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Cooking

Recipes for granola bars, chocolate cakes with hazelnut filling, and waffles

Sure, peanut butter’s great for cooking. But what about butters made from other nuts and seeds?

Sunflower seeds and almonds give these granola bars great flavor and crunch.

Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Sunflower seeds and almonds give these granola bars great flavor and crunch.

TIP: Keep nut and seed butters refrigerated. They can turn rancid if left at room temperature for too long.

TIP Keep nut and seed butters refrigerated. They can turn rancid if left at room temperature for too long.

SUNFLOWER SEED GRANOLA BARS

Makes 12 bars 

1¾ cups old-fashioned (not “quick”) oats

cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped

cup raw sunflower seeds

Nonstick baking spray or oil (for the pan)

½ cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoons flaxseed meal

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

cup sunflower seed spread

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large baking pan, spread the oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Bake for about 12 minutes, stirring once, or until golden. Remove the oat mixture from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cool oat mixture for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick baking spray or brush with oil.

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In a large bowl, combine the cranberries, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oat mixture. In a small saucepan, heat the honey and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sunflower seed spread. Pour over the oat and cranberry mixture. Stir with a large spoon to fully coat the oats. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingers, press firmly and evenly to form a smooth top.

Bake for 22 minutes or until the top looks set and is mostly firm to the touch. (Bars will firm up as they cool.) Remove from the oven and cool 20 minutes. While the bars are still warm, lift them out of the pan holding onto the foil and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars. Cool completely.

 

ALMOND WAFFLES

Serves 4-5

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup canola oil

½ cup almond butter

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup sliced almonds

1 pint raspberries

In a large bowl, whisk the two flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, almond butter, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, and ¼ cup water. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix.

Heat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions. (If the iron has a nonstick surface, there’s no need to grease it.) Pour the batter onto the center of the hot iron, covering about two-thirds of the grid surface. Close the lid and bake until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the waffle iron). Serve directly or keep warm on a baking sheet in a 275-degree oven until all the waffles are made. Sprinkle with almonds and raspberries and serve.

 

CHOCOLATE CAKES WITH HAZELNUT FILLING

Makes 12

 

FILLING

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons hazelnut butter

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

 In a small bowl, stir the butter and hazelnut butter with a fork until blended. Stir in the sugar and salt.

 

CAKES

Nonstick baking spray or oil (for the pan)

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick baking spray or brush with oil. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in ½ of the flour mixture, then all of the sour cream, then the remaining flour, just until combined.

 Spoon the batter into the cups, filling about halfway. Place a tablespoon of hazelnut filling in the center, pressing down slightly. Cover with the remaining batter. (The filling shouldn’t be visible.) Bake for about 22 minutes or until a tester inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cakes and remove from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve at room temperature.

Lisa Zwirn is the author of Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

 

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