Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars

Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying.  You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps.  For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.

They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good.  The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit.  They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice.  All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.

Enjoy!

Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Large, Very Ripe Bananas, Mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raw Honey or Agave
  • 2 c. Rolled Oats (I used 1 c. thick-cut oats and 1 c. rye oats)
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ½ t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 c. Cooked Quinoa (or just use another cup of oats)
  • ½ c. Pitted, Chopped Dried Dates
  • ¼ c. Chopped Nuts (optional--I omitted just because)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the mashed bananas, vanilla and honey in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together the oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the quinoa, dates and nuts (if using).
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

 

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No-Bake Peach Mimosa Cheesecake Bars

I am so, so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys.  I was trying really hard to come up with a peach recipe that wasn’t a pie or crisp and man, was I having some serious inspiration issues on this one.  I wanted something cheesecake-y but NOT baked…the less oven time in the summer, the better, you know what I mean?  So I finally had an idea for something fresh and light and just overall yummy.  I can honestly say that these peach cheesecake bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, if not THE favorite thing.  Yeah.  Good.  Really, really, really, good.

The recipe started with this brilliant idea I had for a boozy peach sauce and then it evolved from there to include a buttery, crumbly (but not too crumbly!) shortbread crust and thick, creamy no-bake cheesecake filling.  I have to say I could have stopped with the peach sauce…I literally was licking the spoon on this one.  It has the perfect combination of warm spices, peach and citrus.  Divine.  Add in the no-bake cheesecake factor and this is pretty much the perfect summer dessert.

I can tell I will be making LOTS of trips to my farmer’s market this summer. 🙂

No-Bake Peach Mimosa Cheesecake Bars
 
Ingredients
Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce
Shortbread Crust
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅓ c., plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small chunks
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Cheesecake Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 7 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 oz. Whipped Topping (i.e. Cool Whip)
Instructions
For the Peach Sauce
  1. Make recipe as instructed previously for Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce (recipe was posted on May 30th), letting the peaches drain on a wire rack onto a cookie sheet. Make the sauce as instructed.
For the Shortbread Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the edges to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a fork or your hands (I prefer to use my hands) until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed together and then fold in the pecans.
  3. Gently press the mixture evenly unto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely. In the meantime, make the cheesecake filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling
  1. In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the whipped topping.
To Assemble
  1. Using the foil "handles", left the completely cool crust from the pan and gently place the crust on a large platter/plate. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the crust. Place the crust and filling in the fridge or freezer (I used my freezer) for about 10-15 minutes in order to allow the cheesecake filling to firm up slightly.
  2. Remove from the fridge or freezer and top the dessert with the drained peach slices (as seen in the pictures) and cut into squares. Drizzle each square with peach sauce.
Notes
Makes 12-15 squares.

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Sugar Cookie Bars

If you’re like me and LOVE frosted sugar cookies but don’t have the patience for the whole rolling and cutting part, I have a solution!  A completely delicious solution.  I had seen recipes online for sugar cookie bars but all the ones I was finding called for an absurd amount of flour (5 cups!), etc and a huge baking pan that I didn’t have and there was no way I was going to go look for and buy one just for this recipe.  So I played with the amounts of ingredients and am happy to report that I hit it out of the ball park on the first try!  These sugar cookies are made in a 9×13 pan and are absolutely, incredibly, amazingly YUMMY.  I love almond so I added that flavor.  If you’re not an almond fan, feel free to substitute more vanilla extract.  These bars and soft and slightly chewy and in my opinion perfect in every single way.  To say I had a couple would be an understatement…but we won’t get into that.

Hope you love them as much as I did!

Sugar Cookie Bars
 
Ingredients
Sugar Cookie Bars
  • 1½ sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Almond Extract
  • 3¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
Almond Buttercream
  • 1½ sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 3 t. Almond Extract
  • 1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 3 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or milk)
Instructions
For the Sugar Cookie Bars
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and almond and mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. And to butter/sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Spread into baking pan.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick/tester comes out clean (mine were done closer to 15 minutes). Cool completely and frost.
For the Almond Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add almond and vanilla extracts. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, then add heavy whipping cream and beat until smooth. Spread onto cooled sugar cookie bars.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

 

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Brown Sugar Cashew Blondies

There’s really not much that needs to be said about these bars except that they have lots of butter, lots of brown sugar, lots of cashews and oh yeah, they will melt in your mouth.  I really don’t think you could have a more perfect combination of more glorious things.  If cashews aren’t your nut of choice, I’d imagine you could swap them out with toasted pecans or macadamia nuts.

