Sugar-Coated Escapism, for your reading pleasure.

Well, I’m out of the dorm for the summer and am living near the big city!  For a person from the northwest corner of nowhere, this is a big deal.

As I ate breakfast this morning, I thought, wow, bread is scary.  It’s so big.  Muffins, cupcakes, hand pies, pies from a pie maker, popovers, mini-bagels, cupcakes, dumplings, wontons, all the way down to muffin tops (which, interestingly enough, can be as massive as whole muffins these days, according to commercial interpretation) and other bread-lettes are much less threatening.  Threatening to those of us who are threatened by size, that is.  

If size doesn’t scare you, then how do you feel about bread?  

Question: I’m sure there’s an etymological reason for it, and I took a course on Old English, so one might think I’d have a handle on at least some of this question.  OK, here goes: if muffins are small breads, and dumplings are small pockets of food wrapped in dough, what are the baked goods from which the names are derived?  

My answer: muffs and, well, dumps, since –ins and –lings are diminutive suffixes (suffices?  Would that be the correct Latin plural?) in American English.  Furthermore, are muffs and dumps loaves of breads and crusts, respectively?  Hey, a loaf of bread, a boule, resembles a fur muff and vice versa.  Additionally, one dumps the ingredients upon a work surface when making some crusts (and some dumpling doughs).

I offer a recipe since I have no answer yet.

Peanut butter Applesauce Bars

Note: The name is based on the ingredients I had on hand; I’m sure it would work well with any nut or seed butter and fruit or vegetable puree.

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup nut butter (I used chunky, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter)
3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used plain, sweetened soymilk)
2/3 cup fruit puree (I used unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup organic sugar (that’s dehydrated cane juice to you)

Dry ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon or other spices (feel free to add a teaspoon of vanilla or other extract)

1 cup dried fruit (I used craisins, chop it if it’s bigger than those)
1 cup nuts (if desired and if not using chunky nut butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oil a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, preferably dark metal.  This size makes a short bar, but they bake quicker that way.  An 8-inch square pan is an option, but it will take longer to bake and I can’t vouch for the recipe baked with that option.

In a large measuring cup, use a fork or strong whisk to combine nut butter, milk, fruit puree, and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and spices.  If using extracts, add them to the liquid ingredients.

Add wet to dry.  Fold in chunks.  Transfer to pan.  Bake for 30-33 minutes or until
            it begins to brown at the edges
            it passes the toothpick test
            it does not feel wet in the middle
            it begins to pull away from the sides
            it cracks the slightest bit by the edges.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pan over onto a rack, loosen the uncut bar mass, and cool completely on the rack before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  These freeze well.  The ones in the photo were frozen.

Signing out to the tune of fireworks (I gotta turn on Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”  Hey, I looked at V for Vendetta in the comics shop today).


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