Category Archives: Bars

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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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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Peanut Butter Lovers’/Converts’ Chocolate Oat Squares

Today, I want to introduce to you a new, critical, and really important new photoseries called:

TEN REASONS TO GET JIGGY WITH PEANUT BUTTER RIGHT NOW (MAYBE EVEN WHILE YOU READ THIS):

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We all have that friend (or two, or ten) who, for some godforsaken reason, does not like peanut butter. Hopefully, you are not that friend (and if you are, I would recommend paying close attention to Reason #9 in this photostory–ahem).  I personally LOVE PEANUT BUTTER.

If you are adverse to this creamy concoction of the nut butter gods, however, or you have that friend and want to be an exceptionally nice friend and convert them into the ways of Peanut Buttery Enlightenment, I would recommend sharing any or all of the banners I have created for this sole purpose below. Here in Peanut Butter Kingdom, we do not judge–except, of course, if you don’t like PB. Then we treat you like the lost cause you are and send straight to Peanut-less Purgatory.

SO, without FURTHER ADO:

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TEN REASONS TO GET JIGGY WITH PEANUT BUTTER RIGHT NOW (MAYBE EVEN WHILE YOU READ THIS):

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #10:  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a good palate must be in want of a Peanut Butter jar.

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At least we all know that’s what Jane Austen should have written, bless her soul.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #9: Peanut Butter serves as a great way to test–or seriously question–your friendship choices.

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How the Peanut Butter Friend Test works:

SCENARIO A: “Do you like Peanut Butter?” “Yes.” “Then I think we can be friends.” <3

SCENARIO B: Conversely, “Do you like Peanut Butter?”

“No.”

“…….I have never said this before, but I hope this means you are deathly allergic to it.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #8: When it comes to eating Peanut Butter from the jar, spoons are always optional. In case of emergencies, however, fingers will also do.

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And nobody here will judge you for it.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #7: Peanut Butter is GOOD for you. If G.O.O.D. = Goddamn Overly, Obnoxiously Delicious.

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And it contains protein. Or something like that.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #6: Peanut Butter fans are particularly good finders.

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I hope somebody out there got the A Very Potter Musical reference that just went fo shizzle up there, because I am not doing that again.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #5: Peanut Butter pairs well with basically everything.

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Apples, jelly, chocolate, bosses, emotional turmoil–existential crises…

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #4: Most of us grew up eating Peanut Butter–and even if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start.

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According to the National Peanut Board (yes, that’s a thing), the average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school. Also, the amount of peanut butter eaten in a year could wrap the earth in a ribbon of 18-ounce peanut butter jars one and one-third times.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #3: Peanut Butter has such a nutty sense of humor.

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You can go NUTS over peanut butter.

You can polish off a jar of peanut butter in a Jiffy.

You can beg me to stop making peanut butter jokes by saying, “Pretty, pretty, PB please?”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #2: “Peanut Butter” means love in every language. (It is even the official phrase for “I Love You” in one language.

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That language is Baker-ese, most commonly spoken in…well, I’ll let you guess.

~*~*~*~*~*~

And finally……..

Reason #1: Peanut Butter is what makes these chocolatey, oat-filled squares so goddamn delicious. Pardon our language. But they’re that f*-in’ good.

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And what more proof do you need than that?

Print this recipe!

Ala

What makes you go NUTS over peanut butter?

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Peanut Butter Lovers’/Converts’ Chocolate Oat Squares
Possibly the most insanely peanut butter-packed, chewy, satisfying squares I have ever invented, filled with plenty of brown sugar, peanut butter, oats, and chocolate. Perfect for an afternoon snack or a surprise dessert!
Yield: 9×13-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided in half
  • Assorted chopped candies or nuts, optional (but a great way to use up those Halloween leftovers!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and brown sugar. Add peanut butter and mix in well, until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until mixture is no longer clumpy.
  4. Add remaining dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, and salt) and stir in until just incorporated. Be sure not to overmix–overmixing will result in tough batter and bars!
  5. Gently fold half of the chocolate chips (3/4 cup) into the oats batter.
  6. Place remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval to prevent chocolate from scorching. (Note: You will want to stop microwaving at the point when your chocolate is just melted–at this point, stir it vigorously some more until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted.)
  7. Scoop half of the peanut butter oat mixture into your prepared baking pan and pat into an even layer. Pour melted chocolate over this layer, then scoop the remaining peanut butter mixture over the chocolate layer. Pat down peanut butter oats as well as you can–it’s okay if some chocolate peeks through! (It’s actually cuter this way.)
  8. Bake bars in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until bars begin to set but are still soft and slightly underbaked in appearance. Remove bars immediately from oven and allow to cool on stovetop for an addition 15-20 minutes. During this time, your bars will continue baking for a nice chewy texture, and you will continue salivating while you stick your spoon into the peanut butter jar for yet another consoling bite.
  9. After your bars have completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy the bliss!

