Pecan Squares

The birthday countdown continues…….

Am I ready? Yes ……….. and no. Ready to celebrate with my family, of course, but not ready to turn another year older. I know, I know, I don’t have a choice, the years will keep a comin’ whether I want to them to or not.

However, let it go on record that I am protesting :)

Anyhoo, I am writing this betwixt and between making dinner and packing, we are leaving for VEGAS tomorrow morning to overtake my parents’ home for a wonderful long weekend filled with family, laughter, and of course, copious amounts of food and wine.

P1000429And cake. 

Did I mention that I am going to make this cake for my birthday?

Can’t wait…..

Pecan Squares – adapted from Ina Garten

Crust:
1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Topping:
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Soft Raspberry Granola Bars

So…. the reality that I’m actually moving soon hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks the other day.

It was early Sunday morning, in case you were wondering….

There I was……writing the check for the final payment for the property taxes, when it dawned on me that it was the last time I would ever do that for this house again.

I was taken aback for a moment, then did a happy happy dance around the kitchen.

Fortunately, no one saw.

So to celebrate, I went out and bought a truckload of packing boxes, tape, and bubble wrap.

We’re all adults until someone breaks out the bubble wrap….

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Soft Raspberry Granola Bars – adapted from Food and Wine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.
Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with the remaining oat mixture.
Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Oatmeal Raisin Bars

With our impending move imminent on the horizon, my next task (aside from not losing my mind) is to use up as much stock in the pantry as I can.

Operation throw-out-all-the junk-I’m-not-moving was a complete and total success – and quite frankly, I am giving myself a well-deserved pat on the back for being so organized and so productive this early in the game. The way things are progressing, it appears that my house may have sold much faster than I anticipated.

As in, the first people that looked at it put in an offer.

However, until there’s a signature on the bottom line (and the cash in the bank), I am not going to fret unnecessarily or alter the current course of action.

So ….. back to my plan. My freezer currently resembles a bachelor pad, which is a nice way of saying it contains ice….. and not much else….

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Well, that’s not entirely true. Now, residing on the shelf at precisely eye-level, is a batch of these exceptionally tasty, soft and chewy mmmmmm mmmmmm good cookie bars. Which, based on how easy they are to make (and consume), will definitely be made again using chocolate chips to appease the non-raisin eater in the house *Alexander*.

Of course, the fact that I have a 5 pound bag of oatmeal to use up is a contributing factor as well…..

Oatmeal Raisin Bars – adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides; spray foil with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

So today’s the day of the “BIG GAME”.

I’m referring, of course, to the Super Bowl. Honestly, I don’t care much about the actual game, I’m more concerned with the food, and the commercials.

Those are the important things.

So far, I have dessert covered:

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Next on my list: make a big batch of chili, prepare my infamous not-fried hot wings, and to give Daisy a much-needed bath.

That last item has nothing to do with food, of course.

But I’m pretty sure you figured that out on your own……

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars – adapted from what megan’s making

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups quick-cooking or old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and oats. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and beat just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan, using a spatula or your hands to press into place. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool, but cut the bars while they are still somewhat warm, as a knife will go through them more easily.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

I had the Monday doldrums really badly today. Well, maybe doldrums isn’t the correct vernacular…. I felt uninspired and tired. I suppose it was because I woke up several times last night, and realized that no, Toto, I wasn’t in Rome anymore.

Which really kinda bummed me out.

So when Mom called earlier today, and suggested another trip/vacation, the first thing I thought of was, ” More Ricotta Fresca!” Which is this:

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Freshly made ricotta cheese – sweet and creamy and unlike ANYTHING you’ve ever had here. And while I’m no expert, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of fresh ricotta in several states – and none of them have ever come close to this.

Just thinking about consuming it again is making my taste buds go agog with unrestrained passion for such an unparalleled culinary experience.

I think I need to sit down for a moment……

In the meantime, go make a batch of these bars. You won’t regret it.

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One year ago: White Bean Roasted Garlic Hummus

Blueberry Crumb Bars – adapted from brown eyed baker

Crumb topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg

Blueberry Filling:
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
Juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter, and then the egg (the dough will be crumbly). Press half of dough into the prepared pan. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently fold in the blueberries to coat evenly with the sugar mixture. Spread the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust, drizzling any excess juice in the bowl over the filling. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the blueberry layer.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Believe it or not, this weekend marks the official “last free weekend” before school starts next week.

Which, speaking veraciously, still astounds me.

But I can’t deny that summer is just about over for us. I mean, the calendar clearly states the obvious.  And the unequivocal fact is that the posse’s textbooks were delivered to the doorstep yesterday. A 38.6 pound box, to be precise.

Heavier than Daisy but lighter than a Rottweiler.

Which reminds me…..I had the funniest dream last night. I came home from work to find 5 French Bulldog puppies in my tub – asking for a bath because their paws were dirty from running around outside.

First of all, how did they get into the jacuzzi tub?

And second of all, when did they learn to speak English?

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One Year Ago: Sabrina’s Back to School Chewy Granola Bars

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bars – adapted from half baked harvest

2 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tbs. vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (dark, bittersweet, semi sweet – your choice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or line with foil.
In a large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal, both flours, brown sugar, baking soda, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined and the dough holds together. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Turn the batter out into prepared pan, pushing the dough evenly into pan.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, do not over bake. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving

Baked S’more’s Bars

It’s Monday…..and I am fairly certain that today, my brain is only operating at about 45 percent capacity.

I mean, my normal operating system speed is usually around 85%. And to save myself from embarrassment, I’m not even going to try to do any fancy complicated math skills to determine the percent differential…..but suffice to say, I’m definitely off my game today.

How do I know this? I’ve been staring at the company bank reconciliation sheet for 2 hours….. and I can’t find the error…..and it’s driving me crazy.

Or to drink.

Or both…

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One Year Ago: Strawberry Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Baked S’More’s Bars - adapted from rachel shultz

½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 and ⅓ cups flour
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. baking powder
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (I used chocolate chips)
1 and ½ cups marshmallow fluff (I used a combination of marshmallow fluff and regular marshmallows)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir flour, graham cracker crumbs and baking powder.
  3. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture.
  4. Press half of dough into a greased 9×9 pan. Set chocolate bars on top.
  5. Spread marshmallow fluff over chocolate and top with remaining dough.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.