Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

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Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

INGREDIENTS:

  • 23 Oreo cookies (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 Oreo cookies (store-bought or homemade), coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two of the sides.
  2. Make the Crust: Process the Oreo cookies in a food processor until they are turned into fine crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over top and pulse a handful of times until the butter is evenly distributed and all of the crumbs are moist. Dump the crumbs into the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes (leave the oven on).
  3. Make the Cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the eggs, beating well after each addition, and mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream and vanilla, beating until incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos, then pour the batter over the prepared crust, smoothing it into an even layer. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly, about 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.
  7. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment or foil handles. Slice into bars and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Macadamia Nut, Coconut & White Chocolate Blondies

Macadamia Nut, Coconut & White Chocolate Blondies

Macadamia Nut, Coconut & White Chocolate Blondies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped (or 1 cup white chocolate chips)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter or spray a 9×13-inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang over all the edges.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold them into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it into an even layer.
  4. Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars and serve. The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Oatmeal Caramel Bars

INGREDIENTS:

  • 32 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped OR homemade caramel (recipe below)
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream (omit this if you’re making homemade caramel)
  • 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (quick or old fashioned, or a mixture)
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or Dark Chocolate chopped)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt together the caramels and heavy cream, stirring occasionally until smooth (or make homemade caramel using the recipe below).
  3. Line a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well blended.
  5. Press a little more than half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Reserve the rest.
  6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and sprinkle with chocolate. Pour the caramel mixture over the top and then crumble the remaining crust mixture over everything.
  7. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-22 minutes, or until the top is lightly toasted.
  8. Allow to cool completely. Pull the entire thing out of the pan using the edges of the foil/parchment.
  9. Cut into squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Caramel
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Once it’s boiling, clip on the candy thermometer and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 110 degrees.
  2. Remove pan from heat, carefully add vanilla extract and stir. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and set aside while you prepare the bars.
Note: If you decide to use this homemade caramel, you’re likely to end up with a little extra caramel to eat on the side.

Rocky Road

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or omit Nutella and use 1 cup peanut butter)
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)
  • 13 whole cracker sheets / or digestives or biscotti

METHOD:

  1. Grease or line a 7″ x 11″ pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Place 6 crackers over the bottom and cut one cracker with a serrated knife to make pieces that will fit into the blank spots.In a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt together 2 cups of chocolate chips, peanut butter, and Nutella. Stir until smooth.Remove from heat and stir in marshmallows and nuts.
  3. Spread mixture over crackers. Cover with a layer of crackers, again cutting the extra cracker to make smaller pieces to fit into blank spots. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator overnight. When chilled, lift out of pan by the paper and cut with a serrated knife into four long stripsIn a double boiler, melt 1 1/2 cups of the remaining chocolate chips. Stir until just melted. Remove top of double boiler from the bottom and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup and stir until completely melted. If it seems to take a long time, you can place on the double boiler again  for 15-20 seconds to heat a little more.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Carefully spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over every side of each strip of rocky road. Set on wax paper and place in refrigerator to set.
  5. Once chocolate is set, cut 3/4-inch segments with a serrated knife. Store in an airtight container. I think it tastes best at room temperature.
Makes about 4 dozen pieces.

Scotcheroos

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 8 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Spray a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, mix together corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter. Stir and cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts. Bring mixture JUST to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in crisp rice cereal.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in and smooth the top with a silicone spatula (or well-buttered fingers/hands).
  4. Place butterscotch and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for about 40 seconds. Stir. Heat again for 20 seconds. Stir. Once chips are 3/4 of the way melted, keep stirring until completely melted. Place back in microwave 10 seconds at a time, if needed. Be careful not to overcook. If you keep stirring, they’ll melt.
  5. Spread chocolate mixture over the crispies mixture in the pan. Allow bars to cool until chocolate is set. Cut into squares or rectangles.

Makes 21-24 bars, depending on how you cut them

Caramel Crumble Bars with Nuts

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, macadamia nuts, or walnuts)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 7×11 inch pan with parchment paper. (If you don’t have a 7×11 pan, use a 9×9 inch brownie pan.)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the butter over the top, then mix it through until it’s evenly combined. Mixture will be crumbly with some crumbs larger than others.
  3. Reserve 1/3 of the crumble for the topping, and press the remaining 2/3 into the lined pan. Before firmly pressing in, sprinkle nuts evenly over the top. Press in firmly all over and make it flat. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-13 minutes, or until it starts to brown on the edges.
  4. While the base is baking, make the caramel filling. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the condensed milk, butter and corn syrup, stirring continuously. Bring it to a gentle boil and keep it there, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes until caramelized slightly and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Remove the base from the oven, and pour the caramel filling over the base. Smooth the caramel to create an even surface, and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the dry mixture evenly over the top.
  6. Return the whole thing to the oven for another 10-13 minutes, or until the crumble topping is cooked through and slightly browned.
  7. Allow to cool, then cut into triangles.
 – Makes about 20-30 pieces