You know what I like about these bars? Everything. They were easy to make, very fast, tasty, they made the house smell delicious and they are a perfect fall treat for noshing on with a good sized mug of hot cocoa and whipped cream.
They came about because I was sitting home alone, bored, getting over a cold and therefore in sore need of some comfort food. I didn’t want the usual sort of snack–cookies, brownies, etc. Or more honestly, I didn’t have enough chocolate on hand for the usual snack. Instead, I sifted through the 300 or so recipes in my Evernote cookbook tagged with “dessert” and found a recipe for pecan pie bars.
I didn’t have pecans…but I did have a Costco-sized bag of almonds. Plus I knew that with a bit of extra cinnamon thrown in, the bars would basically be like eating candied almonds atop a shortbread crust. And yep, that’s pretty much what they are. Delightfully, they’re not too sweet at all–so they won’t push you into sugar shock if you eat one or two with a good helping of my homemade cocoa. Continue reading →
Ogres have layers, bars have layers
It’s that time of year again. Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Carnivale. For some people, “Paczki Day.”
I, for one, enjoy Mardi Gras. Who doesn’t like shiny beads and socially accepted overindulgence? Monks. But we just won’t tell them about it. Anyway, I enjoy the festivities. There is, however, one thing that has always somewhat baffled me about the way people celebrate Fat Tuesday here in southeast Michigan, at least.
Paczkis. The overwhelming obsession with paczkis. I mean…why?
Now don’t hate me. I know that already some of you are going, “Oh my god, you did not just say that,” and others are going, “You didn’t mean it; I forgive you,” and still others are going, “What the hell is a paczki? And how do you even pronounce it?” A paczki, pronounced here as puntj-ki, is a Polish pastry made of fried dough filled with jam. Continue reading →
If I were a Bond girl, my cheeky code name would be Cara. Cara Mel. I’d make sly, sultry comments to Bond while carelessly smoking a long, elegant cigarette that won’t have the chance to kill me because I’ll die in a freak accident by getting a mounted sword-fish nose through the stomach while Bond escapes the clutches of some comical, balding, verbose and vaguely effeminate bad guy yet again. “Cara Mel burns when hot, Mr. Bond,” I would say. “Cara Mel lies,” he would reply blithely, the line coming out very suavely if he was Sean Connery, and not nearly as impressively if he was say, Roger Dalton. Sorry, Rog. But it’s true.
Of course my action-packed, sugar-fueled day dreams are only tangentially related to post, at point (Caramel, Bar). Mostly because I’m tired and I get weird when I’m tired, and also because I can’t think of any other way to introduce this recipe other than to say it’s so good that Josh made me take the pan to work so that he wouldn’t eat the entire thing himself. So there you go. Bond tested, Josh approved.
No, really, these bars are quite good. And really easy too. And of course, I still had about 1.5 of caramel leftover from making the Take Five bars. I used half of it for this recipe and the other half I melted into a pan of these brownies. So yes. I’ve had a lot of sugar this week. Enough to kill a lesser mortal. Okay, maybe not kill. Stun? Make giddy? Give cavities? There it is. Continue reading →
so this cranberry walks into a bar...
Or alternatively titled, “Get Shortbread.”
The second recipe I decided to try for my Great Recipe Experiment was for the Joy of Baking’s cranberry shortbread bars. Carrie and Sophia both said they’d be willing to sample these for me. I actually would have made them early last week but for the life of me, I could not find a single, Godforsaken bag of cranberries anywhere. Well, not frozen anyway and certainly not fresh (ha!). And for this recipe, dried just certainly wouldn’t work. Finally I had to resort to a Whole Foods visit–and indeed, they did have a few ten ounce bags of the frozen little fall berries.
I have a particular affinity for cranberry. Not to eat, actually, and not because I’m fond of the taste (though I am, in juice, anyway) or the high level of antioxidants or the fairly ravishing color or any of those things. No, my fondness for cranberries is entirely because of my grandmother.
My grandmother is just supremely awesome in ways that I can’t even express without going into a dozen different stories will titillate and awe you. One of these days, I’ll go into more detail, perhaps when I post her recipe for cherry cordial (made with whiskey and thinned out with…more whiskey), homemade “cough syrup” (made with whiskey and…thinned out with more whiskey), and our familial favorite vanilla poundcake (oddly, lacking in whiskey). But what’s pertinent to this story is cranberries. And I like cranberries because they made my grandmother Portuguese. Continue reading →
I know what you’re thinking: oh geez. Here we go again. Yet another post where she tells us about how she hates to bake but then bakes (delicious, delectable, decadent) desserts anyway. I just can’t take it anymore. I just can’t handle this gastronomical rollercoaster!
