Archive for the ‘Bars’ Category

Bake 52 Week 35: Crunchy Granola Bars

August 29, 2012

Granola bars are something I never really thought about ever being homemade, so I was curious how this recipe would turn out.  But…

1 1/2 cups of nuts!  Yikes!  I wasn’t very excited when I saw that on the ingredient list.  I can usually just leave the nuts out of a recipe, but 1 1/2 cups is a pretty significant exemption, so I opted to chop them up really good to hopefully disguise them.  I went with almonds because if I had to eat a nut, that’s the one I would choose.

This was a pretty darn easy recipe to put together.  I decided to try the cranberry variation, minus the crystallized ginger because I didn’t have any.  My bars turned very crunchy…in spite of the name of the recipe, I’m not sure if they were supposed to be as crunchy as they were, or if it was due to the fact that I was in the middle of feeding a baby when my timer went off and I had to bake them 5 minutes longer (which still put it within the 35-40 minute cooking time).  Either way, I hope nobody breaks a tooth on them!

Owen and Emmy were both big fans.  Ryan, not so much.  Joseph liked them, but did comment on how hard they were.  I might try these again sometime, maybe with some chocolate chips to entice Ryan a little more….I think they’d make a great snack to put in lunchboxes!

Emily was this week’s host.  Check out her blog for the recipe.

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Bake 52 Week 33: Raspberry Streusal Bars

August 15, 2012

I LOVE raspberries….but I don’t always love them in the form of ice cream or baked goods, so I was a little unsure how I’d like this recipe.  It was a pretty easy and quick one to make, with no crazy ingredients or instructions.  I decided to leave out the pecans on the topping.  I had planned to put them over half of the bars and leave the other half untainted, until I went to the store and saw that a little bag cost over $5….I’m a cheapskate, what can I say?

Once they came out of the oven, it occured to me that they actually looked and smelled quite a bit like Nutri-Grain Bars, which I quite like.  I had high hopes that they would taste like them too.  They didn’t quite live up to that expectation, but they were yummy.  Joseph LOVED them!  Couldn’t get enough of them…ate most of the pan himself.  Emmy was also a big fan.

One thing I like about this recipe is that these bars can be frozen for up to a month.  I think I’ll definitely be making some to freeze and use for school lunches.  I’m excited to try the strawberry and blueberry variations as well!

Jen O. was this week’s host, so check out her blog for a fun and easy recipe!

Bake 52 Week 17: Baklava

April 25, 2012

This week’s post comes to you from the the nation’s capitol!

I wasn’t sure I’d get this recipe done, as I’m on vacation visiting my sister.  She’s a fellow Bake 52’er, but she also just moved in the last week, so I wasn’t sure her kitchen would be put together enough to do any baking.  It was though, so we spent Sunday night making Baklava.

I knew right from the start that I wouldn’t even be taking a small taste of this recipe.  I do not like nuts, and since that makes up the bulk of baklava, it doesn’t entice me in the slightest.  That’s probably a crime considering I grew up in Carbon County, where the Greek Festival is a BIG deal every year and little old Greek ladies make mass amounts of baklava (I’m sure completely from scratch….no cheating with phyllo dough).

It was a somewhat labor intensive recipe, though not really hard. We started off with making the sugary syrup, which Em worked on…

…while I worked on clarifying the butter, which started out like this…

…and ended up like this.  You skim the foam off the top and then carefully pour the separated butterfat off the top.  Kind of a cool trick to know, though I’d never know when to use it unless a recipe specified it.

Em zested the lemon.  I just love lemons.  They smell and taste so wonderful!

We failed to read the directions on the phyllo, so we didn’t realize that it would need to thaw for at least 2 hours on the countertop.  Given that it was getting late, waiting for it to thaw wasn’t really an option.  So, we worked with torn sheets of somewhat dried out phyllo dough. This was my first experience working with it, and as it started to thaw it reminded me of skin from a peeling sunburn.  Not the most appetizing comparison to make!  As we worked, we layered the phyllo sheets and added the nuts.