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Best Chewy Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Chocolate Chip Blondies

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(Did you know: this is the 100th blog post to appear on Wallflourgirl–thanks to all my readers for helping make this possible!)

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With love from,

Ala

Do you have a particularly special photograph that tells a story about a person, place, or event? Please share!

(Psst! Have you seen and liked my blog’s brand new Facebook page yet? Juuust checking.)

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Have you seen my Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe? It uses a similar dough and is the perfect cookie version of this recipe.
Best Chewy Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Chocolate Chip Blondies
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 heaping cup cookie butter (What is cookie butter?)
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and cookie butter spread. Add sugar and continue creaming until light & fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon (optional), and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperature. You will want to remove them from the oven while they still look soft and slightly underbaked–place baking pan on top of oven and allow blondies to cool. They will continue baking in the pan for that great, perfect chewy factor.
 

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o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars & producti-baking

o.m.f.g.–stick around, I’ll explain. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this post OR recipe.

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We’ll get to the o.m.f.g. factor in these bars in just a second.

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For those of you who are just joining in here (welcome!) and for those of you returning folks (welcome back!), you should know that I am an avid literary gal. My appetite for books and brownies is voracious. If it ever boiled down to choosing between (Lewis) Carroll and chocolate chip cookies, we would have a dilemma on our hands, and we’re not talking the insignificant moment of panic you experienced in high school when you saw that huge zit pop up on your nose five hours before senior ball.

No, we’re talking tearing-my-heartstrings-and-running-them-through-the-paper-shredder dilemma.

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I love books.

I also love to bake and cook.

In fact, Bake + cOOK = book. True story.

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The problem is that sometimes, reading for my program (I’m a second-year grad student, en longgg route to an English Literature Ph.D) can sometimes be a drag. Trying to sludge through hundreds or even thousands of pages a week, in addition to grading Mt. Everest stacks of student papers, evokes horrors unrivaled by even the most chilling Gothic novels.

The solution is, of course, procrastibaking. It’s just what it sounds like–procrastinating through baking.

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This coming Fall quarter, I will be taking my qualifying exam to receive my Master’s and (hopefully) move onto writing a dissertation prospectus. Big, big stuff. As incentive to get me through reading lists of over 140 literary and scholarly works before November, I’ve come up with what will hopefully be an effective counter to the problem of procrastibaking.

I call it PRODUCTIBAKING.

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(On my kitchen table: Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. British Romanticism List Book #1)

So here’s the idea:

I have approximately 140 works of literature to wade through between now and November. Rather than using my baking as a way to procrastinate from working, I’m reappropriating it as an incentive for productivity.

For every book, volume of stories, or other text I finish this year for my qualifying exams, I will bake something and do a photoshoot that includes the book in some way.

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The idea behind this is threefold:

1) I’ll be more effective with my work if I operate on a reward rather than guilt-based system.

2) I’ll have you guys to keep me accountable as I work towards this monumental goal!

3) I hope I’m bringing my love of books and baking together in a way that is as fun for you as it is for me.

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As I plow through my reading lists, I’ll update a visual photobook of items I’ve checked off and the ones still to come, so you can keep up with me and my progress. Check out the “Producti-baking” page on my blog (coming soon!). I’d love to hear what you guys think about this, so be sure to leave any feedback or other brilliant suggestions for improving this system.

Okay, but enough of that. Let’s get on to some real o.m.f.g.

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o.m.f.g. bars, otherwise known as Oreos made for gods bars. 

Did you see the Slutty Cheesecake Bars that I posted and were a smash success two weeks ago?

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  These chewy, flavor-packed bars operate on the same principle of souping up an Oreo, but this time we’ve got a chewy mocha chocolate chip blondie base topped with a perfectly spiced cinnamony snickerdoodle, both of which sandwich whole, unadulterated creamy Oreos.

And yeah, I’m taking full credit for this one.

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So what are you waiting for? Grab a book, snatch up an o.m.f.g. bar, bask in the summer sun, and get ready to turn over the leaf to a new chapter in our lives.

Summer productibaking, here we come!

