Last week was our county fair and I decided to enter our extension homemaker baking contest. Every year they have a day that is dedicated to a specific ingredient that must be incorporated in the recipe. This year was all about cherries. At first I was bummed because I’m not the biggest fan of cherries but I found an interesting recipe that I tried and I was surprised on how they turned out! I must admit that entering this contest brought me back to the days of being in 4-H. I always took foods (baking) as a project and I loved spending the time with my mom and sister in the kitchen. I would be fooling myself if I let you believe it was all rainbows and sunshine because it wasn’t! There is always a certain amount of stress involved in finding the perfect recipe and baking it perfectly. There were a lot of late night runs to the grocery store for another round of ingredients because the first 4 batches just weren’t right. Equally as many early mornings making sure we had our recipe cards and paper work filled out completely. I giggle now thinking about this because this contest wasn’t any different.
I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed when I heard there were 86 entries in the cookie and bar category. At last, it was my turn and the judge babbles on about this and that all of which sounds positive and finally says that it defiantly deserves a blue ribbon! Woot!!
Later that day the champions, reserve champions and honor groups were chosen. Woot! My bars were selected to be in the honor group!! While it would have been cool to win grand or reserve grand I was very excited to be 1 of the 6 honor group entries! Oh and I won $10!! Woot!
Below is the recipe! I will say that these aren’t your traditional sweet cookies but more like a granola bar. They are perfect for breakfast! Enjoy!
Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars
· 1 cup quick-cooking oats
· 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
· 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup honey
· 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
· 1/4 cup canola oil
· 1 egg, beaten to mix
· 1 egg white
· 3/4 cup chopped dried tart cherries
· 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (I added pecans)
· Cooking spray
· 1/4 cup "fruit only" apricot preserves (I used Cherry preserves because the contest theme was cherry)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, oil, egg and egg white until well combined.
Stir in the oatmeal mixture until well combined. Add the dried cherries and walnuts.
Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Put the preserves in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the bars come out of the oven, brush with the preserves.
Cool completely and cut into 12 bars, about 4 by1 1/2 inches each.
Calories 230; Total Fat 9 g; (Sat Fat 1 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 4 g) ; Protein 4 g; Carb 34 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 60 mg