You can literally have these whipped up in no-time…although the cooking time is an entirely different matter.  The original recipe said 35-40 minutes but mine didn’t get done until the 50 minute mark.  So I’d say just start testing them around 40 minutes and keep an eye on ’em.

Perfect treat for a lazy Sunday evening…

Adapted from bakeorbreak.com

Brown Sugar Cashew Blondies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Packed, Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 8 oz. Salted Cashew Halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the cashews.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining cashews, pressing down lightly with your hands. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Notes
Makes about 12 bars.

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No-Bake Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

Ladies and gentleman, I may have discovered my most absolutely, favorite, healthy dessert recipe to date!  To say these “rice krispie” bars are good is an understatement…they are amazing.  Quite truthfully, if given the choice between these bars and oh say a cupcake, I’d choose the bars!  Yes, that’s how good they are!

I found this recipe over at ohsheglows.com and just the words “no-bake” and “almond butter” drew me in immediately.  I think one thing that made a difference for my bars was the particular kind of brown rice cereal that I bought at our local health food store.  It’s made by Enjoy Life Foods and it was so crunchy and delicious in these.  I was a little skeptical about the bars holding together without any marshmallow like a typical rice krispie treat but the almond butter and honey works perfectly as a binder.  I did leave them in the fridge, just to be on the safe side and I actually liked them cold the best.

Do yourself a favor and try these immediately!

No-Bake Almond Butter Rice Krisp Treats
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Almond Butter (or any all-natural nut butter you prefer)
  • ½ c. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ t. Fine Sea Salt
  • 3.5 c. Brown Rice Crisp Cereal
  • ⅛-1/4 c. Dark or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, melted (for drizzle)
Instructions
  1. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot over low-medium heat, add the honey, butter, almond butter and salt. Stir well until combined and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Stir in the brown rice crisp cereal until thoroughly coated.
  3. Scoop into pan and spread evenly. Place in freezer to set for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from freezer and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Place in freezer to harden the chocolate, about 5 minutes. Slice into squares and serve or store in fridge until ready to serve.

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Soft Baked Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars

Have you ever wanted a nice warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning but just didn’t have the time to actually make AND eat it??  Yeah, been there.  Our mornings are fairly rushed around here and we hardly ever have a sit down breakfast, except for the occasional big splurge breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning.  And those are few and far between.  What a shame.

So, if you’re like us and just want something to grab on your way to work, these baked oatmeal bars are what you need!  It’s all of the ingredients in a hearty, filling bowl of oatmeal put them into one neat little bar.  Besides heart-healthy oats, they’re sweetened with honey and have wheat germ and wheat bran for added fiber and protein.  They’d even be great for an afternoon snack when vending machines are practically screaming your name.  Delicious, nutritious, yummy and most importantly, travel-ready!

Soft Baked Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Wheat Germ
  • ¼ c. Wheat Bran
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ¼ t. Cloves
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 T. Safflower Oil
  • 1 c. Skim Milk
  • ¾ c. Chopped, Dried Apples (or raisins, cherries, etc)
  • ⅓ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, honey, vanilla, applesauce, oil and milk. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add chopped apples and pecans.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
Notes
Makes about 18 bars. Tip: Feel free to substitute any kind of add-in for the dried apples and pecans...whatever nut, fruit, chocolate chip, etc you may like.

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No-Bake One Pan Wonders

Things are busy this time of year.  You need something to be easy.  Like 5-minutes, DONE easy.  What about some desserts that require ZERO baking time and hardly any effort?  Maybe you need something for an office party or family get-together or ANOTHER ugly Christmas sweater party?  I’ve got a few recipes that are perfect and done in no time, all in one pan.  They will definitely impress!  And you will be alot less stressed.

Enjoy!

