Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Classic comboThis is the first post I’ve done since school started… and it is going to be brief! I made these muffins last minute this morning and shared some with friends. They requested the recipe, so here it is! Makes 12. (more…)

Ol’ Lady Toffee Bars

satisfies the craving

These are called ol’ lady bars because I made them for a sewing get together with a group of ladies that are almost all at least thirty years older than me. I use the term ol’ here in a rockin’ way. These ladies are impressively sassy and energetic for their age… and quite crafty. Plus, they have the stamina to sew for six hours straight- until midnight! That’s pretty rad, if you ask me.

Anyhow, this recipe seemed a little old fashioned to me because it is toffee-ish, but doesn’t have any toffee candy in it. It is based on America’s Test Kitchen’s “Coconut Toffee Chew Bars” recipe. They are excellently chewy and have great coconut flavor. The chocolate is a nice addition, but definitely does not dominate. I cut these small and got 24 small squares. And they kept the sewers sewin’ into the wee hours! (more…)

Heavenly Swirled Brownies

try em for breakfastI love making a whole batch of brownies for no particular occasion. After they’ve cooled, I cut them up and store them in the freezer. Then I take one out and let it defrost anytime I’ve got a brownie craving. They taste fresh for quite a while (not that they every really last that long anyway).

This time, I was looking for something a little more adventuresome than the plain ‘ol brownie, and the addition of nuts wasn’t going to cut it. So, I took my favorite plain brownie recipe from Cooks Illustrated and combined it with a Good Housekeeping recipe for peanut butter brownies. If you are feeling more like a traditional brownie, you can use just the recipe for the chocolate brownies below and shorten the baking time by about 10 minutes.

These decadent bars turned out quite amazing, I must admit! When researching recipes, I read a lot of reviews about various peanut butter swirl recipes not having enough peanut butter flavor. Well, this recipe has quite a lot of wonderful peanut butter flavor.  They are chewy, moist, and  thick, but not too cakey. However, they are a little crumbly… why do peanut butter baked goods always turn out crumbly? The only real problem with the crumbliness is that they don’t cut very neatly, even when cooled. Perhaps they would cut more cleanly if they were refrigerated first? So, in my opinion, if you aren’t planning on impressing anyone with the presentation of these brownies, the crumbliness does not outweigh fact that they are super duper tasty!

This recipe makes one 9 x 13 inch pan of fat brownies.  (more…)

Crazy Candy Cane Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I saw a picture of these pretty desserts on the Food Network’s website and I just had to make them! Fortunately, we were planning to attend a potluck holiday party that week, so I had an excuse to make them.

As I was making the recipe, I remembered that I don’t like cheesecake. I fooled myself into thinking these would turn out like chocolate mousse or chocolate brownies. But, no, they are quite cheescakey (and chocolatey too). So, if that is your thing, then these are quite delicious and unique! If not, then you can join me in plans to make a similar recipe in the future with brownies or chocolate mousse in place of the cheesecake. ;) Some people also liked these more without the candy cane topping… which makes them more of a year round treat.

I couldn’t find chocolate wafer cookies, so I used Newman’s O’s and removed the filling. Also, this recipe requires chilling overnight, so plan ahead!

This recipe makes 16 bars. (more…)

Berry Breakfast Bars

I recently had a sweet craving, but didn’t want to dive into a huge, messy, involved project, so I scanned my recipes for something simple and easy. I came across a recipe in Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” called “Jam Bars.”

Now, I expected these to be like the buttery, sugary, crumble-top, berry-filled bars that you see in bakeries. But they turned out to be less sweet and with a granola bar-like flavor. Perhaps it was the oats or the nuts that made it taste so, but whatever the case, I determined that these bars are more of a breakfast or snack rather than a dessert (unless of course they are served crumbled over vanilla ice cream- which I tried and enjoyed very much). These bars are not too sweet, but are flavorful and chewy. I made mine with homemade blackberry jam (courtesy of Rachel and Susan) and cut them into 9 large bars. (more…)

Decadent PB & C Bars

While out to dinner with friends last week, a special request was made by my friend Wendy for a peanut butter chocolate dessert. The only successful peanut butter chocolate recipe I’ve made is a cupcake recipe- and Wendy has already had those- so I wanted to try something different. Fortunately, Karen came to the rescue with a decadent recipe from called Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Tart. It looks like a big peanut butter cup sliced into pie wedges. Mmmmm!

I opted for individual bars instead of a large pie, so I baked mine in a 9x 13 inch glass baking dish. Soon after I spread the peanut butter mixture, I realized that my pan was too big, so I precariously cut the dessert in half and placed one half on top of the other for two layers. In the future, I would use a 9 x 9 inch square cake pan or a 9 1/2 inch round tart pan (as the recipe called for). You can substitute chocolate or vanilla wafers for the graham crackers. My variation made 16 small bars.

Beware- these are quite decadent and addicting! Susan is allergic to chocolate and it was hard to keep her away from them! (more…)

All Gone Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of John’s all time favorites. I am going to a yoga retreat this weekend and I didn’t want to leave John home all alone, so I decided to make some lemon bars to keep him company. When I asked John to name them, he refused, but after eating the first one he said, “all gone.”

I had never made lemon bars before and was a little fearful that they wouldn’t turn out right. However, they turned out pretty good for a first time experiment-very lemony and very tart! I think next time I will reduce the quantity of lemon filling by a third. I also think using meyer lemons when they are in season would be a good idea.

I got the base recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Once again, I reduced the sugar because I don’t like my sweets overly sweet. I added some cornstarch too to help with the consistency. This recipe makes approximately 16 rectangular bars.

Hopefully John will share some with friends as they are pretty rich! (more…)