To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dehydrated Decadence (or My Love Affair with my Dehydrator)

I may have mentioned before - I adore my dehydrator. This contraption (Nesco 500 W Dehydrator Kit, which only cost about sixty dollars from Amazon and is one of the highest rated of these machines on the market) is positively wonderful. Banana, zucchini, and apple chips, sweet potato crisps, homemade raisins, all in addition to dried peas, green beans, cantaloupes, pears... basically anything you can think of from the produce section of your grocery store is suddenly and majestically transformed just by virtue of having its water removed. The best part, which I was quite pleased my parents have finally discovered, is that by using your own dehydrator, you discover the concentrated flavors of these fruits and vegetables without their various textures perplexing your tongue. And they make fantastic baking additions as well as healthy, nutritious, and satisfyingly crunchy/chewy snacks.

After a few weeks of haphazardly collecting whatever has looked tasty at the market and drying it, filling mason jar upon mason jar with a variety of delectable dried treats, I decided to play. Like I do.

Now, if you don't have a dehydrator, you can purchase these fruits already dried from a store and I'm pretty sure this recipe will still serve as a yummy, healthy treat - you might simply be missing some of the extra flavor layers that drying your own fruit avails you of.

They look a teensy bit like meatballs...
which also gave me a great idea for an April Fool's meal of these on top of a bed of melon "noodles". 
Take That, Larabar!
(makes 15-20)

4 heaping spoonfuls of unsalted almond butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup homemade raisins (if purchasing, go for jumbo golden)
6 slices dried pear
1 cup dried tart cherries

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine almond butter and cherries in food processor and puree until blended smooth. Add cranberries and raisins, puree again. Add pears last and make sure they're well combined.
Spoon ~1/2 tbsp sized dollops of the blended dried fruits and roll in your hands into little balls. (The next time I made these, I will probably make the balls smaller. Go for a size you'd prefer for just popping in your mouth - bite-sized, you know.)
Place the little delectable bundles onto the cookie sheet; they can be close together so long as they don't touch. They won't expand.
Bake for ~8 minutes. Remove.
Now... I ate two of these warm from the oven and they were... amazing. But I also put a few in the refrigerator and packed them in my bento box for later, and they were equally tasty cold and room temperature - although I did notice that different flavors came through at different temperatures.

I recommend these whole-heartily. Really. Have a peace. Share them with your friends. They are, frankly, wonderful.


Take That, Larabar! Continued!
(makes 15)

3 heaping spoonfuls unsalted peanut butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup jumbo raisins
1 handful sliced almonds

Same as before. Preheat to 350 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Puree the peanut butter and dried fruit in a food processor. Spoon 1/2 tsp sized dollops out, roll them in your hands, lay them out evenly on the cookie sheet. If you bake these for 15 minutes instead of 8, they brown and look just like cookies. Have fun tricking your friends. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment