I was tempted to not even post this recipe since these bars did not photograph very well. But Ben brought some of the more attractive specimens up to work, and apparently they were devoured within an hour. Some people at work asked for the recipe, and Ben assured them I would be posting on the blog. So, despite the not so great photo, here they are. These are tasty. Pretty messy, and a little difficult to eat and cut, but oh so tasty.
This recipe is from the McCormick website, and I did use mostly McCormick spices. Here is the link. My vanilla was from Belize (thanks, Kate!) and my cinnamon was….not really sure where this container of ground cinnamon came from now that I think about it. Anyway, all the spices make this a dessert that makes your entire house smell delicious. I might have said this before, but I love fall baking. Instead of using caramels that require a lot of tedious unwrapping I used those caramel pieces that come with the wooden sticks for making caramel apples. Something I just do not get. Caramel apples. Who really eats those things? It seems like too much work.
My bars did not cut out very neatly. I might have needed to bake them a little longer. I also think it would help to press the crumb topping into the caramel layer so that the crumbs don’t fall off the bars when they’re cut. Regardless of looks though, these are quite good. Enjoy! (more…)
There isn’t much to say about these creamy, yet crunchy, sweet, yet salty and incredibly yummy bars except that they are terrific. They are lovely and simple, and I will be marking this one in my recipe collection as one that is an all around pleaser and something I will probably make many times in the future.
I found this recipe on Bake or Break. The title is what initially drew me to the post, but then I saw the photo and knew I really had to make these bars.
I used pecans instead of cashews, and simply left out the apple butter because the only jar I found at the grocery store cost $8, and I wasn’t about to pour $8 onto a crumb crust and cover it with cream cheese. I am sure the apple butter would have been delicious, but they are wonderful without it as well. Ben’s dad really liked them and suggested maybe raspberry jam instead of the apple butter, which I think would add a great tartness to this sweet bar.
The bottom crust is thick. I would maybe take a little more of the crust mixture out and put it on top next time. The original recipe calls for removing 1 1/2 cups of the mixture…I would take out 1 3/4 or even 2 cups. After you bake the crust, you do not have to wait for it to cool completely. I waited about 10 minutes before pouring on the cream cheese mixture. If you plan to spread either apple butter or jam, you may want to wait a bit longer so that you don’t break the bottom crust while spreading.
The cream cheese filling is perfect as is; I wouldn’t change a thing. I did use one low-fat package of cream cheese, and am sure using all low-fat would be fine. So, I guess I did change one thing.
We ate these while they were still a little warm, and then the next day after chilling in the fridge. I liked them both warm and cool, although the butter is chilled so much straight from the fridge that I feel it needs a few minutes to warm up before the flavor of the butter can really be appreciated. Man, I love butter.
Sarah and I are in Brooklyn…finally. I won’t go into too much detail because it will just get me worked up, but it was a bit of a nightmare. Cancelled flights, 180 people on stand-by, an unplanned night in Dallas, a 6:40 am flight the next day, lost baggage, horribly unhelpful AA baggage people, and now items are mysteriously missing out of my suitcase. This was not the best travel experience.
Thankfully, we are here now and having a great time visiting my sister Lisa, my brother-in-law Randy and our 10 week old niece Maren. Isn’t she amazingly cute? She has the most rockin’ hair I have ever seen. She is a whopping 9 pounds now, and quite fun to be around.
This morning while driving around Brooklyn we stopped in Baked, a bakery in Red Hook, to pick up some goodies. Here is a link to their site. Sarah had heard of their salted brownies; caramel and fleur-de-sel in a chocolate-y brownie. I’d read that they also had incredible whoopie pies.
The bakery is a little funky and very cool. The door is orange with an animal antler handle. Inside the decor consists of white deer heads on the walls, orange details and warm wooden tables and wood grain walls and tables. A crystal chandelier hangs above the counter to soften the manliness of the place.
Unfortunately the salted caramel brownie that we came here for was not on the menu today. However, Sarah and I are not quitters, and we will not give up just because of a slight disappointment. So we chose an assortment of treats to sample and share with each other.
