Bob’s Paleo Bars

Teaching culinary school certainly has perks. One of the best perks is everyone around you has an interest in some aspect of food. Some grow great gardens, some make cookies, share fish they caught, bread, pickles, wines, liquors, there is always something going around.

A favorite activity for me is taking part in recipe development, especially in the cookie department. While attempting to come up with the “World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” it became obvious that ‘world’s best’ is a matter of perception.

Bob’s “Good Health Balls”

Some like cookies crunchy, some soft, others cake like. Then there are nuts or no nuts, milk chocolate or what degree of dark chocolate; 50% 75% 80% cocoa? Or sweeteners, honey, sugar or agave?

I hope you can start getting the picture that “world’s best” is only world’s best to that persons mouth. Certainly their taste buds aren’t speaking for everyone in the world.

Bob is our division director and quite an interesting person. He is very health conscious, an avid practitioner and teacher of Yoga (I don’t know what kind) and is careful with what he puts into his body.

Bob is the person responsible for getting me started in baking our own bread again. He gave me a bit of his sourdough starter last year and I have kept it going and feeding without any issues. The starter makes great bread!

He found a recipe for “Paleo Bars” somewhere that he began playing with to create his own version of what he calls “Good Health Balls”

Perhaps the name needs a bit of work, but the bars are delicious. I don’t think Bob would have appreciated a post title:

“Bob’s Good Health Balls”

Nope, not going there.

They go great with coffee or tea!

Good Health Balls 

  • 1 cup               toasted chopped almonds
  • 1 cup               toasted chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup             toasted chopped sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup             toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup             toasted pistachios
  • ¼ cup             hemp seeds
  • 1 cup               chopped dried dates
  • ½ cup             shredded coconut
  • 1 cup               almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon    cinnamon
  • ½ cup             chopped dark chocolate (optional)
  • ¼ cup                almond butter (Other nut butters can also be used)
  • ¼ cup                coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons     pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large               eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon  organic blue agave

Pre-heat oven to 350°F while making the mixture.

In a large bowl, combine the almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, hemp seeds, figs, coconut, almond flour, cinnamon, and chocolate.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, eggs, and agave. Whisk together well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is moist and blended.

Form the dough into 1-ounce balls, lightly press onto a silicone or parchment paper-lined cook sheet.

A 1-ounce ball is 2 tablespoons. Make the balls all the same size, the weight isn’t as important as even size. If you adjust the size larger or smaller, you will also need to adjust baking time.

Use a small muffin tin lined with cup-cake liners instead of a baking sheet, if you like.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Balls will lightly browned on top.

Makes approximately 36  1-ounce morsels.

Notes: 

  • The dough balls can be successfully frozen.  This allows you to enjoy as many treats as you like.
    Store unbaked dough in a zip-lock freezer bag.

    Bake frozen balls for approximately 20 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
  • If you have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood, try their 72% dark chocolate.
  • Costco is a great source for hemp seeds

To your health!

 

 

Strawberry “Cheesecake”, Rhubarb Compote, Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

A bowl of Strawberries. Français : Un bol de f...

Strawberries enhance the tartness of rhubarb. Classically they go together like hand in glove. But they don’t have to.

I like strawberries and I like rhubarb, both separate and together.

The local grocery had a sampling table set up promoting hemp seeds for their nutritional value. I picked up a bag intending to use them in a multi-grain bread, but used them instead of nuts in the oatmeal crisp.

So you are really getting three desserts today; you can eat each separate and then together.

Let’s talk briefly about the hemp seeds.

Gillian McKeith's organic shelled hemp seeds i...

Gillian McKeith’s organic shelled hemp seeds in a small bowl with teaspoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These seeds are not the variety of hemp used to “get high” anymore than you can “get high” from pistachios.

They are delicious, have great nutritional value and I thought it may push the envelope a bit to use them.

You can toast them but the texture is fine so it would be best to use them in something rather than a snack food.

If you desire, substitute finely ground pistachios or almonds instead of hemp seeds.

