Monday, April 12, 2010

White House Recipe: Healthy Fruit and Oat Snack Bars, From The 2010 Easter Egg Roll

The 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll was a day-glow paradise of healthy lifestyle activities, and the theme of Ready, Set, Go! was coordinated with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.

In the big Play With Your Food area on the South Lawn, the White House Chefs demonstrated tasty and kid-friendly recipes, using primarily organic whole grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy products as principle ingredients. The Healthy Fruit and Oat Snack Bars were a big crowd pleaser; the kids who stood in line for them gobbled the treats immediately, as if these were, well, Easter candy.  But the recipe will satisfy even the most sophisticated adult palate, too, with a complicated mix of flavors and texture. (Above: Assistant pastry chef Chris Phillips cuts a pan of Snack Bars during the Roll)

The recipe, created by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, is low fat, and has the option of two different kinds of healthy vegetable oils. Dried fruit makes it easy to make in any season, and the use of honey reflects the ongoing White House encouragement for consuming less processed sugar--the White House Bee Hive is the beacon of hope for this piece of Mrs. Obama's campaign, as well as a crucial part of the Kitchen Garden project. Cardamom and maple sugar give the recipe a rich, zingy taste.  It's a perfect snack for any time, or to put into a school lunch box as a sweet ending for a healthy meal. (Above: Yosses, who traded his toque for a straw fedora; the day was blisteringly sunny)

White House Healthy Fruit and Oat Snack Bars

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, chopped apricots), diced
1/2 cup assorted no-salt-added seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
6 tablespoons safflower or canola oil, plus a little more to brush the parchment paper
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
salt to taste

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place parchment paper or foil into a 9 inch square pan, allowing a couple of inches to extend over the sides of the pan. Brush the paper with oil.

3. Spread oats and seeds in a single layer on a jellyroll sheet and roast 5 minutes.

4. Mix the oats, dried fruit, and seeds with the cardamom in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

5. Combine the oil, sugar, honey, and syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and hot.

6. Pour the hot mixture over the oat mixture and stir until well combined.

7. Transfer to the 9-inch pan. Using a spatula, press mixture evenly into the pan.

8. Bake 30-45 minutes, remove when the top is golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool.

9. Using the overlapping foil or paper, lift the mixture out of the pan and place on flat surface. When completely cool cut into individual bars.

10. Cut into 1-by-2 inch or 2-by-4-inch rectangles.

*Yields about 36 one inch by two inch bar

The recipe was adapted for home cooking by legendary New York Times reporter Marian Burros, ObFo's most esteemed colleague who also covers White House food initiatives. 

Related: All the details of the 2010 Easter Egg Roll: The President and First Lady welcome the guests. The First Family Egg Rolls and then hops into the crowd to say hi. The President and Mrs. Obama give a rousing reading of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. The full foodie recap; and more on the White House Chefs rolling is here. "Chirping" eggs were used for visually impaired Rollers; 19,000 hardboiled eggs were used during the event. Actress Reese Witherspoon rolls here. Author J.K. Rowling rolls here. Bo the First Dog rolls here. New Social Secretary Julianna Smoot rolls into action. Pastry Chef Bill Yosses' Chocolate Farm is here. The Roll started early and went late this year. A White House video about the Roll is here.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama