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I had about a cup of the rhubarb puree leftover from making rhubarb margaritas a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely hate to throw away leftovers.  So, I decided to dry it.  You could really do this with any fruit puree – be creative!  If you don’t have a fruit dryer, this does take some time (about 5-7 hours), so plan accordingly.  I had a day of house cleaning planned this past weekend though, so I was going to be home for most of the day.  Dried fruit that you buy at the store is often VERY sweet.  Making your own lets you cut down on the sugar a bit, and make the flavor more to your liking.  This would be a great snack for the kids too instead of those scary fruit roll-ups you buy at the store!

Fruit Leather, adapted from jam it, pickle it, cure it, by Karen Solomon

1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

1/4 cup of water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes.  Puree mixture into a food processor or blender.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees, or if your oven can’t get below 170 degrees, set it to its lowest temperature and lodge a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree into a large rectangle of even thickness, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

Place the pan in the center of the oven for 5 to 7 hours, checking after 5 hours.  The fruit should be sticky but not wet, throughout; the center is usually the last to dry.

Once sticky all over, remove the pan from the oven and gently peel the fruit from the parchment paper, releasing it from all 4 edges first, then peeling up the middle.  Flip it over, and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Tear off a clean piece of parchment or waxed paper larger than the sheet of fruit leather.  Roll 2 inches of the paper over the fruit, then from the long side roll the whole thing up like a jelly roll.  With a sharp knife, slice the rolled-up log into 1-inch pieces.

Solomen’s recipe uses apple butter to make the fruit leather, but she also suggests 1 1/2 cups of pureed bananas or 1 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries.

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No kneading, no waiting for it to rise – just mix it in a bowl, and pop it in the oven!  You don’t even need to break out the stand mixer for this one.  I doubled this recipe, and am very glad that I did!  It was a big hit with the coworkers and the husband.  Delicious the day after as well, as I felt like the flavor intensified and the topping still stayed crisp.  Check out the picture of the crispy crumbly goodness that is the topping in the picture below.  Mmmmmmm

I bought the cinnamon chips from King Arthur Flour, which is my new favorite website.  Tons of great recipes and unique products!  I have heard from the blogosphere that Hershey’s makes a cinnamon chip too, which is probably available in some stores.  But check out King Arthur’s website – you’ll probably find a bunch of other things you want to buy!

Banana Cinnamon Chip Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping, courtesy of Two Peas and their Pod

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray. Dust it lightly with flour and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add in the flour mixture and carefully stir. Don’t over mix. Add in the cinnamon chips and gently stir.
  4. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.
  5. Add the batter to the loaf pan and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar topping generously over the batter.
  6. Bake bread  for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack.
  7. Let bread cool for 1o minutes and then remove from pan. Cool, slice, and enjoy

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I pretty much love browned butter anything.  The nutty smell and caramel color – sometimes I feel like I could just drink it down by itself…but don’t worry, I don’t.  I am, however, drawn to any unique recipes incorporating browned butter.  This simple recipe for rice crispy treats is courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen, who never disappoints.  They’re like an adult version of rice crispy treats – but kids will love them too!

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats, makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I used a silicon spatula.

Let cool, cut into squares.  Enjoy!

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