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.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars

I was never one to partake in the whole “salty-sweet” dessert craze that came about a few years ago (and is still going strong). I mean, I revere in salty items, like pretzels and tortilla chips, especially when they’re loaded with guacamole….mmmm…. guacamole….

And I adore cherish venerate my sweet items, like chocolate chip cookies.

But I’ve never appreciated them put together in a dessert……until now that is, when I made these bars last weekend for Alexander’s totally-last-minute, completely-impromptu birthday party.

Alexander’s comment: “Mom! It wasn’t a birthday party. It was a ‘get-together’.”

Ohhhhhhh-kay. 

Party or get together, the end result was the same – a raucous group of hungry teenage boys, who can and will devour anything/everything in sight.

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These were perfect – not too sweet, not too salty – and thankfully, I still have a few stashed in my freezer – they’ll make an excellent addition to our first trip to the lake this season (which, by my calculations, will be next weekend – fingers crossed)…

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars – adapted from food and wine

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
One 12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely broken up pretzels (I put them in a ziploc bag and used my little mallet to break them up)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.
In a bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

Robert’s Best Brownies

I have to admit something regarding these brownies…….

I didn’t try them…

Shocking I know, especially if you are aware of my intense love affair with chocolate….

However, they were baked, wrapped up, and delivered to my dermatologists’ office before my mom had a procedure done two weeks ago. My doctor is as much of a card-carrying chocoholic as I am, so I always like to take something extra delicious for him and his staff.

The next day, I had to take Alexander over to the office to have a palm thorn removed from his hand (long story) – but the girls made a point of telling me how absolutely delicious those brownies were – and was I sure I didn’t buy them somewhere?

…..as if…...

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Robert’s Best Brownies – adapted from David Lebovitz

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Line the inside of an 8-inch square pan with 2 lengths of foil, positioning the sheets perpendicular to each other and allowing the excess to extend beyond the edges of the pan, or with a single large sheet of extra wide foil or parchment paper. Lightly butter the foil or parchment.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
Let the brownie cool completely in the pan—this is the difficult part—before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares.

Lemon Bars

After my comprehensive, extensive and (sometimes) exhaustive research into the megacosm of desserts, I have concluded that 90% of the planet’s population is squarely divided into two categories:

Those who love chocolate (that would be me).

And those who love vanilla (that would be my brother).

However, both sides seem to have a fond appreciation for anything that involves lemon. I suppose it’s due to the fact that lemon desserts are so refreshing, and one bite instantly transports you to a place in your mind of warm, sunny days………. laying by the pool……….or the beach……..

Sorry, I was on vacation there for a moment.

Anyway, now that we have completed the math/physics portion of  today’s test, would you care to postulate as to what I’ll be doing this weekend?

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Here’s a hint - it involves a ladder and a roller….

Lemon Bars – adapted from Nick Malgieri

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
6-7 tbs. strained lemon juice
powdered sugar, for dusting

Butter and line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with buttered parchment or foil. Position oven rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla; continue beating a minute or two, until light. Decrease speed and beat in the flour. Spread the dough over the bottom of prepared pan, using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it. Bake the base for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and baked through.
While the base is baking, prepare the topping; be careful not to overmix the topping, or it will have a coarse textured foam on the top when baked. In a big bowl, whisk the eggs just to break them up. Whisk in the sugar, then the lemon juice.
As soon as the base is baked, remove it from the oven and pour on the topping.
Immediately return pan to oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the topping is set and firm.
Cool on a rack until completely cooled. Cut into squares, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

 

No-bake Granola Bars

One of the aspects I miss most about “the good old days” of blogging is the camaraderie amongst the members of the baking groups I previously belonged to.

Although I never got to meet any of them face to face, we all knew each others names, what was happening in our lives, and shared good news as well as bad. And, even though I shut down my previous blog, I kept all of the important blogs in my reader so that I could still follow along and see what was going in the world I used to be a big part of.

One of my favorite bloggers was/is Katrina from Baking and Boys — we “met” through Tuesdays With Dorie and became fast friends. Her sharp wit and easygoing personality made me feel like I had known her my entire life. There is no shortage of activity in her house with four young boys – plus she always has something yummy going on in the kitchen.

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Like these granola bars she posted about a month ago…. I have my “gold standard” recipe for granola bars, but I am always up for the challenge of trying something new.

Because a no-bake recipe is clearly a challenge.

ahem

These were super easy, quite delicious, and will definitely be made again. The only difference between mine and Katrina’s is that I mixed the chocolate chips through the oats/cereal while it was still hot, and therefore was left with a streaky chocolate mixture that was mighty tasty.

Just ask Sabrina :)

No Bake Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars – adapted from Katrina

2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal (or crushed up chex cereal – which is what I used)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
4 tbs. unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with non-stick foil (or use regular foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray).  Combine the oats, cereal and chocolate chips in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, add the brown sugar, honey and butter.  Bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for one more minute.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the sugar mixture over the oats and cereal and stir to combine until all is moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the pan and spread evenly.  Press down until it is compact.  Allow the bars to set until firm, about 2 hours, and/or put them in the refrigerator until firm.  Remove the bars from the pan using the edges of the foil overhang.  Peel the foil off the bars and cut to desired sized pieces.  Store in an airtight container.