Category Archives: Bars

Mud Hen Bars

Dirty poultry desserts. Say what?

Mud Hen Bars 5--091114

Okay, so that’s not what “mud hen” really means, but I swear I was on the right track when I first heard the term “mud hen bars” two blissful months ago and tried my hand at creating my own!

Let me break this down for you and blow your soon-to-be-enlightened mind…

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Brown sugar meringue top. Yes, this is actually a thing. It is so much a thing, in fact, that these bars might just explode in the face of its ultimate thingy-ness. Crackle, meringue, yum!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Base. Possibly my favorite kind of base, unless you count the rebel base from Star Wars, in which case this cookie base swoops in for a close second and Ala collects major geekdom points (+10 EXP, Lvl Up!).

Chocolate Chunks. I support your impulse to throw many chocolate chips in your batter until it becomes chunkier than a sedentary monkey with fifty pounds of butter cake…

Now that I’ve walked you through that drool-worthy deliciousness, I want to talk life stuff. But first, some weird performance artsy gifs…

Mud Hen Bars gif 3

Mud Hen Bars gif 2

If you’re wondering why in holy chocolations I was filming myself breaking off giant chunks of Mud Hen Bars (don’t worry, I ate them all myself afterward), I have no idea either. I think I might have been having a bad day and suddenly realized that my petty grad student income isn’t big enough to justify buying a punching bag. Outlets, outlets…

Between these and stress eating, I really need to find a better outlet for my feelz. Seriously.

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But okay, that’s just me being facetious. Besides the fact that family can be sometimes high-stress in tiny little ways, life has actually been great and relaxing this past week, and I am 110% happy to report that I am rereading the Harry Potter series for the first time in 6 years.

Yes, you read that blasphemy no it really IS blasphemy, right. But for the first time in forever I have tiiiiiiiime!

And this is the first thing I jump to do.

More geekdom points for me, I see.

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My research articles are still coming along and I finally got to visit the Seuss Collection at UCSD, where I got to do cool stuff like NOT rub my face all over Dr. Seuss’s original manuscripts and instead gently, carefully, charily handle the memo paper on which he first penned lines from And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, his first children’s picture book.

I even had enough time during my like 10-days’ vacation (still happening, btw) to work on a Top Secret project that I can’t wait to share with you all. Soon!

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In the meantime, though, I’ll be whiling away my lazy days munching on a few of these incredibly crackly, chewy bars–the meringue takes just enough edge off the whole “drowning in richness” dessert experience to make you feel like you’re doing something good for yourself.

And you are.

Or you will be in about 30 minutes when these pop out of your oven, because I know that’s where you’re headed right now, right?

Rightio.

Have a great week, friends!

Ala

Mud Hen Bars

Mud Hen Bars are perfectly chewy, chocolate-chunk-filled cookie bars topped with a crackly brown sugar meringue. A great chance of pace from your run-of-the-mill blondie, and an instant elegant hit on any party tray!

Ingredients

    For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For the Brown Sugar Meringue Topping:
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar: Cream together melted butter and brown sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir in until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  3. For the Brown Sugar Meringue: Beat egg whites until foamy, then add brown sugar and continue beating until whites become stiff and glossy (about 3-4 minutes with hand mixer).
  4. Pour meringue topping and spread evening but gently over cookie layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out with very moist crumbs clinging to it. (The meringue will make it hard to tell if it's done, but it's better to underbake than overbake!)
  5. Allow to bars to cool completely in pan before cutting into delicious, crackly squares.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/16/mud-hen-bars/

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Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, GF, Vegan) for #gradstudentbloggers

Your grad/undergrad student bloggers are back this week! Our mission: creating awesome recipes for the On-the-Go Student!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Joining us this week: Bec from Daisy and the Fox, Nicole from PicNic, Shelley from Bacon Egg Cheese(cake), and Uru from Go Bake Yourself! (Zainab from Blahnik Baker is off doing crazy epic grad student things this week, but we’ve included her interview anyway.) Don’t forget to check out these lovely ladies’ blogs. (Want to learn more about these fabulous bloggers? Read Week 1′s interview here!)

But first, we asked our super multi-talented bloggers a few fun questions about how they deal with full-time school AND blogging! Here’s what they said:


Week 2 Interview Round-up

1. Describe your grad/undergrad student blogger life in three words:

Ala: You’re kidding…right?

Bec: Busy, fun, inspired

Nicole: Crazy, Chaotic, Fulfilling

Shelley: Procrastinating, fun, UGHHH

Uru: Party. Study. Sleepless.

Zainab: Need. More. Hours.

2. Tell us a fun, unique fact that not many people may know about you!

Ala: I just ran my first half-marathon at Disneyland at the end of last month in 2 hours and 9 minutes! I quite literally ate dessert every day (including a buttload of ice cream) in lieu of “training”: I would run about once every other week and did 13.1 miles cold turkey each time. Dumb luck, but I guess it worked!

Bec: I am completely and totally smitten for kittens dogs! The moment I see one on the street I literally pounce and smother them in sweet nothings and pats. I have a pinterest animal bored, and it is 100% bombarded with dog pictures, cause ya know… damn they’re so cute.

Nicole: People tell me that I should enter a cooking competition on TV – like MasterChef, but I am TERRIFED of ever being on TV for even 30 seconds!

Shelley: I’m super obsessed with Apartment Therapy, and it’s kinda unhealthy/weird because I a) cannot afford the nice stuff because I’m a broke grad student and b) I’m way too lazy for cool DIY projects, which pretty much make up like half of their content…

Uru: Aaah, I always feel affronted by this question, it catches me off guard! But ok, if I had to say I have a ‘secret’-ish talent, it would be that I actually have an awesome voice! I just never sing because I am super shy but I am a graded singer and in the shower, I feel a bit like Beyonce ;)

Zainab: Hmmm, I don’t really like sweets. I love baking- the process, taking pictures and sharing recipes with my family but most times I don’t eat what I make beyond the taste bite. I’m a savory girl.