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

No-Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake Brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Chocolate Layered No-Bake Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake S’mores Bars

No-Bake After-Dinner Mint Bars

Nanaimo Bars

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars

 

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Sunny Oat-Date Bars

Last week I posted some healthy dessert recipes and I had my eye on a couple to try myself.  I decided to start with the Sunny Oat-Date Bars.  I just happened to have a HUGE bag of dates sitting on my counter that I had been meaning to make into a dessert but had never taken the time to find a recipe.  These bars were the perfect thing to use them in!

I made some minor adjustments to the recipe and overall the results were delicious.  They turned out a teensy bit crumbly so I’d recommend eating them with a fork.  And after I simmered the dates and orange juice, I had no liquid left over to add to the dry ingredients, it just turned into a very thick mixture.  So even though I didn’t have any of the orange/date liquid to add to the oats, it still worked fine. I absolutely LOVED this recipe and found I could hardly stay out of the bars.  The flavors of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and dates was ah-mazing.  Pretty sure a healthy recipe becomes not so healthy when you eat 2-3 times more than you should!  Oh well.

Enjoy!

Sunny Oat-Date Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Very Finely Chopped and Pitted Dates
  • 1 c. Fresh Orange Juice (I used fresh-squeezed)
  • 2 t. Grated Orange Rind
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. Nutmeg
  • ¼ t. Cloves
  • ⅓ c., plus 1 T. Safflower Oil
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 3 T. Pure Grade A Maple Syrup
  • 1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Pecans, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the dates, orange juice and orange rind. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occassionally, until dates are very soft and the mixture has turned very thick (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, mash until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla. Add oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Press ⅔ of the oat mixture into the pan and spread the date mixture over the crust. Stir pecans into remaining oat mixture and drop by spoonfulls onto the date mixture and spread evenly.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Healthy (yes, healthy!) Fall Inspired Desserts

Believe it or not, there are some people on diets this time of year.  Yes, DIETS, preparing/starving themselves for the two month long eat-o-rama that begins around mid-November and doesn’t stop until somewhere around the new year.  I myself believe in moderation and balance and try to get plenty of exercise and eat an overall healthy diet (I definitely do NOT believe in starvation and “diet” trends).  And I am most certainly planning on indulging during the holidays but in moderation.

So, for those more health-conscious readers out there like myself, I thought I would provide you with some healthy dessert options for you to bring to those family get-togethers.  Some are most definitely more healthy than others; there are low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar, etc.  Options!  That’s what I’m all about. 🙂  I’ll definitely be testing a couple (the Date Bars and Honey-Almond Cake are calling my name!) to see if they are worthy of the upcoming family festivities. I’ll post my results!

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Accordion Bread

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Orange Glaze

Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Scroll a just over half-way down the page to see the recipe.)

Chocolate Cupcakes

Sunny Oat-Date Bars

Apple Dumpling Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

Flourless Honey Almond Cake

Pumpkin Sesame Cookies

Chocolate Torte

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Shopping for Sweets

Every now and then I like to wander over to Etsy and see what kind of deliciously evil treats people are coming up with in the Edibles section.  I love the creativity that goes into some of the sweet confections and it’s inspiring to see how many of these people make a living doing what they love.

These were some dark and decadent desserts that were calling my name and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you all.  Take a couple of minutes and check out these fun shops and most importantly, buy something!

Have a lovely day!

Rocky Road Cookies by cookietown

XXX Rated Dark Chocolate Bliss Brownies by cupcakesinjars

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes by thetinykitchen

Artisan Candy Bars by BeesandBeans

Mayan Dark Chocolat Caramel Bars by haveitconfections

 

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Peanut Butter Cup S’more Bars

After seeing all the awesome recipes last week in honor of National S’mores Day, I was inspired to make my own variation of the classic campfire treat.  But what to do?  There are so many creative recipes out there!  I finally decided I wanted it in bar form and peanut butter was going to be incorporated one way or the other.

