Cookin’ Up Some Aussie Bites

Day 55

The day had started out with fog and heavy, dark clouds and continued on that way until late in the afternoon which is why I was surprised when a bright beam of sunlight burst through our living room windows. While I’m always thrilled to see the sun, any sun, at this time of year…this particular kind of sun..bright, white, blinding and late afternoon…is the kind of sunlight that illuminates every speck of dirt on my windows and countertops. As I turned around to face the sun and looked across the room through the haze of dust and dander, I could see something shiny glinting in the sunlight. Curious as to what it was, I made my way over to the couch only to find…the foil remnants of a granola bar wrapper. And, on the table beside it, was a collection of sticky, empty fruit leather wrappers. It was as if I’d stumbled upon Templeton the Rat’s paradise.

While I pride myself on making sure my family is well fed at breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s the 4th meal of the day…the ole “afternoon snack”…that I just can’t wrap my arms around. I just don’t want to make another meal and yet, I find, that as my kids are entering the “adolescent years”, they’re starving…constantly. You should see my 10-year old take out an entire box of granola bars in one sitting…leaving only the box on the shelf…literally.

Aussie Bite Mix
As I was speeding the baby to preschool the other day, he alerted me, with a piercing scream, that his “special lego guy” had just fallen into an unidentified crack. Once we arrived at his school, instead of just turning around to look in the back, I actually got in the back in an attempt to locate the missing “guy.” There, under the seat, was the precious lego guy nestled amongst a handful of empty snack wrappers. “What is going on here?”

Other countries have formalized this…hour of the day. Halfway between lunch and dinner. The longest stretch without food. Afternoon tea in England. Goûter in France. When I had the good fortune to be an exchange student in Portugal, my host family would sit us down to “lanche” at 4 o’clock in the afternoon for a full meal. Only to be followed at 8 o’ clock by a full dinner. I developed a special fondness for “lanche”. Looked forward to it every day because, while there was always meat, cheese and bread laid out, this “meal” was especially heavy with the delectable Portuguese cakes.

Day 52
On Sunday, I spent 5 hours in the great outdoors weeding and whining bitterly to myself joyfully communing with nature. Our yard had been attacked by weeds and the irony was that neither neighbor on either side had a single one while we had a sea of green swaying in the wind across our entire back side. Having already filled one yard debris bin, I threw down my gloves and stomped off to get the back-up bin. As I was walking, begrudgingly to the front yard, and was just about to launch into this tirade again, my daughter skips down the stairs and says, “Hey, Mom…want some help?” I wanted to kiss her feet. Sending her off to continue weeding, I grabbed the bin from the garage and started rolling it back in her direction when a little flash of light caught my eye from the depths of the bin. I kid you not…another granola bar wrapper. “Gads.” It was then that I knew some changes needed to be made.

I believe it was last summer, I was watching an interview with Jamie Oliver in regards to his “food revolution”. He emphasized to the interviewer that “…at some point, someone has to get in the kitchen and cook food if we’re going to save ourselves from this food crises we’ve managed to get ourselves into…and it doesn’t always have to be the woman.” (I like to tack that last part onto the quote.) I guess the time has come to actually make something for snack instead of relying on little foil wrapped bits of…oats. This will be a new venture for me and, while I still don’t want to be standing over a stove at 2:30 in the afternoon, perhaps I can find a happy medium. I’ll share my discoveries with you as I go along but first up was the challenge to recreate the “Aussie Bites” I’ve picked up from time to time at Costco. The beauty of these little golden bites is that the homemade version can’t even be compared to the store-bought they are so incredible and, bonus….no foil or plastic wrappers to be found.
Day 53


Golden Aussie Bites…Carrie Style
Inspired by this eHow recipe 

After searching the internet for the infamous Aussie Bites recipe, I came across what appeared to be the original “butter baked” recipe and an updated version with a nod toward healthy eating which called for coconut oil instead of butter. Now, I love butter just as much as the next person, but I happened to have some coconut oil leftover from a recipe I’ll post sometime in the near future. Because I like to torture myself and research even the most seemingly-insignificant items of my kitchen, the people in the know lead me to this coconut oil as the best…hands down. Once you’re done using it in the kitchen, you can even rub it all over your body when you get out of the shower…a repurposing kind of thing. After pulling the first batch of bites from the oven, I stood at my kitchen counter and sunk my teeth into one…”Hmmmm….a bit birdish.” I just didn’t care for the sunflower seeds. Could be that at the exact moment I was taking my first bite, I was also staring out at my new “Squirrel Buster” bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds and flocked by little song birds. So I did a bake-off, just for you, dear friend, and because I am a glutton for punishment I simply love to bake. With seeds, without. With nuts, without. One with butter, one with coconut oil and after all of the batches were made and laid across the counter for my dear children to sample…the version below came out on top. I did, however, include the “butter” version, which was tasty as well, in case you find mine to be a bit too crazy…you know, with the coconut oil and all.
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup golden, flax seeds
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (I use this kind.)
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped dried fruit – I used apricots, raisins and cranberries
1/4 cup honey
1 cup virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil (I use this kind.) (See note below.)
(Or, instead of coconut oil, 2 sticks unsalted, butter.)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot water
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix first 8 ingredients together (oats-vanilla)

Melt honey and coconut oil together

Mix baking soda with hot water and add to coconut oil mixture. (Yes, this does have the appearance of a mad scientist experiment.)