There is something undeniably primal, rough, and RAW about grad student life…I bet you can see where this is headed, eh? #punderful!

 

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 2--090314

Last time for the #gradstudentbloggers series, I shared one of my very favorite raw recipes–and now I’m back to haunt y’all with a second round of it! Thankfully, raw desserts and snacks are pretty much my raison d’etre, which is just a sophistimacated grad student way of saying they are freakingamaziballsdelish.

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Going no-bake is also the best way to save time when it comes to making addicting, time-and-time-again snacks for this crazy lifestyle we call Grad Student Blogger Insanity.

Also, the option of going utensil-free and getting my hands right there in the pan is appealing. Probably because I can’t afford real utensils anymore.

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I love the ease and flexibility with which this recipe comes together, because you can use pretty much anything sitting in your impoverished student pantry to make these bars.

Can’t afford almond butter? Not a problem: go for peanut butter. Want to buy your applesauce in bulk at Costco so you can eat these for a month straight? Go for it, you earned it.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the star ingredients I used:Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 15--090314

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These are so quick to whip together and easy to snatch up as a post-workout/pre-hell snack, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate being an on-the-go grad student. They taste like tiny morsels of apple pie rolled into one delicious, slightly gooey snack. If you’re looking for a great time-saving vegan/raw/GF recipe, look no further!

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Note: As I’m typing this post, I’m sitting in the Dr. Seuss special collections/archives reading the original handwritten memo by Dr. Seuss himself for his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. I almost got up and did a Seussian jig when I realized I was in the presence of his handwriting. Also, he signs his name in blue crayon. Just saying.

HOW AWESOME IS MY JOB.

Ala

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars (Raw, Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly)

If you love coconut and the taste of the tropics with a healthy twist, you're going to love the fresh flavors in this no-bake bar! Absolutely guilt-free with a smattering of dates, coconut, and applesauce. Great for on-the-go!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, pitted (any variety--I used Deglet Noir)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or use melted coconut oil to keep it vegan)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x5-inch baking pan with foil and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend dates until they begin to form a pasta, scraping down sides as necessary. Add coconut milk, applesauce, nuts, peanut butter and yogurt (or coconut oil) and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Add oats and shredded coconut, and pulse processor 4-5 times, so that oats become incorporated into the mixture. Add more oats as needed if your mixture is still too wet.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before cutting into bars and enjoying! These will be fairly sticky/crumbly, so they are best served in small pieces.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/12/healthy-tropical-bars/

 Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Blackberry Slice via PicNic

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars via Daisy and the Fox

Lemon Bars via Go Bake Yourself

Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, Vegan) via Wallflour Girl

Omelette Sandwich via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at wallflourgirl@gmail.com to sign up! 

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series, Snacks

Pumpkin Pie Layer Cheesecake Bars for #SundaySupper

There’s something I’m determined to have before autumn hits this city a la Godzilla…

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A WHOLE WEEK OF UNINTERRUPTED SUMMER.

Of course, posting my first pumpkin recipe of the year implies, by tacit contract, that I acknowledge the arrival of fall. Don’t be deceived. It is not fall until I say it is….or until I stop eating double-scoop chocolate-dipped waffle cones of cookie dough / caramel swirl ice cream by the pound from Disneyland.

So basically, summer here will last ferrreverrrr.

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Since we aren’t visited by that weird quarterly occurrence some regions of the world know as “seasons,” there’s really not much to say for autumn, except that it’s kind of cute how some people actually consult a calendar before deciding what kind of “seasonal” treats to make.

Again, not in my vocab.

Around here, the running desserts philosophy is: if it rocks, make it. And then devour it. Lather, rinse, REPEAT to vaguely revolting extremes.

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So even though I’m technically celebrating squash/autumn season with the fantastic #SundaySupper crew today, the Gods of the Paradoxical Realm I occupy have reassured me that it’s still summer, somehow, somewhere. So lucky me, and now lucky you–we can have our squash, and eat it too!

No matter what bizarre climate zone you inhabit, these aseasonal pumpkin pie layer cheesecake bars will be a total hit. I brought them to a friend’s place during our trashy Bachelor in Paradise viewing party (um, but let’s not talk about that) and they got gobbled up, right next to some delicious Rocky Road Brownies that I’m going to be sharing with y’all next week.

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The breakdown, as the pictorial walkthrough demonstrates, is dangerous and fantastically delicious. The vegan shortbread crust is my absolute favorite crunchy shortbread recipe to date, and without any butter, it manages to top all. Of course, the real topping–a healthier applesauce cinnamon streusel–is the bomb.

These double fillings: wow. Just, wow. I wanted the classic pumpkin pie flavor to shine but have been on a cheesecake kick lately, so I threw together the best of both worlds and am giving you an awesome deal my Asian side can’t resist–two-for-one! Creamy, subtly tangy pumpkin cheesecake topped with a kick-arse pumpkin pie filling. What’s not to love?Pumpkin Pie Layer Cheesecake Bars 15--090514

So whether you’re still receiving 14 ridiculous hours of unadulterated sunshine a day in your neck of the woods, or are feeling the creeping impending shadows of autumn lurking in every bare tree branch: make yourself a panful of these, slice up a bar, and kick back with a nice glass of milk. Trust me on this one.

You’re welcome.

Ala

Pumpkin Pie Layer Cheesecake Bars

Creamy layers of healthy pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin cheesecake, stacked on top of a delicious vegan shortbread crust and topped with a healthified butter-free cinnamon streusel. This is a fall treat that can't be beat!

