Friday, March 9, 2012

Good Food: Aussie Bites

In an attempt to eat healthier (mainly less processed and more whole grain), I've found one of the biggest hurdles to be snacks. This is especially challenging with a very active and constantly on-the-go man in the house...not to mention the kids, whose eating preferences seem to change faster than their mood swings. So I've been experimenting a little - both with store-bought and homemade solutions.

One of the healthy* snacks that we just can't get enough of are Costco's Aussie Bites. But I've found that I simply cannot make it up to Costco frequently enough to match the supply with the demand. So I thought to myself, I've GOT to be able to find the recipe for these! And sure enough, I did.

Aussie Bites
Adapted from Costco...via Little Blue Hen
Makes approx. 50 mini muffins

(Do not let the Costco-sized batch fool you...these will literally fly off your pantry shelves. They also freeze well. I divide the batch into 3 or 4 zip lock bags, put one in the pantry and the rest in the freezer, then they are ready to go as-needed.)

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup brown sugar**
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup finely chopped dried fruit (apricots, raisins, dates, figs, cranberries, etc.) - I suggest using currants...mainly because I'm lazy...they are small enough they don't need chopping!
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons hot water
3 eggs, beaten

**Note: The first time I made these I overlooked the sugar. I'm pretty sure that it altered the texture more than it did the flavor - the sugarless batch still got devoured. Just wanted to mention it for those who want to make them even healthier...

Preheat oven to 350F.
Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Melt honey and butter together. Mix baking soda and salt with hot water and add to butter mixture. Stir in vanilla. Combine butter mixture with dry ingredients, add eggs, and mix well.
Use a tablespoon (I found a melon-baller to be the perfect size!) to drop the batter into lined or lightly-greased mini muffin tins. Flatten the tops.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes; finish cooling on wire racks.

*Disclaimer: The term "healthy" is relative. These little morsels are healthy in terms of nutrition/whole foods. They are NOT healthy in terms of fat and calories. They are DENSE...a good replacement for an energy bar, etc.

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