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

Ala

o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars 
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
For mocha chocolate chip blondie base (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 16 whole Oreos

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Dissolve coffee granules in vanilla and stir into wet mixture. Add flour and salt; mix in until just incorporated.. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Place 16 whole Oreos on top of blondie crust and press them gently in until they stick to the dough.
  3. Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake for about 7 minutes in oven–it should not be fully cooked through. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool briefly while you prepare snickerdoodle layer.

For snickerdoodle layer:

Original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction: (I’ve used this recipe before for standalone snickerdoodle blondies, to great

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar + 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 6 tablespoons brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and 1/2 egg yolk (reserve the over half for part of a breakfast omelette!). Add vanilla, then mix in flour, baking powder, and salt until just incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  2. Pour batter over prepared mocha blondies + Oreos (recipe above).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over snickerdoodle batter, then gently swirl through batter with the tip of a knife. Place entire pan into preheated oven (still 350 degrees F) and bake for 25-35 minutes, until snickerdoodle layer has set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into 16 squares. Then…omfg, enjoy.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates

Slutty Cheesecake Bars (from Bakers Royale)

Everybody loves watching a good action movie on the big screen. Everybody, except the two people sitting directly on either side of me, the unfortunate person in front of me whose chair gets pummeled every time a loud explosion occurs, and maybe anyone within shriek-audible range of me–which is basically everyone in the theater. I am not a dainty shrieker. I spent all of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 doing weird spastic knee tucks in my seat and giving the front seat an extra-hard kick when its occupant turned around to glare at me.

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(Doesn’t this photo look like an adorable mini smiling wolf? Hehe, it makes me happy to look at it.)

That being said, I love watching action films in theater. If I have one weakness, though (aside from these “slutty cheesecake bars”–yes, we’ll get to these smexy bad boys and their seductive name in just a second), it’s an action film with plenty of eye candy. Speaking of which, have you seen Chris Pine in the new Star Trek movie? Never mind the fact that my Trekkie knowledge was limited to Spock’s horrendous haircut up until the first new movie in 2009. The hysterical prepubescent middle-school fan girl in me rares up every time young Captain Kirk flashes those sultry baby blues my way.

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As an added perk, he’s sweet-looking and smart. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in English in 2002.

Oh heyyy. Guess who else has an English degree from the big Blue and Gold? Shall we discuss our shared literary interests over a cup of Free Trade tea and vegan pulled pork, Chris? Yes? Yes?

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Or maybe over a panful of these?

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I was so excited when I first stumbled across these at Baker’s Royale. She is known for inventing some insane bar cookies, with zany names to boot (like Man Whore bars, which I still need to try–um, yes, please?) These are no exception. No, sireeee.

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Bake up a soft, chewy layer of perfect chocolate chip cookies (even from a package if you’re in a hurry–I used one of my favorite chewy CCC recipes). Layer up your Oreos–16 whole, creamy chocolatey onesthen smother them in a smooth and rich cheesecake filling. Chop up some more Oreos and Whoppers and sprinkle them over the whole shebang.

Bam. Slutty bar cookies for slutty perfectly innocuous, intelligent motives to meet Chris Pine.

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My coworkers and students thought I was insane when I brought a plate of these into the office last week. These reports can be neither confirmed nor denied. However, when I stepped back in half an hour later, these were completely gone. Completely.

These crazy-loaded treats (the only kinds I accept) make great conversation starters, apology/appeasement gifts, after-school sweet tooth snacks, and enticers of potential love interests. Slutty Cheesecake Bars 7--051913

I doubt even Chris Pine could resist them–but I’ll let you know after I test this theory out.

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Print this recipe and beam them up, Scotty!

Ala

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Slutty Cheesecake Bars (from Bakers Royale)
Yield: 1 8×8-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
For chocolate chip cookie base (original recipe from My Baking Addiction)–one of the chewiest, most satisfying CCC’s you’ll ever make!
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and both sugars until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  2. Set bowl aside and make cheesecake layer.
  3. If you’d like to make these as individual cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop prepared cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on hot cookie sheet for at least 3-5 minutes before removing to wire rack.

For cheesecake layer:

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat in until completely smooth, but be sure not to overbeat.
  2. Set aside cheesecake layer as you assemble the slutty cheesecake bars.