Ingredients

    For the vegan shortbread:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • For the pumpkin cheesecake layer:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk or dairy-free milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • For the pumpkin pie filling:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • For the healthy cinnamon streusel:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts, your choice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup applesauce (can sub up to 1/2 cup with melted butter)

Instructions

    For the vegan shortbread:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until it forms the texture of wet sand. Press evenly into the bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set on stovetop while you prepare the fillings.
  4. For the pumpkin cheesecake layer:
  5. Using the same bowl (no need to wash it!), cream together cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth and fluffy. Beat in milk.
  6. Add egg and mix in until just combined. Mix in yogurt, vanilla, and pumpkin. Stir in flour.
  7. Pour cheesecake filling over shortbread crust. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes, until the edges have just begun to set. Remove from oven and set on stovetop while preparing pumpkin pie filling.
  8. For the pumpkin pie filling:
  9. Using the same bowl (no need to wash it!), combine all filling ingredients. Spoon over the prebaked cheesecake layer.
  10. For the healthy cinnamon streusel:
  11. Combine flour, oats, nuts, sugar, and cinnamon in the same large mixing bowl (fun, right?). Add applesauce or melted butter, and stir until a mushy clump starts to form. Break up clumps and sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin pie layer.
  12. Bake everything for an additional 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in a spot without streusel comes out fairly clean, and the bars jiggle only slightly when you shake the pan. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating for an additional 5-7 hours. Cut into bars and store leftovers in fridge.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/06/pumpkin-pie-layer-cheesecake-bars/

Starters – Appetizers & Cocktails:

Pickles & Relish:

Soups and Salads:

Main Dishes

Side Dishes:

Sweets to Start or End the Day:

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Filed under Bars, Cheesecakes

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Boy, do I have a fun blogger series for you all today: it’s the #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers round-up!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Recently I teamed up with a fabulous, wacky, idiosyncratic (in a good way) group of university-level bloggers who wanted to showcase their student-blogging lives. As a grad student myself, I love meeting other grad student bloggers who can totally empathize with what I’m going through: juggling meetings, going to class, prepping syllabi, writing research papers, and all that other crazy hodge-podge you graduated folks have since left behind! I soon discovered just how difficult it is to find other university food bloggers out there, but with a little bit of poking and snooping, I scrounged up the wonderful, talented group of student bloggers here with us today and asked them all some fun questions. Read on for the interview, and don’t forget to check out all their awesome recipes at the bottom of this post!

Know someone who would like to join our group? If you know other university student food bloggers who might be interested, please email me at wallflourgirl@gmail.com.

This week’s recipe roundup theme: THE STARVING STUDENT. When you’re waist-deep in debt and every cheap meal comes from a dehydrated packet, it’s nice to know that you can whip up a wholesome meal or snack without hurting your wallet. Find all the recipes at the bottom of this post!


But first, let’s start with our blogger interviews…

QUESTION 1: Introduce yourself!

Ala: Hi folks! I’m Ala here at Wallflour Girl, and I’m a fourth-year English PhD student who loves children’s literature. When I’m not working on fun research such as Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland, I write and develop recipes for my baking blog. I also love books, swimming/running/biking, and all things digital media.

Bec: Hellllo! My name is Bec, and I am the writer of the blog Daisy and the Fox!

Choc Chip Uru: Hello! I’m a food obsessed teenager from down under, sunny Sydney and in the blogosphere, I go by Choc Chip Uru! I am more than in love with baking, be it brownies or croissants, just hand me a whisk already! More than eating it myself (I know, weird right?!) I love sharing my treats with my mates and family! Besides baking, I am also a restaurant reviewer and love to talk about the newest products hitting the shelves for everyone to enjoy! Mix in a few uni-life anecdotes and you have a crazy write up every time J

Nicole: I’m Nicole from PicNic, a New Zealand based food blog creating family-friendly recipes for main meals, desserts, and baking.

Shelley: Hi! I’m Shelley, a first year PhD student in political science. I’ve been described as both ditzy and incredibly serious on several different occasions, so I guess I’m a bit all over the place! I love coffee, heaps of junk food, and wasting lots of time.

Zainab: Hello! My name is Zainab and I’m a 6th year neuroscience PhD student who needed a break in the evenings from all the failed experiments of the day, so I took to baking. Only problem was I didn’t know how to bake ANYTHING but with the help of Pinterest, food blogs and Wilton courses, I taught myself how to bake and discovered how much I loved it. It is now my favorite way to destress after a long day in the lab.  I started my blog to document my baking adventures and it has been the best adventure in itself. I’ve met so many great people and so amazed by the wonderful food blogging community.


QUESTION 2: When people in your department find out you’re a blogger, they…

Ala: Fall into three camps. Camp A is delighted and wholeheartedly supports my efforts as a busy, burgeoning grad student blogger. Camp B is a tad patronizing and comes for the food (though who can blame them? We’re all starving here). Camp C doesn’t know I blog. Camp C is also comprised primarily of my advisors and people who operate on a need-to-know, research-heavy basis.

Bec: Think it’s pretty cool! (mostly due to the fact that food is involved :P )

Choc Chip Uru: Think it is really cool! Despite it becoming a more and more mainstream hobby, a lot of people still think being a consistent blogger is fantastic. Since my blog involves food, it also gives them an excuse to say ‘for research and writing purposes’ I should bake for them :P

Nicole: Ask how on earth I have time to create all my recipes and look at me like I’m a crazy person!

Shelley: Oh they don’t know, and I’m going to try my best to make sure they never find out…

Zainab: Ahem…only my labmates know and I am going to keep it that way! I need those recommendations this year for that post-doc!


QUESTION 3: School + blogging = high-stress lifestyle. The saying goes: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” You say: “Keep Calm and _________.”