Well, never fear. Because this time it’s different. I promise. I’ve changed. I’m a new person. And I’ve done that for you. I promise that I will be everything a baking-hating person should be. In fact, not only do I hate baking but I, in fact, did not bake last night.
Oh sure, I mean, there’s an image of a deliciously rich dessert attached to this post. But I didn’t bake it. Honest. Would I lie to you? I told you, I’m a whole new person. No baking and I mean it. These bars are actually unbaked. For all you Twilight fans, that means this dish is like the Edward of the dessert world. But healthier looking. Continue reading →
So an apricot walks into a bar. Which would be funny if it weren’t so terribly sad, seeing that alcoholism runs rampant in the apricot population. It’s an epidemic. You can do your part to help quell this senseless march towards destruction by donating your dried apricots to a nobel cause: baked goods.
I love dates. I don’t get them often but they’re always nice. Oh, and the fruit too. The fruit is good. And I like to make date bars. Delicious, sweet, chewy. However, today I had a bag of dried apricots I purchased awhile ago and I figured, why not substitute them in place of dates in the bar recipe?
So I did. These bars are extremely easy to make, and fairly quick too. They’re also sweet, chewy and utterly delicious, with a nice crunchy crust. Oh, and alcohol free. Continue reading →
So this post is a shout out to Jill, of U-M’s Family Medicine Dept., who very sweetly gave me a book on cookies. No, no, the book on cookies. Better Homes and Gardens’ Ultimate Cookie book to be precise. 500 cookie recipes. Five. Hundred. Cookie. Recipes. Right now at this very moment, Cookie Monster himself is attempting to break down my front door. (“Cookies are a sometimes food” my butt).
So as a thank-you to Jill, I decided to (have Josh) pick a good looking recipe out of the book and make it, so that Josh could bring it in and Jill et. al could enjoy the deliciousness of the gift. And because thank-you notes are better dipped in chocolate and banana. Continue reading →
So this lemon walks into a bar.
Bartender looks him over, thinks about it, says,
“You know, I like you. You got a lot of a peel.”
What do you call a benefit concert for sick lemons?
The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet: The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (professional wrestlers, longshoremen, etc.), but nobody could do it. One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, “I’d like to try the bet.” After the laughter had died down, the bartender agreed, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the dried, wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd’s laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and SIX drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight lifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”
Continue reading →
I gained a new superpower in the last…oh, two hours or so. I mastered ice once. Now, I have mastered fire. Well, dry heat. The oven. Specifically bananas in the oven.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if I were you, I would be thinking, “Who the hell puts bananas in an oven? What kind of deranged Pop-n-Fresh monkey business is this?”
I’ll tell you: roasted banana bars.
I got the recipe from Cooking Light (that means it’s healthy! Okay, maybe not healthy. Light. Lighter. Light enough to not feel guilty) and immediately I added it to my Evernote, which is where I store all my recipes (I’ll write more on that another time), because Josh loves anything and everything banana. And this one is indeed bananariffic. That’s not really a word. But we’ll pretend it is. Continue reading →
Josh is a fan of blueberries. A picky, picky fan of blueberries who will only eat fresh ones in season, never in pancakes, and who makes delicious blueberry muffins. Last summer we picked our own blueberries on a farm in West Michigan, near where Josh grew up. Because of that, we now have stacks of frozen bags of blueberries in our fridge. Stacks and stacks.
Flash forward to this summer. I know the cycle will continue. So I’m determined to use up some of those blueberry stores before Josh gets a hankering to go pick some more. That, coupled with a request for more baked goods for his office, divided by my desire to procrastinate from doing the video work I should be doing and multiplied by the inspiration of a cupcake book I picked up from the library today equaled one thing: blueberry crumble bars.
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Lately I’ve been making my own granola bars. I blame Whole Foods for this development; I got the inspiration while looking through the snack recipes on their website and found one for chocolate chip granola bars. It looked pretty simple (it IS pretty simple) and besides, I love granola bars but often they make me sick. I tend to have bouts of reactive hypoglycemia fairly often and commercial granola bars are usually full of sugar and corn syrup which is a bad thing for me to have, and natural store-bought granola bars are pretty expensive. So I thought, why not? I’ll make my own. It’ll be like the culinary equivalent of cutting down your own trees for wood. Or something like that.
Continue reading →