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Strawberry Almond Crunch Fruit Leather ~ Gourmet Edition ~

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Let’s talk about pampering… pampering you!  I believe that we all ought to indulge in life and  if you’re going to indulge, why not do so with the best?  Give yourself the gift of love and let your actions speak louder than your words.   It’s ok, you can do this, you’re not being selfish in taking care of yourself.  If it makes it easier, I give you permission. :)

Let me ask you, has it been a long time since you spent a day doing nothing at home?  Is every weekend spent shopping, going out with your friends, getting pending work done, and so on?   Finally, you get a day to be at home, all by yourself, with no work to do and no commitments to fulfill.  Now, you are wondering what to do on such a relaxing day.  Simple – pamper yourself. Yes, you read that right!  Pampering yourself is one of the best ways to get rid of all the tensions in your mind and be happy for no reason at all.  In case you are looking for an answer to ‘how to pamper yourself at home’, the following suggestion will meet your needs perfectly.  It starts with a handful of ingredients, a little bit of time and wa-la, you have a recipe on how to pamper yourself!

Enjoy and be blessed.

Ingredients: yields 4 cups puree (made 13 gift pkgs)

  • 5 cups fresh, organic strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract, alcohol free
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1/3 cup almond slivers (to be added at end)

Preparation:

  • Select RIPE or slightly overripe strawberries that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
  • Puree the strawberries, ground chia, almond extract and stevia (if needed), in the blender or food processor until smooth. (don’t add almond slivers) Taste and sweeten if needed.  Keep in mind that flavors will intensify as they dehydrate.  When adding a sweetener do so a little at a time, and reblend, tasting until it is at the desired taste.  It is best to use a liquid type sweetener.  Don’t use a granulated sugar because it tends to change the texture.
  • Allow the puree to sit for 10 minutes so the chia has time to thicken the puree.
  • Spread the fruit puree on teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator.  Pour the puree to create an even depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  If you don’t have teflex sheets for the trays, you can line your trays with plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Do not use wax paper or aluminum foil.
    • Lightly coat the food dehydrator plastic sheets or wrap with a cooking spray, I use coconut oil that comes in a spray.
    • When spreading the puree on the liner, allow about an inch of space between the mixture and the outside edge.  The fruit leather mixture will spread out as it dries, so it needs a little room to allow for this expansion.
    • Be sure to spread the puree evenly on your drying tray.  When spreading the puree mixture, try tilting and shaking the tray to help it distribute more evenly.  Also, it is a good idea to rotate your trays throughout the drying period.  This will help assure that the leathers dry evenly.
    • Sprinkle the almond slivers on top of the wet leather.
  • Dehydrate the fruit leather at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, reduce temp to 105 degrees (F) and continue drying for about 16 (+/-) hours.  Flip the leather over about half way through, remove the teflex sheet and continue drying on the mesh sheet.  Finished consistency should be pliable and easy to roll.
    • Check for dark spots on top of the fruit leather.  If dark spots can be seen it is a sign that it is not completely dry.
    • Press down on the fruit leather with a finger.  If no indentation is visible or if it is no longer tacky to the touch, the fruit leather is dry and can be removed from the dehydrator.
    • Peel the leather from the dehydrator trays or parchment paper. If it peels away easily and holds its shape after peeling, it is dry. If it is still sticking or loses its shape after peeling, it needs further drying.
    • Under-dried fruit leather will not keep; it will mold.  Over-dried fruit leather will become hard and crack, although it will still be edible and will keep for a long time
  • Storage: to store the finished fruit leather…
    • Allow the leather to cool before wrapping up to avoid moisture from forming, thus giving it a breeding ground for molds.
    • Roll them up and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
    • Place in an air-tight container, and store in a dry, dark place. (Light will cause the fruit leather to discolor.)
    • The fruit leather will keep at room temperature for one month, or in a freezer for up to one year.

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