Pour coconut oil mixture into dry ingredients, add eggs and mix well.

Plop a tablespoon of the mixture into each little mini-muffin well and flatten slightly. (I use non-stick muffin tins and did not grease them but if you are at all concerned you may want to lightly grease yours. Oh, and I didn’t flatten mine. Didn’t seem to matter.) Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. (For regular muffins, bake for 15 minutes.) Let cool in tins for a minute or so then, remove from tins and let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container or freeze some for later. Enjoy.

Yield: About 4 dozen mini-muffins.


Aussie Bites – Take 2
Delicious recipe by Min of The Bad Girl’s Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 cups oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 3 1/2 oz can of unsweetened coconut or 1 1/4 cup flaked
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1 cup finely chopped dried fruit (apricot, raisins, dates, figs, cranberries, etc.)
1/4 cup honey
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot water
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

Melt honey and butter together in microwave.

Mix baking soda with hot water and add to butter mixture.

Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients, add eggs and mix well.

Place a tablespoons of mixture into each non-stick mini muffin well (lightly greased) and flatten mixture slightly. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: About 4 dozen

NOTE: While I am by no means an expert on the subject, here is my take on coconut oil. There is the unhealthy, hydrogenated coconut oil, which, for years, was being used extensively in “industrial food” and especially gained a bad name for itself when it was being used on movie theater popcorn. Then, there is the healthier, coconut oil that this recipe calls for – virgin, non-hydrogenated, cold-pressed coconut oil. While many of the experts are still undecided on coconut oil, in my own humble, so very humble opinion, I believe that it will go much the same way as avocados, walnuts & such – once feared for their fat content and now, the “powers that be” are recognizing their nutritional value. I could be wrong but I’d keep your eye on this little guy. You can find cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil at most health food stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, New Seasons – here in Portland, and on-line.


NOTE: By no means should you feel any obligation to comment; however, I know some of you, dear friends, have tried to leave me your enlightening words and it has been brought to my attention that my “commenter” is rawther, temperamental. I am in the process of getting it fixed, but until that happens, should you like to leave a comment, try this: after you type your comment, hit publish, the computer will say it can’t process it so hit “preview” and then, try to publish it after that. That’s what I have to do to leave a comment on my own blog……gads.

All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2010

Comments

  1. Joseph Michael says:

    Srs question: Would you have any guess on the carbs/calories in one of these bad boys? (extraneous info): I try to get through the afternoon avoiding Snickers et al, and have found these things called 'Paleo Treats' that are 8carbs and 100 calories. but they're like $4 each…

    So, I'd make these if they were in that range each.

    THEN the challenge would be to only eat one…

    jme

  2. JME: I wish I knew because I think they would be a fantastic snack for you and your little one…chock full of good stuff. If I ever do find out though, you'll be the first to know. Cheers….

  3. Angie Muresan says:

    These sound perfect for making by the dozens and storing away in the freezer.

  4. Angie, I think they would be perfect for freezing a batch since the recipe makes quite a few.

  5. I'm flattered you think my recipe is "the original" Aussie Bites recipe, but sadly it is not. It is simply my original recipe which I created in 2008 since I live 4 hours from a Costco! Please credit your sources, you can find my recipe here.

    The only recipes I found for Aussie Bites back then were dry, crumbly and dismal, and did not include eggs. I'm intrigued with your coconut oil substitution; you can also cut down the fat with applesauce instead of oil or butter, which I have noted in my recipe as well.

    Have a great day!
    The Bad Girl's Kitchen

  6. Min, Thank you for stopping by La Pomme. As you'll see by other posts, I always like to credit my sources. I apologize that I did not on this post. I'm not sure why I didn't other than I may have unintentionally overlooked it. Thank you for pointing it out. I have made the changes to this post and included the link to your recipe and blog.
    Have a marvelous day! Carrie

  7. Thanks Carrie! I realize it was just an oversight, and I appreciate the link. I just went through so much trial and error until the recipe worked! (and every once in a while I run my blogs through copyscape…)

    I may have to track down some coconut oil and try your version one day soon. I do like your blog and writing style, and I'll be trying some other recipes too. Thanks again.
    Min

  8. Hello Carrie very nice Aussie Bites, will try it this weekend. Will it work though using any coconut oil? What brand do you use/recommend? I get mine from http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/

    Thanks
    Marge

Trackbacks

  1. […] fiber too. I figured someone on Pinterest would have tackled that and sure enough, someone had!! http://www.lapommedeportland.com/2010/02/cookin-up-some-aussie-bites I made the first recipe she posted and it was awesome. It makes a ton, so I froze some to pull out […]

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