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Archive for the ‘Brownies/Bars’ Category

I am very easily persuaded when it comes to baking. Last Sunday Brandon suggested that I bake cookies or brownies for dessert and I immediately agreed that it was a fabulous idea. I started flipping through cookbooks to find a new recipe that I could blog about and I’m here to say that I found a winner.

I love the Southern Living Cookbook. It’s one of those cookbooks that never fails me…I can always find something delicious to make from it. The second I saw these white chocolate brownies, I knew that I’d found my dessert.

Brownies are a staple in our dessert rotation but always in the traditional chocolate form. I loved the idea of having a white chocolate base. Brandon had the genius idea of adding toffee. The results were perfect – the white chocolate was the star and the toffee added the perfect compliment. I loved the slight saltiness that the toffee provided.

Top with ice cream and chocolate sauce for extra deliciousness!

White Chocolate Toffee Brownies
(Recipe adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped and divided
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup toffee

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8 x 8 pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add 4 ounces of white chocolate and remove from heat. Do not stir the butter and chocolate. Allow chocolate to slowly melt.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar, beating well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to egg mixer, mixing until just blended. Stir in white chocolate and vanilla. Fold in remaining chopped white chocolate and toffee.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen squares

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The peanut butter/chocolate combo and I go way back. I totally blame my dad for introducing me to Reese’s Cups at a young age. He later shared with me the magical creation that is a Dairy Queen Reese’s Blizzard (extra Reese’s, of course) and it all went downhill from there. If you were to look at my starred items in Google Reader you would see a downright embarrassing number of peanut butter and chocolate desserts. I just can’t help myself.

And let’s get real here. Yes, I am posting this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars just three days after writing about abdominal exercises on my healthy living blog. So after you eat these bars, head on over to Peanut Butter Runner (so appropriately named) and try some new ab challenges. ;)

Just a reminder that I preach balance, balance, balance. Amen.

I was looking for a treat to bring to a beach weekend with friends. These bars seemed like something that would be easy for people to pick up when they were in the mood for something sweet. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them. I mean, how could you not!?

Despite having three layers, they were surprisingly easy to assemble. I loved that there was no baking involved and I did all of my chocolate melting in the microwave rather than on the stove top. The only downside was that they turned out not to be ideal for traveling in a hot car. They really needed to stay refrigerated and got a little melty on the trip down. Thankfully, they firmed back up in the fridge and no taste was compromised!

The crispy part of these bars is a little different. Instead of making your traditional Rice Krispies treat with marshmallows, you use corn syrup, water and sugar to make a sticky mixture to bind the Rice Krispies cereal together. I think that next time I will try the traditional method with marshmallows just for comparison. If I do, I will report back! (Don’t get me wrong, they are great as is!) And one last note, I doubled this recipe and made it in an 11 x 9 instead of an 8 x 8 pan.

I think these would be perfect to take to Fall football get-togethers. I promise they will disappear quickly and you will be the hit of the party for serving them!

One Year Ago: Sauteed Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
(Recipe source Cate’s World Kitchen, originally from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRISPY CRUST
1 3/4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted

FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER LAYER
5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Spray an 8″ square pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high. Insert a candy thermometer into the mixture and boil until it reaches 235 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in melted butter, pour over the cereal and mix together. Press into prepared pan and let cool while you make the peanut butter layer.

FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER LAYER
Melt the milk chocolate and peanut butter together in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth, then pour over the crust and chill for an hour in fridge or until set. Alternatively, melt chocolate and peanut butter together in the microwave on 50 percent power. Cook in 30 second intervals, stirring between until melted and continue with directions above.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
Clean out the double boiler and place dark chocolate, corn syrup and butter in pot. Stir until smooth, over medium low heat. Alternatively, use the same microwave method as above. Cool for about 30 seconds (stirring constantly), then pour over the peanut butter layer, gently spreading. Chill in the fridge for another hour, or until topping has hardened. Cut into squares and serve.

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I love fig season but hate how short it is. I only had a few weeks this year to enjoy figs from my mother in law’s tree before they were ruined in a terrible storm (all of the fruit was bruised). I’m hoping we get a few more before the season is over but we’ll see. Fig season has been a big deal in my family for as long as I can remember. My dad used to pick buckets of them and make fig preserves every summer for my mom.

I came home from work one day last week and my mother in law had dropped off these Fresh Fig Bars. They were delicious. Kind of a cross between a Fig Newton and a traditional crumb bar. The fresh figs were truly the star of these bars.

I can’t wait to make these for my mom. I know she will love them. If you have access to fresh figs, these bars are a great way to use them!

One Year Ago: Fig Upside Down Cake (told ya I love fig season!)

Fresh Fig Bars
(Recipe adapted from Group Recipes)

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh figs
1 cup water
1 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup butter (or shortening)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups sifted flour
3 cups oats

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, combine figs, water, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and lemon peel. Simmer about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of flour and water and stir into fig mixture. Let cook five minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and oats and fold into butter mixture. Pat half of oatmeal mixture into bottom of pan and spread fig filling evenly over. Sprinkle remainder of oatmeal mixture over the filling and press lightly with a fork.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool and then cut into squares and serve.

Yield: 16 squares

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