OMG PEANUT BUTTER BARS

I cannot stand the texture of peanut butter and its ability to glue to gums and teeth. The idea of grabbing a spoon of peanut butter and licking it leaves me paralyzed with terror. These peanut bars? Seriously addictive. In her original post, Lauren called them “World’s Best Peanut Butter Bars.” I have not tried that many – full disclosure, this is my second – so I share the recipe with you, and if you are a peanut butter bar connoisseur, let me know what you think.

PEANUT BUTTER BARS
(from Tastes Better from Scratch)

for the bars:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (plus more for spreading over baked bars)
2 + 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

for the chocolate frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 + 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1 + 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter with both types of sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well.

In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to creamy mixture.

Press firmly into a greased 9×13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. It will look just barely set in the center, and will harden as it cools. Allow to cool completely, then spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the bars.

To make the chocolate frosting: Add butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Once melted, stir in cocoa. Remove from heat and add milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, using electric beaters to get out any lumps, if needed. .

Spread chocolate frosting over the top of the bars. Cut into squares once the topping is fully set. Using a knife moistened with very hot water from the faucet helps to get neat slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These bars were donated, but I “sampled” a little of the trimmings. It’s a good thing I had planned to donate them, because just like a certain cauliflower of my recent past, portion control with this baby would require Herculean efforts. If you make it, consider cutting in even smaller squares if you can, because they are rich. Decadent. I love the inclusion of oats in the base. I am thinking of incorporating oats in sugar cookies in the near future.

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NINE YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

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TWELVE YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS

A departure on the Brazilian classic, I love the way these turned out. The raspberry cuts through the sweetness and gives them a little sharp bite I find quite pleasant. If brigadeiros are new to you, I urge you to make a batch. You can start from the traditional version, or go straight for this dressed up variation.

RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
100g white chocolate, cut in pieces
dash of salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless
1 tsp Amorettti raspberry flavor (optional)
nonpareils, white and pink
gold air-brush color (optional)

Grease a small baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a medium non-stick pan, combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the brigadeiro mix is warm, add the chocolate pieces, the jam and continue stirring.


The mixture thickens after about 8-10 minutes, and once you can run your spoon through the middle of it without it running back together for 2-3 seconds, it is done. When it starts to thicken, add the raspberry flavor, if using.

Pour the mixture into the greased plate, and let it chill until you can handle it with your bare hands. Form little balls and roll on nonpareils to coat. If desired, add a little gold color with an air-brush. Place them in small candy cups.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Brigadeiros are very sweet by nature (reducing condensed milk leaves you no way out of it), but even those who are against overly sweet goodies will enjoy this version. The raspberry does its magic.

I went with two colors, pink and white, and added a touch of gold because these brigadeiros had to be dressed for a special party. Have you heard that a certain food blog will turn 12 years old very soon? I say no more for the time being…

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TEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies


PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD

Millionaire’s Bars are undoubtedly a classic. This version brings a bright tropical twist that works quite well. Very rich, a small piece will satisfy even those with a super sweet tooth.

PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD
(inspired by this article)

for the shortbread base:
2½ cups (312g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (226g) unsalted butter, melted

for the caramel:
1 can (396g)sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (210g) brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
1-2 tsp passionfruit flavor from Amoretti (optional)
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt

for the topping:
225g dark chocolate
1/4 cup Candy Melts, white dyed orange with food gel

Heat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and line it with foil, leaving pieces hanging on both the long and short sides of the pan, for easy lifting of the bar later. Make the shortbread by combining flour, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula until no dry crumbs of flour remain. Crumble the dough evenly over the pan, and pat into even thickness with your fingers. Pierce with a fork many times all over the surface. Bake until light golden brown and firm to touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let crust cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Make the caramel: Stir all ingredients together in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 238 F. This will take around 20 minutes. Pour over crust and spread to even thickness. Let cool completely, a couple of hours.

Once set, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts until glossy and smooth. Place the dyed candy melt in a piping bag and make a small hole. Smooth the chocolate over the caramel shortbread, then quickly add lines of the dyed candy melts. Do a feathering effect with a toothpick or a needle. Leave it set, then cut into squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this quite some time ago, March 2020 to be precise. It was one of the last items I was able to share with our department before Covid-19 hit. I hoped to have intense passion fruit flavor in the caramel, and that was not very easy to achieve. By mixing fruit pulp with a touch of Amoretti flavor, I think I got it as intense as it could possibly be without affecting the caramel texture. If you don’t have Amoretti products hanging around, just omit it. The passion fruit by itself will be a nice touch, taming the sweetness of the caramel layer. But, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is rich. They call it Millionaire’s Shortbread for good reason!

