Mating in the Wild & Pecan Pie Bars

Mating in the Wild & Pecan Pie Bars

Apparently size does matter.  Not only does showing whose is bigger set the ground work, you are then able to start a battle with a few strong shoves to your advisary and with a well placed low blow get him out of the picture. That accomplished you can now turn your attention to the lovely female you have had our eye on since sensing her hormone levels were reaching their peak and you, being the romantic you are, will wait by quietly until she turns her attentions to you!

A play-by-play from a downtown bar?!  A scenario from a dating text-book?! My somewhat crazed imagination?!

None of the above.  Interestingly enough, while baking up today’s recipe, I had on the National Geographic channel and they were discussing the mating habits of wild life in Alaska.  Male Sheep with the biggest horns use them to fight off other males who are lacking in this department often butting their horns in their opponents vulnerable spots and the winner also lets loose a battle cry to capture the attention of his lady.

While watching it I started thinking about recent conversations with several single women friends and their not-so-impressive dating experiences so far in 2016.

Seems today’s man could maybe take cue from the bears, long-horned sheep and a few other animals in Alaska and other parts of the world.

In a nutshell, as wild and untamed as these creatures may be, they make a show of their assets and are willing to go the extra mile and even fight for their lady.  Now I know I don’t want anyone ramming their head into the gut of another potential suitor just to get my or my friends undivided attention but a sincere compliment to the fairer sex on how attractive their eyes or how nice their smile or asking something about their life and really wanting to know the answer would go a long way in securing our attention and interest.

Seems in the light of working so hard to be equal and self-sufficient we forget it is OK to have someone show us we are special and we are worth a little effort.  Sure we can bear children and look after said children, and take the garbage to the curb, grocery shop, make the meals, clean the house, pay bills and pay for our own stuff BUT why do we think we are not worth someone making a little effort for us.  WE ARE MORE THAN WORTH IT!

Maybe it’s not just the guys who need to look to the wild.  I’m going to follow the advice of the female bear…(well, metaphorically or something like that…I’m not really going to eat grass in a field and wait for a hairy guy, but I think you’ll get my drift).   She contentedly eats her way through the field while the males fight for her (just her, not the other 12 they have contacted on Match or POF and might, just might, follow-up with).  Then the winner lays down in the grass nearby and waits the several weeks it takes before she is ready for his attentions.

To me this translates to the guy spending some time and attention on the woman, by taking her out, talking with her, asking about her and her interests, and paying, yes paying, for several coffees or drinks and a few meals…that’s it. Doesn’t seem that difficult and no matter how old we get it does really feel like all the emotions and thoughts haven’t changed since college and high school dating.

Obviously this recipe is super simple or there is absolutely no way I would have been able to whip it up with all of the above going through my brain!!  Hope you give them a try.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!!

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Pecan Pie Bars

Preheat oven to 350F.  Makes about 24 squares.  You’ll need a 9×9-inch square pan, ungreased.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, cold

2 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

Method:

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, powdered sugar and salt.  Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pat into baking dish and bake in preheated oven until light brown.  About 20 minutes.

In same medium bowl whisk eggs and add in the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla.  Whisk until combined.

Sprinkle pecans over baked crust and pour over egg mixture.  Return to oven and bake approximately 20 more or until filling is set.  Let cool and cut into bars.

 

 

Pumpkin Pecan Blondies with Cream Cheese Swirl

Pumpkin Pecan Blondies with Cream Cheese Swirl

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The Fall pumpkin obsession hasn’t died down any since last week so I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with this weeks moist and delicious Pumpkin Pecan Blondies with a tasty cream cheese swirl.

Incredibly delicious warm from the oven and still moist, dense and as delicious the next day, these are sure to be a hit.

For this recipe you’ll need a large can of pumpkin since you need 2 cups of puree for the blondies.

Pumpkin Pecan Blondies with Cream Cheese Swirl

Makes approx. 24 bars.  Grease a 9 x 12-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream Cheese Swirl

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 egg, room temperature

In a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar and egg and well combined and set aside.

Blondies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups pumpkin puree

3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and then beat well.  Add the pumpkin puree and beat to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding with a rubber spatula until flour is mixed in completely.  Fold n nuts.

Pour half of the batter into prepared pan and spread.  Spoon on half of the creamed cheese mixture and swirl through batter with the tip of a knife or a skewer.  Top with the remaining batter spreading gently to make another layer and spoon on remaining cream cheese mixture, again swirling with a knife or skewer.

Bake about 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool and cut into bars.

Enjoy warm from the oven and again later when cool!

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Chocolate Revel Bars

Chocolate Revel Bars


Time to lick the pot clean!!


Butter, sugar, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, flour plus oats make the base and topping.


Base pressed into 15 x 10-inch pan waiting for chocolate topping.

