Monday, August 19, 2013

Roasted Strawberry Salted Sunflower Seed Bars

I just gotta get something off my chest.  What is it with people and escalators?  I was behind a woman today who waited a solid 5 seconds before stepping onto the escalator.  And I know 5 seconds seems brief but when we're talking about escalator transportation, that's a REALLY long time to contemplate boarding.  
And I get it, it's a moving staircase.  It's unnatural.  It's understandable to proceed with caution.  Children and the elderly get a free pass.  But any adult with even minimal foot/eye coordination (ahem, me) can manage to accurately time a step onto an escalator without missing a beat.  It's not like the stairs are barreling forward at 60mph and you've gotta work up the nerve or risk death.  So what's the hold up, lady in front of me? 

And I probably just need to dedicate an entirely different blog post to the people who ride the escalator, step off of it, and then stand right at the foot of it while they casually contemplate which direction to go.  Hey person, there is literally a moving staircase behind you with other humans on it and there's only one way to get off.  Step outta the way!  I don't drive so this is basically my version of road rage.  Escalator rage.     
I've heard that roasting strawberries is good for escalator rage.  Something to do with the all the vitamin C.  I think we can all agree that roasting fruit is the best, yes?  So I did that and then I tweaked one of my fave bar recipes and baked all the goodness together with salty crunchy sunflower seeds.  This is a match made in heaven.  It's fresh and sweet and balanced and the antidote to escalator rage.  

Here's the recipe! 

Roasted Strawberry Salted Sunflower Seed Bars 

1lb of strawberries
pinch of sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 packed cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup strawberry jam or preserves

1.  Roast the strawberries: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Quarter strawberries and toss with a pinch of sugar to coat. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake 20-22 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking. When done, remove from oven, strain most of the juices, and allow to cool slightly. Set aside.

2.  Adjust oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch metal pan with vegetable oil cooking spray
and set aside.

3.  Prepare the filling in a small bowl. Mix together the jam and roasted strawberries in a small bowl and set aside .

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and sunflower seeds to combine. Add the butter, egg and vanilla and stir until all dry ingredients are moistened.

5.  Lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan to make an even layer. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis 

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