Ala: Immediately proceed to have a minor meltdown. But only a really minor one, because you still need to stay sane enough to finish that research proposal your advisor wanted by noon tomorrow. Or eat ice cream straight from the tub.

Bec: Keep calm and smash your face into a cake.

Choc Chip Uru: Nap. Keep Calm and Nap. Nothing will ever be stressful again, I assure you.

Nicole: Bake something!

Shelley: Knead some dough? power through? increase caffeine dose?


This week’s recipe: Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw…and Budget-Friendly!)

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 5--090114

In the spirit of this week’s fun-tastic theme, The Starving Student, I decided to feature a recipe I actually make all the time for myself as a snack. With an excellent salted caramel taste and none of the expensive ingredients, this no-bake healthy recipe definitely fits the grad student bill!

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This recipe features my Peanut Butter Larabar recipe: a raw vegan crust with a nut of your choice, nut butter of your choice, and dates–you guessed it–of your choice! The idea is that you can use up anything you happen to have sitting in your pantry, without worrying about buying new expensive ingredients you’ll probably never touch again.

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I love the salted caramel filling because a) it’s good for you, and b) it’s cheap/easy, with all the caramel taste! This layer showcases blended dates, milk of your choice, and some coarse sea salt, which I get from the dollar store (my BFFL and saving grace for the past seven years).

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars gif 2

Finally, you get a nice whopping layer of chocolate kick–melt up some chocolate chips and you’re in business! No fuss, no pain, and certainly enough penny-pinching that you can feel less guilty next time you decide to eat at a restaurant with your friends like the normal human being that you aren’t are.

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Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out my awesome fellow student bloggers below!

Ala

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Ingredients

    For the nut base:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 1 cup almonds or nut of your choice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • For the salted date caramel filling:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used coconut), as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • For the chocolate topping:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    For the nut base:
  1. In a food processor, grind all ingredients until the dates break down into a paste and everything forms a cohesive ball of dough, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides in between as necessary and press evenly into the bottom of a 9x5-inch pan.
  2. For the caramel filling:
  3. In the same food processor (no need to clean), blend the dates until they form a thick paste. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, as needed, blending in between, until the mixture reaches a thick caramel consistency. Add sea salt and blend in for another 10 seconds.
  4. Pour caramel over the nut base.
  5. For the chocolate topping:
  6. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Pour over caramel.
  7. Refrigerate bars for at least 4-6 hours before cutting into squares. Keep refrigerated.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/01/chocolate-sea-salt-date-caramel-bars-gf-vegan-raw-gradstudentbloggers-undergradstudentbloggers/

 Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Brussel Sprouts and Sausage Pizza via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Chicken and Jalapeno Quesadillas via PicNic

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, V, Raw) via Wallflour Girl

Homemade Spaghetti with Garlic, Chili, and Herbs via Daisy and the Fox

Orange Zucchini Bread via Blahnik Baker

Strawberry Greens Salad via Go Bake Yourself

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at wallflourgirl@gmail.com to sign up! 

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

 

 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series

Salty Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Bars–and On Being A Wallflower/flour

“Because you saw me when I was invisible.”

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I was thinking about this post last week and Googled that quote, expecting to be smothered by a deluge of cliche love saying sites and poems written by angsty teens with next-to-nil metrical know-how. Instead, I was thrown into a Flashback Friday moment when images like this and this popped up one after another, reminding me of why I liked The Princess Diaries so much in the first place: because who doesn’t feel like they’re an invisible little nobody some days?

I know some people who thrive on being invisible. They would Avada Kedavra the holy hippogriffs out of somebody to own an Invisibility Cloak. (Excuse me, I have Harry Potter on the mind lately–clearly.)

Then there’s me–I need attention and notice like Robin needs Batman, a.k.a. a lot. It would not be inaccurate to say that I am a human dog except much less adorable. (Debatable: I know.)

Salted Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Bars 5--071614

 

I’m not talking about wanting negative attention or experiencing desperate withdrawals in my room’s darkest corner, but there’s no doubt that my parents raised a bouncing baby extrovert. I’m the only one in my family who feeds off human energy the way the monsters in Sailor Moon do: fervidly and unceasingly (seriously, do they never give up?).

What even my closest friends may not know is that I can also be super self-conscious about my hyper-enthusiasm. I’ll laugh if you tell me with a straight face that I am way too excited (because yeah, I am), but if you tell me that in an aw-look-how-cute-it-is-that-she’s-excited or deadpan way chances are I’d like nothing better than to punch you in the face.

Just kidding–I don’t like to get my knuckles dirty. But you’d probably see me skulking around a dark alleyway later that night, all brooding and Edward Cullen-like.

Okay, I wouldn’t. But you get the point.

Ala = super self-conscious ball of physics-defying energy who likes attention.

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Do any of you out there feel the same way? I’ve always just assumed that the road to food bloggerdom is paved with extroverts, because who else would spend half their waking hours publicly documenting the other half of their life, but that’s probably not true. Even as an extrovert, I loved writing because it didn’t require me to be “on” all the time or think of unparalleled witticisms on the spot (by the way, I suck at instant witticisms so if we ever meet in person, you’ll probably want to start the conversation on a particularly slooooow note). I don’t think I’m an awe-inspiring writer or anything, but I most certainly wouldn’t consider myself a natural A-game talker, either.

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I am dreadful at mingling at parties or among large confident groups of people–hence the “wallflower girl” nomenclature–and even when it seems like I am totally in my element, I am probably gauging every facial tick and restless eye twitch for disinterest from my listener. I actually do think of my interactions in terms of the Relationship Meter from the Sims game, which may not be an accurate representation of how relationships work in real life.

And when I’m the only one who’s not holding a drink or laughing along like hurr-hurr-hurr at some dumb humor joke that everyone has managed to find funny, I’d like nothing better than to melt into the wallpaper behind me like that creepy Clay Aiken creature who invisibly watches you in your room and serenades you with the suggestion that he could be your perfect man.

