Monday, August 12, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Krispy Treats

I first made these this past spring, in an attempt to use up various odds and ends in the pantry, namely crispy rice cereal, a key ingredient in these go-to breakfast bars. Interestingly enough, I found myself in a similar position this past weekend with two weeks to go left in my stint out in Utah.

I've been trying to stay away from chocolate, as I have, generally, an insatiable sweet tooth. Famous last words. I'd have to say, these are pretty virtuous -- no processed sugars (save what's in the Nestle chips I opted for this time; I usually use/have on hand Ghiradelli and/or Green & Black's) and all wholesome, minimally processed ingredients.

The best part? They're super easy to make and very satisfying. Just watch out for chocolate-covered fingers. Don't blame me if chocolate ends up dribbling down your front. Evidence of a tasty treat!

Healthy Chocolate Krispy Treats

The bars:
3/4 cup brown rice syrup (can also try half maple, half brown rice)
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet (70%) chocolate
2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups crisp rice cereal

The topping:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet (70%) chocolate, plus more if desired
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt (such as Maldon)

Line an 8x8 square pan with a sling of parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the syrups to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula. Remove from the heat and stir in the nut butter, chocolate, coconut oil, and fine salt until everything is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Fold in the rice cereal and pack the mixture firmly and evenly into the lined pan (damp fingers can help here).

In a small saucepan (or the same big one, if you've scraped it clean), melt the remaining chocolate and coconut oil together over very low heat, stirring constantly just until melted (be careful not to scorch the chocolate). Pour the chocolate mixture over the rice mixture, spreading it smooth. Sprinkle the flaky salt over the top.

Let the bars set at cool room temperature (about 2 hours) or in the refrigerator (about 1 hour) until firm. Lift the sling out of the pan, trim away the edges if you like, and cut into 16 squares.

Makes 16 two-inch bars

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs with Toast Soldiers

It's been eons since I've posted. Why?

Finishing up my third term at engineering school. Finals. Moving in with a (now) ex-boyfriend. Moving out of his place. Packing and unpacking and repacking for a summer out west all in 24 hours. Driving cross-country. Re-falling in love with my happy place in the summer. And doing more hiking and playing outdoors and making new friends than I ever could have imagined.

It's been the best summer, putting myself first and cooking lots of good, fresh food -- but I've failed in writing recipes (as I sit here scrambling to find a recipe for these bars I made this spring). I'll try and make good in the next two weeks, though, and catch up!

Here's one of my favorites, and something I may have this morning myself.... ENJOY!

Growing up, whenever my sisters and I were feeling under the weather, my mom would always make soft-boiled eggs, which she'd scoop on top of little cubes of buttered toast, so the molten center would soften each crispy piece. It was the best kind of comfort food — easy to prepare, satisfying, and, unlike a rich mac 'n' cheese, healthy!

Nowadays, I prefer to dip buttered toast soldiers into my egg, lightly seasoned with flakes of sea salt, rather than pour the egg on top. It's a simple and easy breakfast or snack, any time of day.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Toast Soldiers

2 eggs, preferably heirloom varieties, at room temperature
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 slices toast, toasted
Sea salt, to taste

Submerge eggs in a small saucepan covered with 1 inch of water. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil over high heat and immediately add the eggs. Turn the heat down to medium-low, keeping the water at a gentle simmer (about 180 degrees). Once simmering, cook for about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the eggs and plunge into an ice bath for about 2 minutes, or until eggs are cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, spread still warm toast with butter to melt. Cut into ½-¾ inch spears.

Place each egg in a small cup and crack the pointy end with the end of a knife or spoon to crack shell. Gently peel skin away. Sprinkle with salt and use toast to dunk into molten yolk. Enjoy.