Tag Archives: bars

Cranberry Bars: Take Two

6 Dec

Are you going to a Holiday Party and don’t want to show up empty handed? Show up with a festive tin filled with treats! Yum-O!! You can make bars, like my Cranberry ones below… or try Yvette’s brittle… I heard that people were sneaking it in thier purses when she took it to Thanksgiving dinner!

I finally had a chance to make my cranberry macadamia nut bars again! This time I used fresh cranberries. If you remember in a frantic rush to make something for a dinner party.. I used the dried un-sweetened kind. Thanks to Thanksgiving.. the grocery store has fresh ones! I stocked up! Although, another option is to buy frozen. I never thought to look there, but Yvette said that Henry’s has them. I don’t have a Henry’s near me, but I never really checked in the frozen section. Hmm…

As far as the nuts go… last time I used hazelnuts as a substitute. I really like the taste of hazelnuts, also why I LOVE NUTELLA!! Thanks to Yvette’s post on Nutella, I have a new way to eat it besides licking it off the spoon! Back from my tangent… my recipe calls for macadamia nuts, I was lucky to find some in the store this time. I guess when you aren’t running through the store like a crazy person, you can find just about everything you are looking for.

I was such a nerd and felt very infomercial-like by using my Magic Bullet! I used it to fine chop my macadamia nuts and later, my fresh cranberries. What else was I supposed to do? You try “chopping” cranberries and macadamia nuts on a cutting board! Now that I think about it… maybe I need that Slap Chop!!

Macademia Nuts

The bars turned out great! The coconut, cranberries, macadamia nuts.. what a perfect blend. The other bars were good in a pinch, but these were better. The thing I didn’t like about the first batch was the color. The dried cranberries don’t give off the color that the real cranberries do after being baked in the oven. I had an impartial taste tester… my great friend Laura! She has tasted many of my baked goods and has tasted both versions of this cranberry bar. It was her dinner party that I brought the substitute bars to and I had her over recently to taste the real version…what a trooper! She concurred.. the real deal was top notch!

I Am Thankful For…Chocolate!

24 Nov

A Heath bar is one of my favorite candies. While it is pretty convenient to run to your local grocery store to purchase one (or three), it is definitely more gratifying to make your own. This super simple candy is not only easy to make but it looks great too and it is just begging to be gifted…possibly to your Thanksgiving hostess….

I contemplated eating all of it for dinner tonight, but thought it better to bring it along as we make our rounds tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I know what you’re thinking…candy at Thanksgiving?!  I for one am definitely thankful for chocolate and believe that it should have a place at the Thanksgiving table…in any form!  Try it out!  You can make a million different variations.

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 package of saltine crackers
1 package of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1 package of your favorite nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar.  As that is melting, arrange the saltines on a jelly roll pan in a single layer.  Bring the butter and sugar mixture to a boil and remove from heat.  Pour the butter over the crackers gently, being careful not to let the butter move the crackers around.  Using a spatula, spread it out if needed so that everything is well coated.  Bake for 5 minutes.  While that is baking, melt your chocolate chips, either via double boiler, or in the microwave on 50% stirring every minute until melted.  Remove the pan from the oven and pour the chocolate on top, gently spreading to cover everything.  Top with the nuts and press into the chocolate.  Refrigerate to harden.  Once fully hardened, break it into pieces and store in an air tight container with a layer of wax paper or parchment paper in between.

This is so simple and when placed in a beautiful tin or other festive container, would make a tasty gift!

Happy Turkey Day!

Cranberry Bliss

27 Oct

For a recent dinner party with friends, I decided to whip up some cranberry bars. I didn’t really have a game plan, nor did I have very much time. They were supposed to be Cranberry-Macadamia Bars, but in a frantic rush around the grocery store, I couldn’t find any macadamia nuts! It was substitution time!

I decided to use hazelnuts instead of macadamia nuts. I also substituted fresh cranberries for dried ones that I had on hand- unsweetened, I like them less sweet and more tart. I can’t wait until the stores start having fresh cranberries on hand… they are the best!

The bars came out so good for being a last minute, mad-dash dessert. They reminded me of my favorite Cranberry Bliss bars at Starbucks! mmmm… I will be making this again using the macadamia nuts and fresh cranberries so look for that update soon!


5 Sep

This, I will admit, is my second attempt at making Blondies. I don’t remember how or what went wrong the last time, it is all a blur. All I can remember is that my husband said that they weren’t that good. They were edible (unlike my attempt to make chocolate mint cookies with fresh mint, that will be for another time), but something was off.. I think I made them as cookies instead of bars. I must not have had my coffee that day.

This time, I documented step by step and got AMAZING results! I used the Blondies recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens, New Baking Book. It was very easy to make and I think everyone should give them a try!

The Shopping List

Brown Sugar -packed; 2 cups
Butter -2/3 cup
Eggs -2
Vanilla -2 teaspoons
Flour -all purpose; 2 cups
Baking Powder -1 teaspoon
Baking Soda -1/4 teaspoon
Semi Sweet Chocolate Pieces -1 cup
Nuts -chopped; 1 cup

Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sauce pan heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

Using a wooden spoon, stri in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Spread into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into the bars when warm; cool completely in the pan.

They turned out so delicious and I totally redeemed myself! Dessert was a complete success!

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