So, I found this recipe from Taste of Home that had great reviews.  And I now know why!  These might actually be one of my favorite things I’ve made thus far and I think it’s the marshmallow creme that really does it for me.  I absolutely abhor store bought marshmallows but marshmallow creme…that’s a different story.  I might have at one time or another sat down with a jar of peanut butter, a jar of marshmallow creme, a spoon and….well…you can imagine what happened next.  Not pretty.  Needless to say, this is a little more dignified way to eat all of those yummy ingredients.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup S'mores Bars
Author: 
18
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1½ c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2⅔ c. AP Flour
  • 1½ c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 35 Regular Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1 (13 oz) Jar Marshmallow Cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Set aside 1 cup for topping.
  3. Press remaining mixture into the 9x13 baking pan. Place peanut butter cups wide side down on the crust. Spray a large spoon with cooking spray and spread the marshmallow creme gently onto the peanut butter cups. Crumble the remaining graham cracker mixture over top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown (mine were a little dark around the edges at 45 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I’ve been staring at a recipe for Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for a couple months now, dying to make them and yesterday I finally broke down and got busy in the kitchen mixin’ these bad boys up. Yes, I know, it’s about a million degrees outside and who would be crazy enough to turn on an oven??? That would be me! When the need for chocolate calls, one must answer!

Of course, I altered the recipe…I kept finding things in my pantry I thought would be good mixed in! I couldn’t help myself. Here is the original recipe on food.com. I did a butter/oil mix only because I didn’t have enough butter and then threw in peanut butter, oats and two different kinds of Ghirardelli chocolate. They turned out super moist, dense and rich and had a nice balance of salty and sweet to them. Eat ’em with a glass of ice cold milk, it’s a must!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1½ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 T. Lite Corn Syrup
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ½ c. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Exract
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 c. Oats
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 c. each Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugar and corn syrup on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Beat in the peanut butter and then the vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the wet mixture on low speed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

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Honey Nut Bars

Alright, here are some adjectives: ooey, gooey, salty, sweet, soft and chewy.  Like the sound of that?  Good, then you will l-o-v-e, LOVE these Honey Nut Bars.  They embody every single one of those yummy descriptive words.  Oh, I forgot ADDICTING. I had to get these out of my house fast…I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to salty and sweet things!  If you love that combination as much as I do, make these immediately!  You will be so very happy you did…or maybe not once you have three or four or ten of them.  Ooooops.  I would know nothing about that though….

Enjoy!

Honey Nut Bars

Crust:

1 Stick+2 T. Unsalted Butter, melted

1 c. AP Flour

1 c. Rolled or Quick Oats

3/4 c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

1/2 t. Baking Soda

1/4 t. Salt

Topping:

3/4 c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

6 T. Unsalted Butter

1/3 c. Clover Honey

1/2 t. Salt

2 T. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 t. Cinnamon

3 c. (17 oz.) Whole Salted Mixed Nuts, toasted (I forgot to toast mine and they turned out fine)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 pan and line with foil, leaving extra foil to hang over the ends so that you will have “handles”.  Grease the foil.

For the crust, thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients.  Add melted butter and combine well.  Spread and press the crust into the bottom of the pan evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes and then let the crust cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Place the nuts in a large bowl.  Bring the sugar, butter, honey and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.  Slowly and carefully add the cream and return to a boil.  Remove from the heat and carefully add the vanilla and cinnamon.  Pour mixture over the nuts and coat them thoroughly.  Pour the nut mixture over the crust and spread evenly.  Press down on the nuts slightly with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 20 minutes, until the topping has just started to bubble slowly.

Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then using the foil “handles” remove from the pan and let cool completely.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.  Make sure no foil has stuck to the bottom of the bars.

Makes 16 bars.

 

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Iced Lemon Shortbread Bars

 

I’ve decided I’m going to try and invoke summer by baking with nothing but summer-y type things…lemons, strawberries, blueberries, etc.  It might not work but I figure it’s worth a shot, I mean, enough with the cold weather already!  And the rain, oh the rain…sigh.

Anyway, in the spirit of all things light and summerish I whipped up these Iced Lemon Shortbread Bars.  Believe it or not, you make this whole recipe in your food processor!  How easy is that?!  And the result is a super flaky, buttery shortbread bar flecked with lemon zest and tart lemon flavor.  Forget chocolate, this is the kind of stuff that isn’t too rich and so delicious that I could eat the whole pan!  But I didn’t…I shared.

Enjoy!