To assemble slutty cheesecake bars:

Ingredients:

  • 21 Oreos (16 whole Oreos and 5 chopped Oreos, divided)
  • 5 oz. Whoppers, chopped

Directions for assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
  2. Spread cookie dough evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking pan (or drop them by rounded tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet if making cookies). Your cookie dough layer should be about half an inch thick–if you have leftover dough, you can bake it immediately as individual cookies or simply toss it into the fridge for baking at a later time. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, until the dough is just cooked through and firm. Remove from oven.
  3. Layer 16 whole Oreos on baked cookie crust. Pour cheesecake filling evenly over Oreos. Sprinkle 5 chopped Oreos and 5 oz. chopped Whoppers over the cheesecake.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until cheesecake is pretty well set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan before cutting. Best served chilled from refrigerator (but make sure you store it in the fridge either way).
  5. Note: If you eat these warm straight out of the pan–as I did–you might be alarmed to find that the Whoppers are almost impossibly chewy! Don’t worry; if you wait like you’re (ahem) supposed to, they will regain their crunchy texture after chilling in the fridge. 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Cheesecakes, Cookies

Dreamy Raspberry Streusel Magic Bars

What are you making for your mom or the mom-like figure in your life this Sunday?

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I have to admit that I am not making these. Well, maybe I did….but there is no remaining physical evidence to indicate that I did.

That’s right. I ate my mom’s Mother Day baked goods gift.

Oops. Love you, mumsy.

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The frontal lobe of my twisted brain reasons that I am flying my own sweet little self back home for Mother’s Day, and that my mom will therefore have everything she needs (i.e. me). Plus, she won’t miss what she never, er, knew she was missing out on. Right?

Right? Who’s with me?

You’ll understand what I mean shortly. Skedaddle off to the kitchen and make these gooey, crunchy, cinnamony, sweet, and simple bars–I guarantee you, they won’t last you until Sunday. And if they do–well, you’re either a saint, or you’re a mother yourself and have the patience of a saint.

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And if you are a mother, you should totally hoard the entire pan, because–well, it’s your day, and you can. And who ever needed a better excuse than THAT?

Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers who fill up our kitchens with warm aromas and our lives with lots of love!

Ala

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Dreamy Raspberry Streusel Magic Bars
Adapted from a fantastic original recipe at Mom on Time Out
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups sweetened coconut, flaked
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate (for drizzling)
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate (for drizzling)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, white sugar, 3/4 cup melted butter, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Press lightly and evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle coconut over graham cracker crust, then pour sweetened condensed evenly over coconut. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from oven and cool completely. While waiting for bars to cool, make streusel topping (recipe to follow).
  5. Spread raspberry preserves over cooled bars. Press prepared streusel lightly into the jam.
  6. Place semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir; return to microwave and continue heating at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is completely melted. Do the same for the white chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolates over the bars, then cut and serve!

For streusel topping:

  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or nut of your choice (optional–if you omit them, increase oats by 1/2 cup)

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Press lightly onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until light brown. Crumble while still hot; set aside to cool completely.
  3. Press into the tops of your magic bars!

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Lemon Raspberry Squares

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If you’re like me and spent your diaper days thinking you would grow up to be a Disney princess/character, you have probably long since experienced that moment when some well-meaning adult sat you down, looked you straight in your beaming bright baby eyes, and said one of the following:

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Speech A: “Kid, let’s face it. Ariel was the daughter who ran away from her tyrannical sea king of a father who forbade his entire kingdom to sleep when she went missing, and then she ended up marrying a guy she “knew” for 48 hours and having a kid who ended up ditching them because all SHE wanted to do was go to the sea. Talk about a dysfunctional family…

Speech B:Belle never worked for that damn loaf of bread she was always singing about. And she was a victim of Stockholm’s syndrome. Does that sound like la vie en rose to you? Because if it does–well, in the words a hallucinogen-induced anthropomorphized talking candlestick…Be my guest.

Speech C:Aladdin–chronic liar. Rapunzel–societal recluse. Simba–unrealistic responsibility-shirker. Peter Pan–one big Freudian slip. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella–desperate damsels in distress fleeing from murderous pursuers and sought by princes with really, REALLY  overactive sets of lips.”

And so on and so forth.

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I WAS NOT INFORMED OF ANY OF THIS.

Okay, maybe a few times. But I wasn’t informed of it in a way that would’ve persuaded me to actually buy it. I mean, so fine–Disney movies admittedly have their share of issues. I mean really, really big and sometimes morally reprehensible issues. And I recognize that. But really, since when is everything perfect in life?

Never, that’s when. As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

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Fortunately, I am not a big fan of cake. Of all the delectable, makes-life-worth-living desserts out there, cake simply isn’t at the top of my list. Lemon squares, however, are.

As the good saying goes, “When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade.”

Or the better one, “When life throws lemons at you, make orange juice and watch the world wonder how you did it.”

