (Or blend) flour, oats, salt and baking powder until fine. 
  • Add butter and pulse until mixture just begins to come together.
  • Place 2/3 of oat mixture into your baking pan and press to form the bottom crust.  
  • Spoon cherry mixture over the crust, and then sprinkle the top with remaining oat clumps.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.  
  • Allow to cool at least 1 hour before slicing

Cherry Chocolate Guinness Bread

Last weekend, I was unexpectedly craving fresh cherries. I am not that big of a cherry fan, so who knows. At any rate, I put cherries in my Imperfect Foods order. Then I forgot I did that and put them in my Instacart order. It was a whole bunch of cherries.

So, I started looking for bread to make – of course I did. And then I happened across a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Porter Bread on Connoisseurus Veg. And that seamed perfect as a starting point. I made adjustments here and there, because I do that.

I made this recipe in loaf pans, so I have been calling it bread, but it’s definitely closer to cake – in the same way that banana bread is more like cake. My bread didn’t come out 100% the way that I wanted, so I’ve made some adjustments here that should make it even better! Because my ganache went south, I ended up with a LOT of ganache and made it into a thicker layer rather than a glaze. But the recipe here is for a ganache drizzle. This recipe makes enough for two loaves.

Ingredients

For the Bread

  • 511g flour
  • 400g sugar
  • 95g cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 11.2 oz. bottles Guinness 
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine melted
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 575g fresh cherries pitted and halved

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 185g vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk or creamer

Process

Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease or spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add porter, margarine and vanilla. Stir just until blended.
  5. Fold in cherries.
  6. Pour into loaf pan.
  7. Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Ganache Drizzle

  1. Place the ingredients in a glass or metal bowl.
  2. Fill a saucepan (that the bowl will fit in) with about an inch of water.
  3. Bring to a boil and then lower the bowl into the water.
  4. As chocolate begins to melt, start whisking and continue until everything is incorporated and smooth.
  5. Drizzle over cooled loaves.

Warm Food for the Snow Shovelers – Soup and Muffins

My loving spouse and 4 of the six children (oldest wasn’t here and youngest wasn’t forced into it) went out this morning to shovel several inches (8? 10?) of snow off of our walk, drive, cars, etc. So, while they were out, I did what I always do when someone goes out to shovel – I cooked. Today, it was cherry banana muffins (to go with hot chocolate right after the shoveling) and putting on a big pot of navy bean soup for dinner. By request, I post the recipes for both here!

Cherry Banana Vegan Muffins  

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
2/3 cups raw sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/3 t salt
1 cup water
1 t vanilla extract
6 T vegan butter (or oil)
3 ripe bananas
1 cup diced fresh cherries

Mix dry ingredients in bowl and gently toss in chopped cherries (be easy here or you’ll turn your muffins pink).  Mash bananas and add remainder of wet ingredients and mix.  Combine wet and dry ingredients gently.  Place in muffin tins with or without cupcake papers and bake at 350* until done (this took about 25 minutes for me).

Navy Bean Soup     

Ingredients
1 lb dry navy beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
3 large carrots or 2-3 cups baby carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
8 T of veggie bullion mix
(or 8 cubes if using cubed)
8 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all in large pan and cook on high until boiling vigorously and then lower heat and cook on medium until tender.  Age of beans will impact how long this takes, so give yourself plenty of time.  If they get done too early, you can always refrigerate and gently reheat.  When the beans are near done, you may also wish to add a couple cups of grain to complete the protein – barley or rice are good options.  I did this one tonight with arborio rice (which had not been added yet in the image above).  If you do not have any veggie bullion, add 1.5x the vegetables, and some minced garlic or garlic powder, tumeric, and a little more salt.

Both of these are very easy, though the bean soup does take a little time.  And, they are pretty perfect for a snowy day!