Iced Lemon Shortbread Bars

1 1/2 c. AP Flour

1/3 c. Cornstarch

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

2 1/2 T. Granulated Sugar

2 T. Finely Grated Lemon Zest (you will need about 3 large lemons total for this recipe)

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 t. Salt

2 t. Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 t. Lemon Extract

Icing (recipe below)

Directions

Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.  Line the pan with foil, letting the foil overhang to create “handles”.  Grease the bottom and sides of the foil.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour and cornstarch; set aside.  In a food processor, process the powdered sugar, sugar and lemon zest until the sugar in yellow and the zest is finely pulverized, about 3 minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl sides several times.  Add the butter, salt, lemon juice, and lemon extract and process until well blended and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture and process in on/off pulses until well blended and smooth, stopping and scraping down the bowl sides several times.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until the dough is cool and slightly firmer.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Press the dough evenly into the pan.  Lay a sheet of wax paper on the dough, then press it out to the edges until the top is flat and smooth.  Peel off and discard the paper.  Bake for 37-45 (40 minutes was perfect for me) minutes, or until pale golden all over and just slightly darker at the edges.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand until completely cooled.  Using the foil “handles”, gently lift the bars from the pan.

Icing

2 T. Granulated Sugar

1 t. Finely Grated Lemon Zest

2 T. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 t. Light Corn Syrup

1 c. Powdered Sugar

Directions

In a food processor, combine the sugar and lemon zest and process until the sugar is lightly colored and the zest is finely pulverized, about 1 minute, stopping and scraping down the bowl sides once or twice.  Add the lemon juice and corn syrup and process until the sugar dissolves. Add the powdered sugar and process until evenly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl, if necessary.

Immediately spread the icing evenly over the shortbread.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Cut the shortbread into 2-inch squares.

Makes 24.

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Snickerdoodle Bars

I’ve made an amazing discovery this week…SIMPLE can be good.  Really, really, really good.  Thanks to being extremely short on time and ingredients, I happened to find a recipe that I now want to make over and over again.  These Snickerdoodle Bars are snickerdoodle perfection, totally chewy and buttery and cinnamony and sugary.  Ya know, all those yummy adjectives that end in “y”.

Take an hour or so this weekend and whip these up.  You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Snickerdoodle Bars

2 1/3 c. AP Flour

1 1/4 t. Baking Powder

1/2 t. Salt

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 1/4 c. Granulated Sugar

1/2 c. Packed Brown Sugar

3 Eggs

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

Cinnamon Filling

2 T. Granulated Sugar

2 T. Cinnamon

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla.  On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter.  Dollop tablespoon size amounts of the remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Glaze

1 c. Powdered Sugar

2 T. Heavy Whipping Cream

1 T. Milk

1/4 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 t. Almond Extract

Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients at once until smooth and drizzle over the cooled bars.

Makes 24 bars

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Blueberry Cookie Bars and Spicy Chickpea Salad

What is this!?  Fruits and vegetables on a dessert blog?!?  That’s right!  As long as it tastes good, I don’t discriminate.  These blueberry cookie bars are the result of needing something fairly quick and non-chocolate.   And despite having some technical difficulties (umm, spilling multiple ingredients EVERYWHERE) these turned out absolutely fabulous and addictive.   So deliciously chewy but still a little soft, with a deep, brown sugar buttery taste and pockets of juicy blueberry. (Just fyi, these were amazing the first day and had a definite cookie texture.  However, after sitting overnight the blueberries turned the whole thing into a wonderfully moist cake.  I’m not complaining either way.)

As for the chickpea salad, I made it tonight for dinner and just had to share.  Believe it or not, I LOVE healthy food and if you’re a fan of jalapeno, avocado, roasted almonds or spinach, you will love this recipe from Joy the Baker.

Ok, now for the cookie recipe…

Blueberry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 c. Brown Sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c. Granulated Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. AP Flour

1 t. Salt

1 t. Baking Soda

1/4 t. Ground Cinnamon

2 c. Fresh or Frozen Blueberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a 9×13 pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside.

Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture until each is incorporated.  Add the vanilla.

Add half the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Using a spatula, carefully fold in the blueberries.

Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once during cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Frost.

Note:  I think next time I will 1.5x the recipe just to get a thicker bar and up the cook time for 5 minutes or so.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 c. Crisco

8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold

5 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted

1/2 t. Salt

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese on high until smooth.  Gradually add in powdered sugar and mix thoroughly for about 3 minutes, until smooth.  Add vanilla and salt and thoroughly incorporate.

 

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