Here is a tray of most of the goodies. Clockwise from top left are the s’more nut bar, rosemary apricot bar, oatmeal cookie, chocolate cookie, chocolate whoopie pie with vanilla cream filling, and mini Red Velvet cupcake. Not pictured but very delicious are the banana whoopie pie, lemon pistachio vegan cookie and the Brewer’s brownie made with brewers malt.
S’more Nut Bar: A slightly sweet graham cracker base with a chocolate and marshmallow center and peanut top. The chocolate is thick, ganache-like and incredibly rich. I would have enjoyed more marshmallow pieces in this bar, but it was still very good.
Rosemary Apricot Bar: This was one of my favorites. I usually do not like apricot, but with the rich buttery bottom layer and the nutty streusal topping I was a total fan. The rosemary adds such a great savory flavor to the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients. It reminds me of these rosemary pecan cookies which I LOVE with a passion and cannot stop eating when I make them.
Oatmeal Cookie: Another favorite packed full of oatmeal, coconut, dried cherries, pecans and white chocolate. I might try to recreate these at home.
Summer is coming, and summer calls for light, refreshing summer-y desserts. These lemon blueberry cheesecake bars blend the perfect amount of sweetness, tartness, richness, creaminess and crunchiness.
You could probably use any berry with good results. I love the combination of lemon and blueberry, so these are my kind of dessert bar. They are very sturdy, so they would travel well. Bring them on your next picnic! Enjoy.
Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
1 cup blueberries, chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine blueberry filling ingredients; stir until corn starch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine all crumb mixture ingredients except butter; mix well. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture firmly in bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended; pour into baked crust.
Spoon blueberry filling over cream cheese filling, lightly swirl with knife.
Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over filling.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, then chill. Cut into bars.
One of my favorite cookbooks is The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. I won’t say any more about it except for this: If you don’t own a copy, as I have said before, go buy one…now!
I made these quick and easy oatmeal cookie bars this past weekend when our small group from church came over. Originally I was going to make brownies from a mix since that would not require too much in the ways of time or effort on my part. I just did not feel like spending any more time than I had to in the kitchen that day. When I came across this recipe and realized how simple they would be, I had no choice but to make them. Homemade is always better than a box.
The ingredients and preparation for these crispy oatmeal bars are both incredibly simple and easy. You probably have everything you need in your kitchen. The prep could be done with your eyes closed. They bake for a measly 20 minutes and are ready to enjoy or drizzle with chocolate soon after making their exit from the oven. Easy and delicious. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I melted my chocolate chips in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup. Zap the chips on high for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the chips are smooth. I didn’t do the best job of drizzling. A few spots were more globbed on than drizzled. Another good idea is to chill these after drizzling the chocolate to let them harden up a bit before removing them from the pan and plating them. A few of my crispy oatmeal treats broke when I took them out, which is a blessing in disguise because that means more for me! These treats are a simple and humble cookie, and they are definitely worth the time and energy it takes to make them.
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray
Melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan set over medium heat. Stir 1 to 2 minutes, until brown sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla.
In a medium bowl stir together oats, baking powder, salt and coconut. Add butter mixture and stir to combine.
Spoon the batter into the pan and with fingers coated in cooking spray, press the batter evenly into the pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and cut into bars.
Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle over the bars. Chill in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate harden.
This afternoon I made these lemon squares from Eatingwell.com. My mom makes the most incredible lemon bars. I could probably eat an entire pan if no one stopped me and if I wouldn’t go into a sugar and butter coma afterward. When I came across this recipe I had to see how it compared to my mom’s butter laden bars with tart and luscious filling.
Lemon bars must have a buttery, crunchy base, a smooth, lemony filling and a crunchy, sugary top. I was hopeful that these bars would measure up. There is a bit of butter in the crust to provide the richness, and the use of lemon juice and zest in the filling makes these bars incredibly flavorful. The recipe calls for white whole wheat flour, but since all I had was regular whole wheat I opted for plain old all purpose flour. I probably could have done half all purpose and half whole wheat, and will probably try that next time.
The verdict: Yum. Crunchy, sweet, buttery goodness topped with incredibly tart, sweet gooey lemon and a crunchy topping sprinkled with powdered sugar. I will definitely be making these again. Next time I will try to get some white whole wheat flour or use a mixture of all purpose and whole wheat.