Yeah, I never understood that song either.

Whenever I start to feel particularly Clay Aiken-y, though, I have to remind myself that the total number of people in the room who probably notice my awkwardness is one: me.

Judgy folks will still judge, but being awkward is sort of like being a fart–yes, people notice, but most of the time nobody will say anything and everybody will forget about it, unless you’re a particularly big silent smelly fart, in which case people won’t forget but then again you should’ve known better than to go back for seconds on the refried beans anyway.

If we ever meet in person, these are the types of terrible, not particularly reassuring metaphors toward which you can look forward. Enjoy.

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But let’s go back to where I started when I first wrote this rambling post: invisibility. As far as I know (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), there are two types of social invisibles in this world: those who like being invisible, and those who think they are invisible.

One of the reasons I took up baking in the first place was because I wanted the friends and acquaintances in my life to feel noticed. Trust me: it can be difficult, creepy, not to mention imposing to walk up to a lonely wallflower and tell them that they aren’t as invisible as they may think. Do I walk up to the person who just farted and start small talk while pretending to ignore the doomsday fumes enveloping their three-foot bubble?

That’s probably the last thing a farter needs at that mortifyingly awkward moment: company. But if you plop a little bag of home-baked cookie bars with a nice note on their desk for them to find the next day,  it’s a gesture that they’d probably appreciate. That bag of bars says, Hey so this has nothing to do with you farting at the party last night not that I noticed or anything but I just wanted to say that we should be friends, so yay, let’s be friends through cookies.

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A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Facebook and found some posts by a good friend whom I haven’t seen in a long time but who is also one of the kindest, most genuine people I know. From what I read, it sounded like she was having a tough time at her new job–it was one of those nonchalant-but-really-not-nonchalant status updates that wants to be noticed, but is afraid to ask.

“We accept the love we think we deserve,” that wonderful novel-turned-film The Perks of Being a Wallflower reminds us. Apart from my family (and even then, sometimes), I am terrible at accepting love, but I do believe that everyone deserves it, especially when we think that nobody notices how badly we need it. Some people like being invisible, but nobody likes feeling invisible. That night after we chatted, I made these wonderful salted oatmeal cookie bars, packed them up, and shipped them up north the next day.

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Then of course I forgot all about them, until I opened up my Facebook a few days later and found this awesome, surprising message:

What a super surprise! Thank you!!! You, you, you Big Sweetie!”

And then this Facebook status she posted:

“Wow! I came home yesterday, tired and low, when I discovered a package of salty chocolate granola bars made by the amazing Ala, child lit scholar/master chef!! What a wonderful surprise! (You can check out her web page at wallflourgirl.com)

If awkwardness is like farting, then giving is like giving your kid a five-dollar bill at the carnival prize booth–they run off with a greenback and come back with their arms so laden with STUFF (they still give out those giant inflatable hammer toys?!) that you can hardly believe all that came out of a measly slip of paper currency. I read my friend’s message with a huge grin and danced around the room for a few minutes, because giving rocks. And the funny thing about giving to others is that you’re not just letting them know you notice them: chances are, they’ll notice you a little bit more in return, too.

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So that’s the story behind these salty oat bars, which were my first experiment with using coarse sea salt (by the way, I am a total convert now–it’s so cheap! Bought a huge box at the dollar store). My friend loves chocolate so I threw in a few handfuls for good measure, then whipped up a batch of good ol’ chewy chunky oat bars and sprinkled it with a liberal dose of sea salt for good measure.

These bars are the perfect way to show a friend that he or she’s not invisible! They’re a wonderful, addicting mix of salty and slightly sweet, with a perfect balance of chocolate heartiness for care packages. What do you think–is there anyone you can think of who needs a little noticing today?

Ala

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Hot Fudge Chocolate Brownie with a Killer Choco Frosting (V, GF, Raw, No Added Sugar)–And the Importance of Meeting Strangers

My earliest memory of talking to a stranger goes back to Ala at age 6, standing in a ballet class, chatting happily and obliviously in her pink tutu to one of the nice ladies sitting near the side of the room.

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“My mom told me not to talk to strangers,” I confidentially informed the lady, whom I remember now as friendly-faced and quite tall. “I’m Ala,” I continued, holding out my hand and solemnly shaking her, which was proffered with a smile. Then I added, just in case she didn’t understand, “Now we aren’t strangers anymore.”

And then I went right on chatting.

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My mom still laughs about this incident now, but in many ways it foreshadowed my later affinity for striking up random conversations  in the most unexpected places. Some of my closest friends or most interesting memories today have emerged from chance encounters of the Love Actually sort: getting a ride with another grad student to a surprise banquet, sitting down at a conference table with a Disney Imagineer, chatting with the night shuttle officer on my way back from school, catching public transportation and whiling away the time with surprisingly fun conversation.

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Though I don’t consider myself particularly confident (blog name, anyone?), I still love love love to meet random people. One of my best grad school friends is a bright, energetic gal I met in a Zumba class my first year: we spent the entire quarter beaming at each other in the mirror as we grooved and moved and body rolled with as much grace as flopping fish–and when we both arrived on the “last day of class” only to realize that the last day had been last week, we ended up jamming to our own tunes by setting up an improv class with her friends. Anytime anyone asks us how we met, we turn and positively grin at each other before launching into one of our favorite stories.

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Meeting strangers isn’t only an exciting way to make new friends–it’s good for you, too. Friends frequently ask me how I manage to stay so friendly and open to meeting new folks all. The. Time.  Well, a) I am not friendly and positive and open all the time. Just this week I had a total meltdown at 1 AM and practically shook my parents with my not-too-generous hysteria over the phone for 90 minutes. (Thank you, Mom!) b) When I am friendly, though, and that’s most of the time–it pays off. And it’s addicting. This month alone, I’ve met three people while standing in lines for things and actually managed to stay in touch with them. And most of the time, if they’re willing to engage in a random conversation with you, chances are that they’re lots of fun to be around, too.

