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I have a long and colorful history of substituting recipe ingredients. Because of a combination of poor planning and poverty, I frequently find myself looking at a recipe and lacking at least one key ingredient. Today’s foray into the making of home-made power bars was typical, typical, typical. Below, anything you see italicized, is something I didn’t have.

Protein Bars, from Alton Brown

4 ounces soy protein powder, approximately 1 cup

2 1/4 ounces oat bran, approximately 1/2 cup

2 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1/2 cup

3/4-ounce wheat germ, approximately 1/4 cup

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces raisins, approximately 1/2 cup

2 1/2 ounces dried cherries, approximately 1/2 cup

3 ounces dried blueberries, approximately 1/2 cup

2 1/2 ounces dried apricots, approximately 1/2 cup

1 (12.3-ounce) package soft silken tofu

1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice

4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/2 cup packed

2 large whole eggs, beaten

2/3 cup natural peanut butter

Canola oil, for pan

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat with canola oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oat bran, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside.

Coarsely chop the raisins, dried cherries, blueberries and apricots and place in a small bowl and set aside.

In a third mixing bowl, whisk the tofu until smooth. Add the apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition. Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

So yeah, over half the stuff I needed for the recipe, I didn’t have!



Here’s what went down:

1.5 cups dehydrated TVP
1.5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
1/2 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg (7 oz) Sunmaid Fruit Bits (raisins, golden raisins, chopped apricot, chopped prunes, dried cherries)
1/4 c. additional raisins
1 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. applesauce
6 oz. plain yogurt
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs (equivalent amount of “Egg-Beaters” egg substitute)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla

I pulverized the oats and TVP in the blender until they were a fine powder. I poured them into a bowl with the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, fruit, and nuts.

I mixed the liquid ingredients in a similar manner as recommended by Mr. Brown, then folded in the dry ingredients. As in Brown’s recipe, I baked it @ 350 for 35 minutes. Because my oven runs hot on one side, I turned the pan around @ 15 minutes.

They turned out pretty well, and tomorrow I am going to do another batch, same way, but with dried apples (local, and dehydrated here at home), instead of the commercially prepared fruit. It will basically just be apples and almonds, as well as the other stuff.

I’m sure Mr. Brown’s recipe is really awesome, and sometime I plan on actually making it per instruction, but making do with what I have right now has done well enough. Basically, most generally if you stay reasonably close with the proportions of wet and dry ingredients and don’t mix stuff that is liable to taste bad together, you’re going to end up pretty much okay. At least that’s been my experience so far, and “Experience, though noon auctoritee
Were in this world, were right ynogh to me
.” – – The Wife Of Bath’s Prologue via Geoffrey Chaucer

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