This entire dish consists of three recipes. Each quite simple.

The beauty is you can eat the strawberry “cheesecake” without the rhubarb compote and the compote without the cheesecake.

The cheesecake in this case is not baked, does not contain as much fat as traditional cheesecake; hence the quotation marks.

Make this with cream, or half and half (even the fat-free kind), Greek yogurt, cream cheese (can also be low-fat) and low-fat sour cream if desired.

Depending upon your choices of regular, low or non fat versions, you can have a pretty nifty dessert.

Recipe 1:

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Strawberry “Cheesecake”

1 cup of whole strawberries, stemmed and washed

1/2 cup heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

1 8 – ounce package Cream Cheese

1/4 cup confectioners (10x) sugar

4 gelatin leaves or 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Puree the strawberries until smooth. Set aside.

Warm the cream cheese slightly in a microwave or wrap in a warm towel for 10 minutes to soften. The cream cheese whips better when soft.

Place the cream cheese in the mixer along with the sugar. Whip until smooth, add the strawberry puree.

Important notes about using gelatin:

If using gelatin leaves, soften the gelatin leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. When soft, squeeze out excess moisture. Add to warm liquid to melt, in this case the warm cream.

If using powdered gelatin, measure out the cold cream into a  heat proof bowl. (Stainless bowls work great) Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the surface of the cream. Allow the gelatin to “bloom” for 10-15 minutes. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water (double boiler) to warm the cream and melt the gelatin.

Careful in both cases, gelatin burns and scorches easily. Be careful and pay attention.

If using powdered gelatin follow these directions:

Heat cream and bloomed gelatin until warm and melted in a double boiler.

( A stainless bowl over pot of boiling water works nicely)

Add yogurt, be careful not to scorch, stir until warm and gelatin is totally melted.

If using gelatin sheets or leaves follow these directions:

Add the softened gelatin to warm cream and yogurt.

Stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Continue:

Add the gelatin mixture to the whipped cream cheese and strawberries.

Add the vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into desired containers: pretty stemmed glasses, ramekins, small bowls, fancy tea cups or a large dish.

I used stemmed “Marie Antoinette” champagne classes for this.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight for the gelatin to set.

Recipe 2:

Rhubarb Compote with Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

(Or Oatmeal Pistachio/Almond Crisp)

Wash and dry rhubarb

3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, washed and sliced into pieces finger width wide. Be consistent.

1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup honey or agave syrup

2 tablespoons instant tapioca

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Slice the rhubarb

Allow rhubarb, sugar and tapioca to sit 15-30 minutes
( this is called “to macerate” in cooking terminology)

Spray baking dish with pan spray or
butter the dish

Fill the baking dish with macerated rhubarb

Wash and slice the rhubarb. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar and tapioca and vanilla.

Allow the mixture to rest for 15 – 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the crisp part.

Recipe #3

Oatmeal, Hemp Seed Crisp

(Or Oatmeal Pistachio/Almond Crisp)

Combine oats, brown sugar, butter and ground nuts or seeds with a pastry cutter

Combine until the mixture looks like this; spread over top of the rhubarb; bake

Bake until golden and bubbly

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup whole butter, soft not melted!

1/4 cup hemp seeds or finely ground almond or pistachio nuts

1 teaspoon salt

Combine the oats, sugar and seeds and salt, cut in the butter until the mixture is like coarse cornmeal.

Place the macerated rhubarb mixture into a baking dish, top with the oatmeal hemp seed streusel mixture. Bake for 1 hour in an over set at 350°F or until the mixture bubbles.

Be sure to place a pan under the dish to catch all of the drippings for easy clean up.

To serve, top each chilled strawberry cream cheese dish with a generous dollop of warm rhubarb compote. Make sure you get some of the crisp part for the top. Add sliced or fresh diced strawberries if you like.

Garnish with mint leaf and serve with a smile!

Rhubarb Hemp Seed Crisp on top of Strawberry “Cheesecake”