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My hunt for the perfect brownie is finally over.

These dark chocolate brownies are soft and fudgy, with a crackled top and a little bite around the edge.

And that thick, gooey, coconutty middle…it just gives them a bit of Almond Joy kick that tastes — and smells — fantastic.

I know everyone gets a little choosy — me included — when it comes to “The Perfect Brownie.”

But this particular recipe just does it for me — with or without the coconut.

The brownie has that thin crust on top.

It has the fudginess, the chewiness, those slightly crispy puffed-up edges.

It’s chocolatey AND it has that awesome cocoa flavor.

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This is one killer granola bar.

It’s chewy, bound together with caramel and tastes like a buttered Rice Krispies treat all grown-up with toasted nuts and oats and a little kick of salt.

And it’s only 120 calories a bar. 

I’ve tried SO MANY granola recipes — all of which were either too hard, too crunchy or just fell apart. I even made a spongy batch once with pumpkin puree.

The first time I bit into these chewy granola bars, I did a happy dance, which the kids found pretty funny.

I knew right away…this recipe is THE ONE. The best. The granola bar I’ve been searching for.

I’ve made these bars at least a dozen times since.

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Blondies make me feel like I should say  “bars” with a Minnesota accent, like from that pageant-mockumentary — “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Yeah, I like that movie.

I think bars are kind of the bake sale go-to, which makes them seem…tame. 

Except I tend to really like bars.

I’m just bored with their shape.

So I went with cake here — a moist, toffee-covered peanut-filled blondie cake with a butterscotch glaze.

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I miss my oven. I miss whisking, blending, pouring, toothpick-testing, tasting.

I just miss baking.

My need to bake finally beat out my only-slightly weaker summertime urge to ice cream everything.

Thus — butterscotch bites.

Oh yes…they have brown butter.

Brown butter in the summer. It’s not seasonal. 

Brown butter is fabulous any time of year. 

These truly are butterscotch bliss.

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These are some pretty freaking fabulous toffee blondies.

They’re moist and buttery and as easy to make as a cookie — maybe even easier.

And you get to brown butter.

Then mix it with brown sugar. And toffee.

These will absolutely make your kitchen — maybe the entire house — smell awesome.

Texturally, they’re fantastic — the edges have a definite cookie-like crunch, while the middle of the bars are buttery and moist.

All while tiny bits of toffee and nuts run through the whole thing.

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This granola bar is addictive. It has a perfect chew-to-crunch factor. It has coconut and oats.

And, of course, it has the wonderful, the fabulous, my favorite — peanut butter.

I confess — I eat peanut butter straight from the jar.

I’ve tried crunchy and creamy and even that natural stuff you have to refrigerator after opening.

I’ve made my own with honey roasted peanuts and a food processor.

Strangely, my favorite is Peter Pan Reduced Fat. It really isn’t that much healthier, but the consistency is a bit smoother, a bit creamier.

Probably due to the soy. I’m ok with soy.

Especially when it partners up with peanuts. And they make butter together.

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I found this recipe pasted to an index card in an old stainless steel recipe box I bought at a garage sale for $1.

The box was full of cards, most dating back to the 70s, for things like Brown Sugar Spritz, Poor Man’s Cookies, Basic Never-Fail Fudge and Three-Pea Salad.

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