When I came across a post with these bars, I knew I had found something good. It has dates, apricots, pepitas, chia seeds and a touch of cinnamon, all of which are know to be healthy in their own right. They come together to form these little delicious bars which are so tasty. They are sweet from the dates, a little tangy from the apricots and have the crunch of the chia seeds and pepitas though them. As the original recipe included a small amount of white chocolate chips, I threw them in, but they would be fantastic even with dark chocolate or even without chocolate at all.
The verdict, my husband enjoys them, which is a win for dry fruits in his books. They are small portion sizes, but pack a punch. If you like to reach for a snack bar or a granola bar during the day, I suggest trying these out. They are very satisfying and will keep the hunger pangs away till your next meal. They take all of 10 minutes hands on time. So even if you are time poor, you can still make a batch of these on your day off and enjoy them through the week. Kids will enjoy them too. Go ahead, give them a try. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think of them.
Date, Apricot & Chia Bars
Recipe from: Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Yields: 16 pieces (2 inch squares)
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup dried apricots
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds / pepitas
2 tbsp white chocolate chips (optional)
Line an 8×8 inch baking dish or tray with baking paper.
Place the dates, apricots, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz till it has coarsely broken down.
Add the pepitas to the processor and blitz again till the pepitas have broken down to finely chopped.
Now add the chocolate chips, if you’re using them and blitz again to break them up to little pieces.
Empty this mix onto the lined baking dish and flatten it down as best as you can, using the back of a spoon.
Next, I used another piece of baking paper on the top and used a large glass jar to flatten it out evenly. You can also use the bottom of a pan or a similar sized baking dish to do this after you place the baking paper on top.
Refrigerate for an hour.
Cut into squares. They are now ready to eat.
To store these bars, place a piece of baking paper between the squares to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
You now have little snack bars that will take you through the week.
So as you can imagine, I had a heck of a task picking one recipe for the reveal. Along with the creamy mints, the shortlist also comprised of her Cheesy Potato Soup with Ham, Marshmallows, Gnocchi, Churros and Banana Bars, among many others that caught my eye. Well, you’ve probably guessed by now that I made the Banana bars with a Cream Cheese Frosting. The fact that I had 4 bananas slightly past their prime sitting on my counter, helped a lot in the decision making process. So I went with it and was very happy with the outcome. The recipe for the bars and the frosting is super easy to put together and is absolutely delicious. The banana bar base is moist and flavourful and honestly, I could eat it just like that without the frosting or anything. But for all you cream cheese frosting lovers out there, you’ll be happy to hear that the frosting takes it to a whole other level of deliciousness. These bars keep very well too. We had these as tea time treats and I might or might not have had a couple of these as dessert after lunch on my days off 😉 I simply covered them with cling film and refrigerated them and took them out of the fridge and placed them on the kitchen counter about an hour before eating them and it lasted about a week. It might have lasted longer, but we’d happily devoured it by then.
I stuck to the original recipe. Only difference is I used 4 bananas instead of 3, since I wanted to use all 4 bananas that I had. Also, you’ll see from Kate’s pictures (which are so much prettier that mine will ever be) that I used a different sized pan. She recommends a 9″x13″ pan. I used a 9″x9″ since that’s all I had. So I cut my bars into smaller sizes, since they would be a lot thicker than hers.
Yields 16 pieces
For the bars –
4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Heat the oven to 180ºC and grease the baking pan.
Peel and mash the bananas in a large bowl.
Mix in the sugar, oil and eggs till well combined.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Pour into a the prepared baking pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes or till done. (Note this was because I used a smaller pan resulting in thicker bars. If you are using a 9″x13″ pan, the bars will be thinner and you’ll need to start checking to see if its done around the 20 minute mark.)
Cool the bars completely before frosting.
While the bars are cooling, you can make the frosting.
For the Cream Cheese frosting –
3 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
A splash of vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
Beat the cream cheese and butter till well combined.
Add the vanilla and the icing sugar half a cup at a time and beat between additions till you get the desired consistency. I ended up using the whole 3 cups.