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Like any book-crazy kid, I distinctly remember reading this book about the Berenstain Bears and stranger danger. I’m not advocating dumb, reckless danger-seeking encounters with sketchy people–I’m talking about putting away your cell phone as you wait for the cashier to ring you up and asking them if they still have a long day ahead of them. 95% of the time that’s where the conversation ends, but trust me: for the tiny amount of effort it takes on your part, other people sure notice it a lot.

Recently, a friend asked me where I get my endless stream of conversation starters from. How do I keep a conversation going organically? My answer was first, nervousness–I’m really not a “casual silence” kind of person, so if I sense the end of a conversation coming up, chances are I’ll already be thinking ahead to the next tangentially related thread. Second: questions. I once attended a keynote about the art of communication, and the speaker made a point that has resonated with me ever since. Do you ever notice how nervous we get when we get up to speak in public, but how comfortable we are listening?

Well, the same goes with conversations. If you’re nervous, ask a question and make the other person do the talking. They’ll feel like you’re genuinely interested in their lives (and hopefully, you are), and you’ll feel much more at ease for having got the ball rolling. You may brush off your hands and congratulate yourself on a job well-done now!

Hot Fudge Larabar with Killer Choco Frosting 14--062914 It takes some time to adjust, but as I’ve grown more comfortable reaching out to more and more strangers, I’ve found myself encountering an incredible new circle of acquaintances and–I’m proud to say–even friends. For 30 minutes every morning this month, I chatted with a bus driver named David, who turned out to be one of the most intelligent, gracious, and knowledgable people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Forget my preconceptions about what bus drivers do–this man, who has an oldest daughter my age–even gave me some of the best advice for dealing with rambunctious neighbors that I have ever received. He transferred bus lines recently, but it’s still amazing to think that our paths still have every chance of crossing again in the future, and in the most unexpected circumstances.

More recently, I got to know a guy on the airport shuttle and we got dinner while talking about our PhD programs, vegetarianism, and cooking. I befriended so many children’s literature conference folks that I probably wouldn’t have met had I mummed up and kept to myself during the breakfast lines. I met another vegan friend while waiting to get airbrush tattoos drawn at a festival. I met yet another acquaintance while lining up for cake at an event.

And yes, I’ve kept in touch with all these people that I have met in the past 30 days: people who may end up flitting in and out of my life eventually, but are for the present moment at least such important, fun players in my daily excitement. You never know if the next person you meet may be your future employer, a great friend, a romantic interest, or just a plain pleasant person to chat with.

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While I’ve singing all these preachy praises about de-dangering strangers, however, you’ve probably been wondering about these brownies–these wonderful, gorgeous, delectable little bites (or huge hunks) of raw brownie. Many folks I know think that “raw,” “vegan,” and “gluten-free” are crazy fad words accompanied by terrible food. If you haven’t met raw bars like these before though (and I’m betting you haven’t, though you may have seen similar versions like my recipes for this and this)–keep an open mind and try them out. They’re sweet but only naturally so–they satisfy all those processed-sugar cravings you’ve been getting and trying to deny–and they’re actually insanely delicious. They taste more like chocolatey larabars than brownies, but the raw chocolate frosting sends these bars over the top.

In short, these are probably the best strangers you’ll ever meet in the food spectrum. Make them! And don’t forget–every person (and recipe) you pass could be the next connection you’ve been waiting to meet!

Ala

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This week, I challenge you to put aside your phone, book, distractions, whatever–and to meet one stranger. Try striking up conversation in the supermarket or ask them a question about the book they’re reading, and then report back here. What was your experience like? Was it a positive, negative, or neutral one? How did you feel afterwards?

Hot Fudge Chocolate Brownie (V, GF, Raw, No Added Sugar)

The perfect chocolate fix without any of the guilt--a refined sugar-free, no-bake, 3-minute recipe that my friends have been requesting left and right. Perfect for the vegans, chocolate-lovers, or general human beings in your left!

Ingredients

    Raw Brownie Recipe:
  • 35 pitted dates, any variety (I used pitted deglet noor dates)
  • 1 1/4 cup almonds (or your preferred nut)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Chocolate Frosting Recipe
  • 15 dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Instructions

    For the Brownies:
  1. Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together.
  2. Pour dough into aluminum foil, smushing dough until it forms a rectangle about 2/3-inch thick. Pour or spread chocolate frosting (recipe below) evenly on top. Chill in fridge until ready to cut into bars.
  3. For the Frosting.
  4. Blend dates in food processor until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and cocoa powder; continue blending until completely smooth, to a thick liquid state. Pour evenly over brownies.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/07/02/hot-fudge-chocolate-brownie-v-gf-raw-added-sugar/

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Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars (Raw, Vegan, GF)

I’ve finally given in and gone to the dark side: Follow me on Instagram. I hear the dark side has some bomb PB&J bars… Life is full of hypotheticals:

My best friend may be the child of alien dodos.

Neil Patrick Harris may be secretly, madly in love with me.

And I may or may not be obsessed with peanut butter & jelly.

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As you can probably tell by the ridiculous amount of food porn in this post, that last hypothetical is so totally up for debate.

I mean, just look at that peanut butter pouring down and through that lusciously gooey raw square like so much suntan lotion slathered all over Chris Evans‘s gorgeous body. Who’d want that?

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Not me. No siree. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Uncategorized

The Best Date You Will Ever Have: Peanut Butter Larabars

Let’s talk dates for a moment here.