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EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

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TEN YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

PISTACHIO ROSE DONUTS

I am very fond of this combination of flavors, the aura of romance and elegance it conveys. These baked donuts have a nice texture, moist and delicate. And they are so easy to make, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

PISTACHIO & ROSE BAKED DONUTS
(adapted from The Baking Explorer)

for the donuts:
30 g pistachios, coarsely ground (use a small food processor or a nut grinder)
175 g sugar
30 ml vegetable oil
175 ml whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rose water
225 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon

for the glaze:

250 g powdered sugar
2 tbsp Water
1/2 tsp Rose water
3 tsp lemon juice

for decoration:
chopped pistachios optional
sprinkles

Heat the oven to 350F and grease donut pans with a very small amount of butter. Reserve. Sift the flour with baking powder in a bowl and reserve.

Mix together the sugar, milk, oil, vanilla extract, rose water, eggs and lemon zest in a bowl with a whisk
Add the flour mixture and ground pistachios, and fold them in. Place the batter in a piping bag, cut the tip and pipe in 12 donut pans. Bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through and starting the get some golden color.

Remove the baked donuts and let them cool on a rack. Make the glaze, adjusting the consistency with water if needed. It needs to be thick enough to nicely coat the surface. Decorate with chopped pistachios and sprinkles.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The addition of ground pistachios into the batter gives the donuts a speckled look and interesting texture. If you have pistachio flour, you can definitely use it, but I actually prefer to grind it, so that it’s not too fine. I realize some people are cheerleaders of the Team Fried Donuts. I’ve never made them because I have a deep dislike for dealing with a large volume of oil. At some point I need to face this little phobia of mine and give them a try. I still remember my first encounter with those donuts from a certain shop, all cute lined up in a conveyer’s belt, served straight from the fryer, with just a coating of powdered sugar. Definitely worth the extra calories!

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2021

Last time I shared Incredibly Simple recipes was 7 months ago, so it’s been a while… The first three are embarrassing simple. The fourth will surprise you. Read on, my friends!

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER FLORETS

I admit that the picture is not that great. The problem is I had no intention of blogging about it, until I realized I made it three weeks in a row, and now it’s pretty hard for me to prepare cauliflower any other way. The air-fryer is the perfect environment to get crispy, tender inside florets, in 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes start to finish. No mess, no fuss. Perfect results every single time.

Toss the florets in a large bowl with a little grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), season with salt, pepper, and when you want to rock your world a bit, go for smoked paprika, maybe a touch of curry. Set your fryer to the highest temperature (mine is 390F), and let it roast for 20 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

HARD-BOILED EGGS, THE AIR-FRYER WAY

If you own an air-fryer and want to expand your horizons to use it more often, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Place as many eggs as you want in the basket. Set it to 270F (or around that temperature, depending on your model) and set the timer to 15 minutes. You might need a little adjustment in the time. For my fryer and my taste in hard-boiled eggs, that combination hits the spot. If you want to have soft-boiled eggs, reduce the time to 8 to 10 minutes, but again you’ll have to tweak the conditions. The eggs peel like a dream, by the way.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

SWEET AND SPICY WALNUTS (or PECANS)

Phil came up with this idea and now we do it all the time for our salads. Grab a handful of walnuts or pecans. Coat a non-stick small skillet with a tiny tiny tiny amount of olive oil. Heat, and add the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, or if you like to change things a bit, go for a touch of paprika. When the nuts start to get fragrant, drizzle a very small amount (maybe 1 tsp) of maple syrup. Everything will bubble furiously. Shake the pan to move the walnuts and coat them with the syrupy mixture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl to cool down a bit. Add to your salad. Any salad. Try to refrain from picking those babies from the bowl when no one is looking

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

FRIANDS

You may ask yourself… “Has she lost her mind?” BAKING in Incredibly Simple? Nope, I did not lose my mind (at least not for this particular reason). This is a recipe that a 5 year old can make with minor supervision as the young child will need to operate a food processor.

Melt 1 stick (113g) of butter and place in the bowl of a food processor together with
90g all-purpose flour
110g almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites
190g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Process for 1 minute. It will be very foamy. Spoon the mixture in non-stick muffin tins (or friand molds), filling each cavity no more than 3/4 full. Place two raspberries in each portion, top with some slivered almonds. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes, remove from the molds and when fully cold, dust with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope that if you consider yourself a non-baker, or worse yet, a bake-o-phobe (like I used to be), you will still grab the ingredients and try this recipe. You can vary the nut flour by adding some hazelnuts or even ground pistachios in some proportion together with almond flour. Or you can bake this simple version. They are delicate, moist, fragrant, absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. And so incredibly simple to prepare! Make sure to surprise whoever is around and when you bring those to the table, say very non-challantly… “I’ve made some friands for you”… Work on your best French accent, it is a must in this case.

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