To assemble –
When the banana bread has cooled through completely, spread the Cream Cheese frosting over the top.
Cut into bars / squares.
Coming back to today’s post, I decided to try out Colleen’s Cinnamon Bars. I’m not too sure if they’re supposed to be softer like a blondie or crisper like a cookie. Mine ended up more on the crisper side like a cookie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, just curious. Either way, the kitchen smelled wonderful while these were baking. These bars tasted wonderful. We absolutely loved them. The original recipe calls for pecans and I wanted to use almonds, but ended up using walnuts. I can’t wait to see what these will be like with almonds. I know I’ll be making these every now and then. Maybe the next time I’ll try baking them for a slightly shorter while and see what they turn out like. Maybe I’ll add some chocolate chips or even drizzle them with melted chocolate. The possibilities seem endless. All I know is that I’ve found a good base recipe and I intend keeping it. Thank you Colleen.
Nutty Cinnamon Bars
This week I bring to you a treat like none I’ve ever tasted before. I’ve heard of love at first sight, but for me this was love at first bite, literally. The only thing I remember thinking as I savored every bite of this was “OH MY GOODNESS!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! And you know what, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t going crazy. My husband also thought this was one of the best treats we’d eaten ever. That is the highest honor and treat can every get in my home. And mind you, these little devious treats are addictive. For the fist time in a very long time, I found myself thinking of these bars every now and then and it took massive restraint to keep from wolfing these down.
Here is the pan straight out of the oven. Its best to wait till this has cooled down completely before cutting into it, atleast a few hours. I’ve realized that if you cut it while its warm, you’ll have a little trouble cutting them clean as well as getting them off the foil.
After patiently waiting and trying not to go insane while waiting, here’s what it looks like all cut up –
Do you wanna take a peek and see what the insides look like? Get ready … here it comes.
Triple Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from: Nigella Lawson
350g dark chocolate
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
225g all-purpose flour
100g chocolate chips (I use a mix of about 70g dark chocolate chips and 30g white chocolate chips)
Melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat this completely melted.
Cool the mix down and in the meanwhile preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Add the 4 eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Add the vanilla and salt (I use salted butter and just a tiny pinch of salt) and sugar and mix well.
Add the flour and mix till incorporated.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Line a baking dish with aluminium foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. This makes is easy to get the brownies out of the pan and also makes cleaning a cinch.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Do not overbake. When you see some cracks appearing on the top of the batter, you’ll know they are done.
Cool completely and cut into pieces.
Check out the other entries this week.
To commemorate this milestone, I’ve made Lemon Bars. I’ve wanted to try them out for the longest time and now I can proudly say I have. It was surprisingly simple to put together. I think I might’ve overcooked these a tad (I halved the original recipe but forgot to adjust the time, duh!), but they were still so very delicious, it took every ounce to will power to stay away from them. These have flown straight to the top of my favorite dessert list. I’m gonna hold on to this recipe and most certainly make them again and again and then again. You get the idea. The zested peel adds so much zing to these bars, I’m sure they wouldn’t be the same without them. Did I mention how much I loved them?
Here’s what the insides look like –
… full of lemony goodness!
Adapted from: A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
(I halved the recipe to get 12 bars, but am publishing the whole recipe below – should yield 24 large pieces)
For the crust –
1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
For the lemon filling –
3 cups sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
Additional icing sugar to dust over the bars
Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Line a 9″*13″ pan with some greased baking paper. I would suggest leaving an overhand to help pulling it out of the tray. I’m definitely doing that the next time I make these.
To make the crust –
Mix the butter, flour and sugar till well combined. If you’re using unsalted butter, please add a pinch of salt.
Spread this dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until set and just beginning to turn color.
To make the filling –
Prepare the filling while the crust is baking.
Using an electric whisk at medium speed, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.
Pour this mix over the baked crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown. Don’t overbake or underbake it either. If underbaked, the lemon filling won’t set.
Let it cool completely.
Cut into bars and sift icing sugar over the top.
Farm girls says they keep well on the kitchen counter for a few days, but I refrigerated mine and it kept well. The only thing I did was take it out about 10 minutes before serving, to let it come to room temperature a little.