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First thing first: dates. Yes, I’m talking about the edible kind–although the strange, single-as-a-one-digit-number part of me is convinced that dating would be a lot more interesting if my dates really were edible. As in, “Have you met my date, Mister Hot Chocolate? Word on the street is that he can get pretty steamy.

Chances are, you have stumbled across copycat larabar recipes before now. I’m not introducing you to them because they’re new. I’m introducing you to them because they are awesomeand if you are like Me One Month Ago–sitting on your butt ogling at these larabar pictures but also totally doubting the sanity of my taste buds, because how in holy heck could anything with three ingredients actually taste awesomethis is why I’m introducing you to them. Because if you are reading this post and not making these bars pronto, you need to be converted. NOW.

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It’s a running joke among all my friends that I am the most horrendous baker/blogger in existence–75 chocolate chip cookies later, and I’ve eaten what: one cookie? Half of one cookie? Who does that? In my field (that’s English grad school, for those of you who are new to WG) and in my defense, you don’t get by without self-discipline. And I am pretty much a discipline Beast when I want to be, so unless I am on a total emotional spree that afternoon, whatever comes out of my kitchen usually escapes unscathed. (Note: This does not account for the generous portions of batter, ‘crumbs,’ or last-spoonfuls-of-nut-butter-in-a-jar that fill my tummy during each baking session. This is why I totally prefer to bake alone: I’ll pass on the spoon-licking judgment!) Continue reading

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Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

How do I know these one-bowl, hassle-free chocolate chip oat bars are idiot-proof? Please refer to the visual aid below…

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I made them. Me. In my current mental and emotional state of nervous wretchedness. And I’ve even started referring to myself in the plural first-person. And writing in fragments. Like Yoda, I is. But I still managed to make these without starting a local apocalypse. So. That’s how I know.

Some days I almost wish that was a joke.

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On the morning I baked these, I was not looking forward to baking. I had been in my brand spankin’ new apartment for exactly 2 weeks, gone through about 5 months’ worth of groceries and pantry items in that time to ‘fuel’ my studying brain, and had a mock exam for these coming up in 5 days. You could hardly find a less happy camper if you walked barefoot clear across the Alps in the middle of January looking for one. And the very last thing I wanted to do five days before my mock was trip into the precarious kitchen to bake instead of read about Romantic Irony, and to fuel my tummy pooch wayyy more than my noggin. And then the photographs. And then the editing. And then the inevitable snacking. Ugh. 

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But I had to make something as a thank-you for some friends who had helped me with moving, and so when I fumbled my way across Tieghan’s post from Half-Baked Harvest advertising that these bars were delicious AND idiot-proof (her phrase! Isn’t it such a hook?), I could almost hear the despair melting away like so many sunbathing snowmen.

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And I have wonderful news: these bars are really, truly, honest-to-madness idiot-proof. They’re perfectly chewy, crumbly, oaty, chocolatey, cinnamony–and did I mention healthy?–all at the same time. Oil only, folks–no butter here! Did I mention that my friends could not stop eating them and positively raved about them after the pan had been licked crumb-clean? And all at no additional cost to my sanity. I love it.

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Compared to making traditional bar cookies, these take zero thought and significantly less active time to throw together. Glutens? Don’t mind them. Overbaking? Not a chance. Even the dishes are easier to do after whipping a batch up, since the thick oat-y batter barely leaves a smidge on your mixing bowl! (And thankfully for me, this also meant I didn’t ‘have to’ lick the bowl afterwards, which saved me from another drastic snacking spree.) Yep, these were bars to feel good about when I had very else little about which I could feel good.

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The good news is that today is the fifth day since I made these bars–and I can satisfactorily report that I took my first mock exam this afternoon! It was an extraordinarily nerve-wracking experience, but after we finished, it felt surprisingly reassuring to know I survived it…and with affirmation from someone who was not the second voice in my head, too. If you’ve ever read or listened to The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch says that the lead-up to his qualifying exam was the second-most stressful period in his life. The first was leukemia. I can’t corroborate that last statement, thankfully, but I sure as heck cannot wait for this exam to be (hopefully successfully) done next month. 

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In the meantime, I’m going to make me some more of these bars. And hopefully offer some better proof that I’m not a complete idiot–yet…

Ala

Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

(Slightly adapted from Half-Baked Harvest)
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups oats, old-fashioned or quick-cooking (I used the latter and they worked fine)
  • 2 cups flour (the original calls for 1 cup APF and 1 cup wheat flour; I used 2 cups APF)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canola oil OR coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, throw in ALL ingredients except the chocolate chips. Seriously. Just do it and mix away until a dough pulls together.
  3. Mix in your chocolate chips. Sha-bam! Done.
  4. Shove it all in your prepared pan. Like, evenly and stuff. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top if you feel like it, because you’re a grown-up and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise unless you’re not one, in which case pretend you are one while you’re making these. You can wear shocking red high-heels in the kitchen to facilitate this process.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until bars are lightly golden on top and they seem just slightly doughy–then pull them out and let them cool on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Cut these crumbly, chewy babies into squares, or just attack them with your fork. I did.
  7. Leave Ala a comment below to let her know that she doesn’t sound completely idiotic (yet). :) Enjoy!