Or, the best one, “When life throws lemons at you, throw ‘em back and yell really loudly like a feral animal so your enemies will run away screaming in terror.”

Okay, I made that last one up.

But you COULD make these tangy, gooey, sweet and tart lemon squares with a really satisfying strawberry or raspberry jam layer and turn even your worst enemies into BFFL’s.

You’ll want this recipe! Print it now and get those lemons going, folks.

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Or better yet, let the seven little dwarves sitting in your closet do it while you indulge.

Because I know you have ‘em.

Don’t think I don’t. But this job’s mine, folks. And another batch of these gorgeous lemon squares will be too, if you don’t hurry up and make your own. I WILL devour them.

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Which Disney character would you love to be in your life?

Ala


Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Lemon Raspberry Squares
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 1-2 lemons (approximately 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup raspberry or strawberry jam.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together butter, 1/3 cup white sugar, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Continue mixing until the mixture turns from crumbly to pretty smooth (of a more butter-like consistency). Press evenly and lightly into prepared pan. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and firm.
  3. As the crust is baking, make your lemon filling by whisking together 1 1/4 cups white sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth.
  4. Spread jam of your choice over the slightly cooled crust, taking care to leave about half an inch around the edges so the jam doesn’t burn. Pour lemon mixture over crust and jam, and return pan to oven. Bake for an additional 25-35 minutes, until filling is mostly set. (The squares will firm up as they cool, and in the fridge as well.) Allow squares to cool completely at room temperature before transferring them in the pan (covered) to the fridge and allowing them to set up for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight.
  5. Cut into squares the next day and serve while singing Disney princess songs and humming to your helper animals!

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Black Sesame Sunshine Brownies

I’d like to file a complaint.

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Somebody has stolen all of the sunshine.

If you’re from a place where spring actually feels like spring, and summer looks like–well, like it’s supposed to, this is saying a lot.

I like my sunshine.

Mine. No touchie.

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Having just flown back from a truly EPIC 4-day trip to St. Louis and Chicago, I’ve learned two things:

Thing #1: It’s not spring-like everywhere in the spring.

Cue multiple photos of me wearing 2 thick sweaters, 2 heavy coats, 2 pairs of gloves, knee-high socks, and boots the size of an overgrown sea elephant while waddling (much like a sea elephant) around the entire city trying to peek out at touristy attractions like the Bean without disturbing my puffy scarf and beanie.

Yes, the Chicagoans were visibly laughing as they passed by in their t-shirts. I would’ve done something about it, too…if waddling over to punch them in all my ridiculous layers didn’t make it look like I was just getting ready to give them a big bear hug or something.

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Thing #2: As much as I told myself I wouldn’t be a pansy and say it’s “freezing cold” anymore when it’s, y’know, notThe lack of sunshine around here is killing me.

On my last day in St. Louis, it had warmed up to the point that I was eating renowned frozen custard from Ted Drewes wearing a tank top and a light jacket.

Today, I had to wear a thick jacket. Nuh-uh. Uncalled for, Cali!

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So that’s what these brownies are for. Some people like to do rain dances. Since it’s been a dark, cloudy, overcast, likely-to-pour day over here, though, I huddled up inside with my books and made these gorgeously dark black sesame brownies and decided to throw in a bit of sunshine.

Then do a little dance. The sunshine brownie dance.  Because they’re really, really yummy and super bright! You’ll love the smoky (and healthy!) taste of black sesame topped with the tangy bright taste of lemon curd sunshine.

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What’s your favorite kind of weather or date? :) 

I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.

I’d love to hear what you’re thinking! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read/comment/follow. I hope you’re enjoying the weather and/or the indoors, wherever you’re at!

Ala

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Black Sesame Sunshine Brownies
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Adapted from Pig Pig’s Corner
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 5/8 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine melted butter and black sesame seeds. Grind until it turns into a fine or slightly gritty paste.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sesame paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Fry it for 2-3 minutes, or until the black sesame becomes smoky and fragrant. (The oils will start to separate when it’s ready–be sure not to overfry, otherwise you’ll burn your sesame!) Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Add cooled sesame mixture to a large mixing bowl. Mix in eggs one by one.
  5. Gently fold in flour until just incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Top with white sesame seeds and serve with a dollop of lemon curd sunshine! (Recipe follows.)

Lemon Curd Sunshine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, then heat in microwave at 1-minute intervals for approximately 4-5 minutes total, stirring between each interval. Your curd will be ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from microwave (straining out any excess egg whites as necessary through a mesh strainer) and allow to cool slightly before serving. Sunshine, order’s up! 

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