Middle layer of 2 tablespoons butter, semi-sweet chocolate and condensed milk all melted and blended together with nuts and vanilla.  (Check out video on sweet_enuf on Instagram.)

Top chocolate layer with remaining oat mixture and bake.

Chocolate Revel Bars

Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need an ungreased 15 x 10-inch baking pan.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces

1 x 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Set aside 2 tablespoons of butter.

In a large bowl beat remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar and baking soda, beating until combined.  Scrape bowl as needed.  Beat in eggs and the first 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Turn mixer to low and beat in flour.  Stir in the oats.

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the 15 x 10-inch pan.

For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the 2 tablespoons of reserved butter, chocolate pieces and condensed milk.  Heat over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and add in the nuts and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Spread melted chocolate mixture over base and spread evenly.  Crumble the remaining oat mixture and sprinkle over the chocolate layer.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until top crumbs are light brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

 

Dulce de Leche Bars


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Dulce de Leche Bars

These incredibly sweet treats have a similar taste to  the popular Twix Chocolate Bars. Made with Dulce de Leche, a shortbread crust and a topping consisting of semi-sweet chocolate, cream, butter and a little corn syrup these are only for fans of the super sweet.

You know I am a fan of all things buttery and sweet but truth be told I found these just a little too sweet for me.  Give them a whirl and see what you think.  Let me know if these make your favourites list!

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Dulce de Leche Bars

You will need a mixer, a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lined with foil (have the foil overhang for easy removal from the pan) and sprayed with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350F.

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 jar PC Dulce de Leche (450 grams)

3/4 cup whipping cream

6 tbsp butter

2 tbsp light corn syrup

12 ounces, chopped,  semi-sweet chocolate or mix of semi-sweet and bittersweet

3/4 tsp vanilla

For the crust, in a large bowl beat the butter and sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla,  until combined, scraping bowl as needed.  Beat in flour.  Cover and let the dough chill until easy to handle roughly 30 minutes.

Press the chilled dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Cool pan on a wire rack.

Spread the jar of Dulce de Leche over the crust.

In a medium saucepan bring cream, butter and corn syrup just to boiling over a medium heat.  Remove from heat and add in the semisweet chocolate and 3/4 tsp vanilla.  Let sit for a few minutes and then stir until smooth.  Cool for about 10 minutes and spread the chocolate mixture over the top of the bars.

Cover and chill until set about 1-2 hours.

Once chilled remove bars using foil overhang and slice into bars.  You will get approximately 48 small squares out of this.  Keep chilled for best results.

 

Triple Chocolate Brownies


Chocolate never seems to go out of flavour!  The more elaborate the creation or the cake piled high with chocolate pieces or chocolate bars the more popular it seems to be on social media. Although, I do have to wonder if anyone really digs into these mouthwatering looking items or if they are used only for photo ops.  It would break my sugar laden heart to think they were not being enjoyed!

IMG_20160513_203703508I recently posted a recipe for “Whopper Brownies” which were a huge hit at my house but the Brownie recipes just seem to keep coming across my lap.  Therefore, I feel I should take one for the team and keep baking up and sampling all the delicious looking recipes I see. (The problem is I haven’t seen an unsatisfactory looking recipe yet). My spanx are on order!

Labelled Double Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownies by Fine Cooking I switched up the name to reflect the addition of white chocolate chips I added into the batter.  I sprinkled chocolate chunks on top of the brownies after about 20 minutes of baking.

They have made the “please bake again” list in my house and I’m sure they will be eaten and not just photographed should you want to give them a go.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 F and parchment line 8-inch square pan.

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup chocolate chunks/chips or coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth.  Add in the sugar and salt and whisk until blended.  Add in eggs one at a time and whisk until just blended. Add in vanilla.

Sprinkle the flour over the batter and stir in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips and spread mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes and then scatter the chocolate chunks over top and bake another 10-15 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE.  A toothpick inserted into the centre should have a few small gooey clumps adhering to it.

IMG_20160513_203703508Cool completely and remove from the pan and cut into 12 equal pieces.  (Notice the taste test bite missing from this one.)

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Coconut Oat Bars


Simple, sweet and scrumptious, that is what these bars are.

One Girl Cookies is full of cakes, cupcakes, Whoppie pies, etc. along with these easy and sweet bars that come together quickly.

IMG_20160424_101019683Based on the gnawing damage done to my One Girl Cookies book I’m guessing I have had it in my possession for at least 5 years!  imageAnd no they aren’t my teeth marks made it a desperate sugar craving…they belong to the one of my beasts (either the Scrapper or Syd).

The only switch up I did with this recipe was used strawberry jam in place of the raspberry preserves called for and increased the amount to thinly cover the whole base.  A strawberry rhubarb preserve or jam would be wonderful as well.