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Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Will Cook For Smiles

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Cookies

Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookies and Oreo Butter: An Online Bake Sale for the Philippines

How does one not lose all control when digging a fork into this warm, melting gooey Oreo lovers’ mess?
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Oh, that’s right. One doesn’t. If you couldn’t tell by the gif.
But before I get started on these outrageous Oreo cookies ‘n cream brookies (yes, that’s a brownie + cookie smashed into one sugar-coma-inducing concoction), I want to tell you about a really important event, and the story behind why I decided to tackle these in the first place.
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As anyone who even remotely follows world news knows, a terrible storm hit the Philippines a few weeks ago. While the story has sadly faded off the radar of our fast-paced, sensation-seeking U.S. media, the relief and rebuilding efforts–as is true with any disaster, big or small–are still happening around the clock, around the world, to help the affected people and areas. I have spent ample time researching and making my own donations to the Philippines Red Cross (which, by the way, I definitely recommend if you’re considering making donations but worry about where your donations actually go–they’re one of the established agencies that you can count on to get your money to the relief spots), but wasn’t sure what I could do beyond that to spread the word. Then, by some unlooked-for chance, I stumbled across Tina’s blog, and get this: she is hosting an online bake sale to raise funds to support the relief effort! Very important? YES. I almost never do plugs for other blogs, but please consider learning more about how you can help through a small gesture that will go a long way, no matter what source you choose (as long as it’s a reliable one).
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How it works: 1. Tina is accepting ‘virtual baked good donations’ until FRIDAY, 11/22/13. All you have to do is fill out a pledge form and send her a photo of the goods you will be ‘selling’ for donations.
2. Starting on MONDAY, 11/25/13, bidders can view all of the goods-for-sale at Tina’s site. Bids start at $20. The highest bidder at the end of the day ‘wins’ the baked goods he/she bid on and will donate that money directly to Sagip Kapamilya, a relief foundation for the Philippines.
3. The baker will ship the goods directly to the bid winner. That’s it. Simple, and good.
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(Sorry, this up-close shot of gooey melting fudge and gooey cookies is necessary.)

If it’s within your resources to do so, please consider bidding! Again, this is a really worthwhile cause that I love because it emphasizes what we have: an amazingly strong community of bakers and readers who champion all sorts of causes, not just ones that deal with food. In case you’re curious about my particular entry, I’ve decided to go all out by theming my package with one of my all-time favorites: the Oreo cookie. Below is the description I included for my package:

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Oreos are the yin-and-yang of the cookie world: A creamy filling sandwiched between two decadent chocolate cookies. Like Oreos, life is a mix of yin and yang…and when it hits, it can hit us hard. Fortunately, now’s your chance to do some good while getting outrageous Oreo good out of it. Your Outrageous Oreo package contains a variation on my most popular brookie recipe: a fudge-packed chocolatey brownie layer topped with a gorgeous cookies ‘n cream chocolate chip blondie and whole Oreos jammed into the gooey center. You’ll also want to prepare to sink your teeth into two GIANT Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. And if you aren’t Oreo’d out by the time you reach it, a jar of homemade Oreo white chocolate peanut butter spread will be sure to tempt your spoon (and your willpower) for as long as it lasts. The perfect package for any Oreo lover. So what do you say: Are you out, or Oreo in?
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I know this isn’t “my” bake sale…but thank you, thank you, thank you!

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But before I wrap things up here, I seriously want to give you an idea of how awesome this explosion of outrageous Oreo baked goods really is. I kid you not: one entire 15.3 oz. package of Oreo cookies went into the making of this package. So whoever gets this is advised not to look at the nutrition label on a package of Oreos for the next month or so. Holy mackerel, that’s a lot of Oreos!

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The Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookie: Maybe you’ve heard of a brookie before. For those of you who haven’t, it’s made of crack a cookie layer smooshed on top of (or under) a brownie layer. Sound simple? Hang on while I say ‘ha ha ha’ and dispel that funny little notion from your head. Of course, a brookie CAN be simple. But what I love about this ramped-up killer cookies ‘n cream version is that it takes the fudgiest, gooiest brownie base, crams a whole layer of WHOLE OREO COOKIES all up in the there, and then tops that off with a crazy chunky, chewy, cookie-n-creamy chocolate chip blondie bar layer.

YEAH. BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. WHAT NOW BROOKIE.

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Oreo Butter: What happens when you throw half a package of Oreos into a food processor with white chocolate and peanut butter? AWESOME. That’s what happens. A perfect way to spread the love to all your favorite things, including cookies, waffles, sandwiches, and–yes, you guessed it–even Oreos.

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip CookiesWe’ve all heard about them. You’ll just have to try them to believe it. ‘Nuff ‘stuff said.

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Don’t forget to check out the online bake sale on Monday, 11/25/13! Thank you!

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Love,

Ala

Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookies
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan; 16 large squares
For Insanely Fudgy Gooey Brownie Layer: (this recipe is my own creation but was inspired by a mix of Allrecipes, Smitten Kitchen, and Something Swanky brownie recipes–thanks!_
Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 16 whole Oreos

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together melted butter and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Gently mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Reserve whole Oreos for assembly (see instructions below)
For Cookies ‘N Cream Cookie Bars:
Slightly adapted from Picky Palate‘s wonderful recipe
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • Approximately 14 Oreos, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes of strong creaming.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in until just incorporated.
  4. Gently fold in both chocolate chips and chopped Oreos.

To Assemble Your Killer Brookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with lightly greased foil.
  2. Pour brownie batter into baking pan. Spread evenly.
  3. Top with 16 evenly-spaced whole Oreos.
  4. Drop cookie dough evenly over the layer of Oreos. Spread dough gently so that it covers the entire top of the pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 27-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and your cookie layer looks slightly crispy (it should be a golden brown color) but is not yet overbaked.
  6. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes in pan before cutting and serving.

Oreo “Butter”

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped/crushed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place Oreos in a food processor and grind them until they achieve a crumb consistency.
  2. Add peanut butter and white chocolate. Continue processing for another 5-7 minutes; the time will depend on the power of your food processor. Your Oreo spread will clump up at first, but as you continue processing it will begin to turn into a gritty paste, and then slowly turn into a much smoother, almost liquid-like spread.
  3. Store your Oreo butter in a jar at room temperature. Spread it on anything and everything (waffles, crackers, sandwiches, more cookies–the possibilities are endless)!
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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Dips/Spreads