While cooking, the baklava smelled like butter.  Lots of butter.  Stomach-churning amounts of butter.  Kind of like the palmiers we made a few weeks ago.  Blech.  Check out the sheen on this baby, pre-baking.  There’s that and more under all those layers.

In spite of our rushed use of the frozen phyllo, the baklava came out of the oven looking quite pretty.  It was pretty late at that point, so we left it to cool overnight and didn’t have a chance to dig into it until after dinner the next day.

I, of course, just watched everyone else partake.  For me, there was nothing appetizing about the way it looked or smelled.  Those who did eat it said it was good.  I don’t know how it compares to traditional baklava, but Nick ate two pieces, which I suppose is a good sign.  Em dropped some off to a neighbor, who later called and left her a message RAVING about how good it was.  She apparently used to live near some people from the Middle East who made baklava frequently.  She said that she’s never found any to rival what they made, but this one did it for her.  Extra good sign!  This is definitely not a repeat recipe for me, but it was at least fun to be able to make it with my sister this week!

Talesha was this week’s host….check out her blog for the full recipe and directions!

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Bake 52 Week 10: Lunchbox Brownies

March 7, 2012

It’s no secret that I’m not a chocolate lover.  However, I do enjoy a good brownie, and the lunchbox brownie was a good brownie….nothing spectacular, but better than what you can make from a box, and just about as easy too.  When I don’t need a ton, it will make a good alternative to my all-time-favorite brownie recipe, which makes an entire cookie sheet’s worth of brownies and calls for so many eggs,  cubes of butter, and cups of sugar that it kind of makes you sick to think about (but oh, do they taste good!).

My initial intent was to make the peanut butter variation, but when it came time to bake, I wasn’t in the mood for peanut butter.  So these are just plain janes and we gobbled them right up!

One thing to note is that the recipe suggested baking for 22-27 minutes. Mine had to bake for 35 minutes before a toothpick came out with just a few crumbs.

Liz was this week’s host…..if you’d like the recipe, visit her blog.

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Bake 52 Week 5: 7-Layer Bars

February 1, 2012

This week’s host, Jesse, chose 7-Layer Bars. Picky ‘ol me likes exactly 3 ingredients in this recipe–graham crackers, Rice Krispies, and butter. So they went to work with Joseph again. His co-workers are really starting to love me!

I haven’t dared add the up the cost of all of this baking-from-scratch stuff, but I couldn’t help myself this week. I was doing my regular grocery shopping when I bought the ingredients and these bars ate up a big chunk of my budget! The only things I didn’t have to buy were graham crackers, butter, and vanilla. I actually had some chocolate chips, but wanted to buy more to replace what I would use from my own stockpile. I went with generic brands as available (which I think was everything but the toffee) and the total for the ingredients was just over $20! OUCH! Add a few more bucks if I’d needed to buy the 3 ingredients I already had on-hand….this is not a cheap dessert! Granted, there was a full-box-minus-one-cup of Rice Krispies left and a little bit of chocolate chips, but still, not cheap.

One of our at-home bakers made these last week and commented that 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk were a little overwhelming for her.  The Test Kitchen chefs felt that one can was not enough.  I was initially going to go with a happy medium of 1 1/2 cans, but I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the remaining 1/2 can, and I didn’t want to just toss it. So I went with one can, and in spite of the Test Kitchen chef’s warnings not to, I don’t think it ruined the recipe.

Toasted coconut….a first for me.

Had the recipe ended here, I probably would have eaten it.  Even though I don’t like toffee.  It smelled sooooo good coming out of the oven!

In the oven…

Once they were completed, these looked 100%, without a doubt, unappetizing to me. I had zero desire to even take a little nibble to test them out. But Joseph was drooling before they even came out of the oven.

He took them to work the next morning and said they were recieved with rave reviews.

My favorite thing about this recipe?  It took far less time than the recipes in the last couple of weeks.  My least favorite?  The cost.

If these puppies look yummy to you, head on over to Jesse’s blog for the recipe!