These sweet treats would be a great take along to a picnic or BBQ or my usual reason for sweets…just because.  I think that may be the best reason ever for anything simple and sweet, “Just Because”.

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Raspberry Coconut Oat Bars (OR Strawberry)

3/4 cup unsweetended shredded coconut

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and parchment line a 13×9-inch baking pan.

Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast until golden in the oven, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove and cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt.  Mix on low speed to combine.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until the dough just starts to come together.  Add the toasted coconut and the oats.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the dough has a crumbly texture.

Reserve 3/4 cup of the dough.  Transfer remaining dough to your prepared pan and using your fingers, press it evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Bake for approximately 14 minutes turning pan during baking, until golden around the edges. image Remove from oven and spread the preserves evenly over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Top with remaining dough, crumbling it over the preserves.  Bake for 7 minutes or until preserves are bubbling.

Let bars cool completely.  Loosen edges with a thin spatula to remove cooled bars for cutting.  Cut into 2-inch squares.

I think these are sweetenuf for me!

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Stawberry Coconut Oat Bars

Shrinkage IS An Issue and Other Fails!

Shrinkage IS An Issue and Other Fails!

Today I could just post pics of my baked items and let you think everything I make is pretty good, OK, fabulous, but this is never truly the case especially when trying out new recipes.

My most recent fail was last week when instead of sticking to a tried and true tart recipe I googled a “the best” recipe online.  It was from Canadian Living and had many good reviews.

As I was getting together with several friends, all foodies in one way or another, I thought it was the perfect chance to test out something new and get their opinion.  Hmmm, perhaps not such a good idea.  The Maple Tart recipe called for 1 tablespoon of Cider Vinegar in the filling.  Yes, it did seem a bit much to me but it was labelled as “the best”, so needless to say “the experts would know”, who am I to question, although in hindsite I should have gone with my gut and cut it in half.  Often vinegar or lemon juice is added to butter tart and maple tart fillings to help cut down on the sweetness. But this recipe definitely had a vinegar taste, so disappointing, and no time for a redo!

Another huge issue is SHRINKAGE!  Yes, shrinkage in the kitchen can be problematic. Who knew!?  Just chilling can help although if memory serves me chilling was the cause of George Costanza’s shrinkage issues.  We need “chill” in the kitchen to prevent the shrinkage of our pastry before it bakes while George needs to avoid the chill (but that my friends is a whole other issue not meant for this blog).

Often pastry recipes call for you to prepare the pastry and wrap and chill for an hour or more and after rolling and cutting out the pastry to chill again before baking.  If you are somewhat impatient, a little like myself, you may skip this stage just because you don’t really know why it is necessary.  According to the research I did the reason is to prevent your tart or pie shells from shrinking while baking.  If there is too much shrinking your fillings will be overflowing and your pastry will most likely only have a little edge preventing you from filling properly; therefore, in my opinion, not the correct pastry to filling ratio.  You know, a mouthful of flaky pastry combined with just the right amount of sweet or savoury filling.  Not too much, not too little.  Whatever works for your tastebuds.

Now I must say I did chill my dough both times per directions and the pastry was worth the work although the filling left a bit to be desired.

My somewhat second fail is today’s Wunderbar Blondies.  I’ll share the recipe because all you need to do to ensure success is use the full 2 cups of chocolate bars (no skimping).  It does seems like it would be to much but it is needed in the bars.

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Rough Chopped Wunderbars

Have a bar or cookie not quite up to par and not sure what to do.  Quickest fix – smear melted chocolate on top or put ice cream between to make an icecream sandwich and add chocolate on top…did I mention chocolate can save pretty much anything.

This recipe is a knockoff of a Snickers Blondies recipe I saw last year.  Which makes me want to offer up a tip to all you home bakers.  Although baking is much more of a science, you cannot just leave out the baking powder or not whip your egg whites because you feel like it, you can switch up a few items, especially in bars and cookies. Don’t be afraid, it’s only a few ingredients, not a life saving procedure.

I am using Wunderbars instead of Snickers bars and chocolate chips in these bars.  Make sure to use the full 2 cups of chopped chocolate bars in the filling as this is what sets them apart from a rather plain Blondie.

Wunderbar Blondies

To get started spray and line a 13 x 9-inch pan and preheat your oven to 350F.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, large

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chopped chocolate bars (Snickers, Wunderbar, KitKat, etc.)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Topping:

1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips or your favourite frosting

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla on low speed until mixed.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt and soda with a fork or whisk.

On low speed of mixer, add in flour mixture to creamed mixture and combine.  Fold in your chopped chocolate bars and chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  TIP: Wet your hands to help pat batter evenly into pan.

Baker about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  If desired melt 1 cup chocolate chips and drizzle over bars.  Bars can also be iced and topped with more chopped chocolate bars if desired. Or these sweet treats can be used to make icecream sandwiches.

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