Whatever storage you choose, if it lasts till then, get ready to drown in some pure citrus heaven. Its simply sunshine on a plate!
This recipe calls for almond paste and in this part of the world we don’t get this stuff off the shelf in stores. I did a little digging online and most sources called for additional sugar, eggs, extracts and so on. I decided to do things a little differently. Since the recipe for these bars seemed to have sufficient sweetness, I simply added some homemade almond paste (details below). The batter came together beautifully and while these bars were baking, I was going nuts with the anticipation (read ‘doing a crazy dance all around the kitchen and eagerly peeking through the oven door almost every minute’). The wait and the anticipation was so worth it. These bars are a real treat. They are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. They are not too sweet but have this lovely nutty richness that the butter and the almonds have to offer. They are so wonderfully moreish. Be warned, you won’t be able to stop at one. So thank you Jeanie for sharing this lovely treat. This recipe is a definite keeper.
In a nutshell, try it out. Good stuff, I tell ya.
This is what the inside edges look like –
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Adapted from: The Flour Sack
For the Brownie base:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Swirl:
8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
Preheat your oven to 160ºC.
Butter an 8″ square pan
For the brownie base, whisk the flower and baking powder in a small bowl and keep aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. When the chocolate has melted completely, remove from the heat and whisk in sugar and vanilla.
Cool slightly. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition.
Continue whisking till the mixture is well incorporated and smooth.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients and mix till just barely incorporated.
For the cream cheese layer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk till well combined.
Pour half the brownies base batter into the pan. Dollop half the cream cheese mixture by the spoonfuls. Repeat by layering the brownie base over it and then dollop the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Use a butter knife and gently swirl the batter to give a marbled effect.
Bake till the edges of the brownies have puffed slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with several fudgy crumbs attached to it. This should take about 55 minutes.
Cool completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!
(Note: I halved the recipe and used a 6″ square pan and I got 9 pieces.)
These little wonders are originally called Breakfast Bars, but I honestly think they’re great at any time of the day. Its a wonderful healthy alternative to other fried snacks and chips. The texture is a little chewy and the flavors are wonderful – it has the tartness of the cranberry, wonderful sweetness (though its not too sweet) of the condensed milk, the crunch of assorted nuts and a whole lot more. Whats great is that you can tweak this recipe and make it your own. Try out different ingredients, vary the dry fruit and the nuts to your liking and I’m sure you’ll find a combination that works best for you. They are great for a quick breakfast, almost like having home-made granola on the go. These bars are a great snack to take in to the office as well, to satiate any untimely hunger pangs.
In the recipe that follows, you’ll find the ingredients that I used, basically ingredients that I had on hand at the time. You can find the original recipe here. They may not be much to look at, but they are oh so good. Be warned, they are addictive ;o)
Power Packed Snack Bars
Adapted from: Nigella
1 can condensed milk (400g)
250g rolled oats (not instant)
75g dessicated coconut
100g dried cranberries
200g mixed seeds (I used walnuts, almonds and sesame seeds)
Preheat the oven to 130 degrees C. Grease a 23cm x 33cm x 4cm baking tray or use a disposable foil one. Grease it well so that you can take it off the pan easily.
Over a low flame, warm the condensed milk in a large pan. The pan should be large enough to hold all the ingredients and still have room for mixing.
Mix the remaining ingredients together and fold into the warm condensed milk. Using a rubber or wooden spatula, fold till evenly coated and well distributed.
Turn the mixture out on to the prepared baking sheet and press down and flatten with the spatula or using your hands. Even out the surface.
I kept mine in the oven for about 45 minutes, even though the original recipe says 1 hour, and it turned out just fine. After about 15 minutes cut into bars of whatever size you’d like. Be sure to cut while still warm, or else, you won’t be able to. After you’ve cut the bars leave it to cool completely before storing.
This recipe has been linked up with – Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent Saturday Party, hosted by the lovely Maggie of Ceo A’s Draiocht. Thanks Maggie for letting me be a part of this.