Archive

Bars

After a number of baking failures, I felt I needed to try something so easy, even I wouldn’t mess it up.

This takes about 10 minutes to prepare, simple! And it is gooey, chocolatey and more-ish goodness. I am ashamed how fast this disappeared.

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate discs (may substitute chocolate chips)
1 1/4 cups Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (can be substituted with M&Ms or other chocolate)

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.  Line a 14 inch deep round pizza pan with parchment and grease entire pan including the paper.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl.  Add eggs and mix to combine.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients, and stir till incorporated. Mix in chocolate discs and 1/2 cup M&Ms, reserving 3/4 cup to garnish the top.  Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Use remaining M&Ms to decorate the top of the cookie cake.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool and remove from pan if desired.  Slice and serve.

Had a bit of baking theme going for a while the other week: chocolate bars in baked goods. Who needs to choose between home made and store-bought when you can have BOTH together. These blondies have a lovely butterscotch fudginess to them and anything with Snickers in it is a sure two thumbs up for me.

Oh, and if you can cut up all the Snickers bars without sneaking a couple of pieces then you are a better person than I.

Snickers Blondies

(from gingerbreadbagels.com)

1 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
9 Fun Size Snickers Bars (6 bars chopped into 4 pieces each) (3 bars chopped into 8 pieces each)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 8 by 8 inch baking pan.

Take 6 Snickers Bars and chop each one into 4 pieces. You will end up with 24 pieces. Take another 3 Snickers Bars and chop each one into 8 pieces. You will end up with another 24 pieces. Keep the two groups of Snickers Bars divided.

Sift together 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer works fine), combine 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Once those ingredients are combined, add 1 large egg and mix until the egg is incorporated.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until barely combined.

Take a spatula/mixing spoon and fold the ingredients together.

Add in the 24 larger Snicker Bar pieces and fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into a 8 by 8 lightly greased baking pan.

Bake the Snickers Blondies for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. During the last 5 minutes of baking, press the 24 small pieces of Snicker Bars into the Blondies.

Once the Snickers Blondies are done baking, cool them completely on a cooling rack. Cut into squares and enjoy!

This treat is a beast of no-bake proportions and an absolute sinch (does anything actually say that anymore?) to whip. Just crush, mush, stir and you have yourself an irresistable indulgence. Something so liberating about not having to turn the oven on!

Chocolate Fridge Cake Bars

(from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook) … must be through nearly all their recipes by now!

  • 400g unsalted butter
  • 200 ml golden syrup
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 800g digestive biscuits, broken into small chunks ( I used a mix of digestives and Oreos)

a 33 x 23 x 5-cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper

Makes about 12 portions

  1. Put the butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium heat and heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.
  2. Put the biscuit chunks in a large bowl and pour in the chocolate mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until everything is well mixed and the biscuits are evenly dispersed.
  3. Press the mixture into the prepared baking tray using a tablespoon to flatten and compress it. Cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper, then a tray covered in jam jars or tins to apply pressure on the cake and compress it even more. Leave to cool completely, then refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight if possible.

I made these a couple of weeks ago and can’t believe I am only just putting the recipe up now. A new motto for me might be ‘when in doubt, make nanaimo bars’. These are so more-ish and easy to make they are the ultimate comfort bake (actually no bake) go-to.

Nanaimo Bars

(from thejoyofbaking.com)

Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs or crushed Digestive Biscuits

1 cup (65 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)

1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Middle Layer:

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 – 3 tablespoons milk or cream

2 tablespoons (20 grams) vanilla custard powder (Bird’s) or vanilla pudding powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing)  sugar

Top Layer:

4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

 

Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with a non stick vegetable spray.

Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Middle Layer: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

Top Layer: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Then, in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has set. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

Yield: Makes about 25 squares. Preparation time 45 minutes.

So these are the most addictive bars ever! And they are better than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! The original recipe did not include a biscuit base but I thought this would be a great crunchy addition to the whole delicious bite. So, stop whatever you are doing right now, and go and make these, and they will make you smile.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

(adapted from browneyedbaker.com)

Yield: 16 bars

For the Base:

  • 1½ cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
  • 5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspooon (¼ teaspoon to double) salt
  1. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides, then butter the foil. Set aside. I used a foil tin and buttered it which worked perfectly.
  2. Stir together ingredients and press into bottom of the pan. Chill in fridge.

For the filling and top:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the ½ cup of butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs until completely combined and smooth. Spread the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

2. In the now-empty saucepan, melt the ¼ cup unsalted butter. Add the chocolate and stir until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.

3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set. Remove from the pan using the foil overhangs and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

HAPPY CANADA DAY! Canada is celebrating it’s annual national pride holiday, and as a newly annointed permanent resident, it is only proper that I fully immerse myself in the festivities. And Kate and William are in Ottawa today too, so really it’s the best Canada Day ever.


The Legislature grounds were absolutely packed with people and things going on. There was a gun (or canon more like) salute which got every small child in the vicinity crying their eyes out. We got to look inside the legislature building though which was rather cool!

And good thing the Queen oversees proceedings otherwise there would obviously be complete chaos.

My favourite part was the display of antique cars from the beginning of the 20th century, the 50s chevy is so darn cool.

Great stuff! And here’s a recipe that has absolutely NOTHING to do with Canada but is very very very tasty! Enjoy!

Seven Layer Bars

(from browneyedbaker.com)

Yield: 18 bars

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 9 graham crackers (5 ounces), crushed
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with two overlapping pieces of foil or parchment paper, leaving overhang to act as handles for lifting the bars out of the pan. Spray with non-stick spray.

2. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until the outer flakes just begin to brown, about 4 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it – coconut can go from slightly browned to burnt in a matter of seconds.) Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

4. In order, sprinkle the walnuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut over the graham crumbs. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the entire dish.

5. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

6. Remove the bars fromthe pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or bench cutter, cut into 2 by 3-inch bars.

Alright, enough with all this chocolate and peanut butter and candy bars. It’s time for fruit… with a small bit of chocolate!

These bars have been on my mind for a while, so when the sun came out today, I thought they would be a perfect thing to make for a summer day. They are baked sunshine.

And it doesn’t hurt to pile on some more fruit… yum.

Orange Walnut Bars

(apadted from the Fat Witch Bakery book)

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (1 medium orange)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

* I didn’t add semisweet chocolate chips to the batter but I did add a white chocolate ganache on top of the bar – see below!

  1. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and shake out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350degreesFahrenheit.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. When blended and smooth, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer the butter mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs until completely blended. Add the orange juice and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  4. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt and then sift together directly into the batter. Mix gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the orange zest, walnuts, and, if desired, chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it. The top should be golden brown and the edges pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rach for 1 hour. Cut just before serving.

White Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 cup double cream
  • 170g white chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat the double cream in a small pan until it starts to simmer.
  2. Tip in the white chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir the mixture.
  3. Add the butter and keep stirring until well combined
  4. Keep in the fridge until thickened.
  5. SPREAD OVER DELICIOUS ORANGE BARS.

Makes 12 to 16 bars.