blondies

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate | 0 comments

These delicious Hazelnut Praline Bars are a lot like praline candy, but it fantastic bar form.

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

The top of these bars caramelizes. These things are very sweet, with the nuts rendered softly crunchy. The combination of textures is just divine.

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

The slight drizzle of chocolate on top is the perfect accent, too. Funny how the tiniest bit of chocolate adds so much in terms of flavor.

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

A 6 ounce bag of hazelnuts will be the perfect amount for both the crust and nut layer, too.

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

Can you use other nuts? I haven’t tried it in this recipe, but why not? Praline candy traditionally uses pecans, after all. I bet using other nuts–or a combo–would be fine.

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

Hazelnuts are sure delicious and fun, though!

 

Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

These very sweet, softly crunchy bars combine hazelnuts with just a touch of chocolate for a delectable treat. A 6-ounce bag of hazelnuts will give you the perfect amount.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: bars, chocolate, hazelnuts
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • 13x9 pan
  • food processor
  • small saucepan

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened, 1 1/2 sticks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Nut Layer

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 13 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed

Topping

  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.
  • Place the 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor. Process until finely ground.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the next two crust ingredients, the brown sugar and butter. Add the flour and ground hazelnuts. Press crust into pan; a piece of wax paper and a heavy glass makes it easy to form an evenly compressed layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, put the remaining hazelnuts in the food processor and give them a quick pulse, just to coarsely chop them.
  • As soon as the crust comes out, sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top. In a small saucepan, warm the butter and brown sugar to boiling at medium heat. Boil for a minute. Pour over hazelnuts.
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until edges are bubbling and center is set. Cool completely.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, zap the chocolate in 25 second bursts, stirring well between each pass, until it can be stirred smooth. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
  • Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set. Use the foil to lift contents onto a cutting board and slice into bars.
  • Store in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge with waxed paper or parchment between the layers.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    Posted by on Jan 8, 2020 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, british, chocolate | 0 comments

    Millionaire Shortbread. Gorgeous. Delicious. A little bit of extra effort to make, but SO WORTH IT.

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    I wanted to concoct the best-possible Millionaire Shortbread. This involved strenuous testing of recipes. Much baking. Much reliance on test subjects (husband and his co-workers).

    The resulting feedback? I wrote it down.
    “This shortbread is enjoyed, and feared.”
    “To call them excellent would be an insult to your wife.”

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    So yeah. The test subjects approved. I personally would rank this up there with my best all-time bakes, because it really combines the best of everything.

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    The shortbread layer is firm yet soft. THEN THAT CARAMEL. It is thick, luscious, and sweet. The chocolate provides the perfect balance, especially with the help of some Maldon salt flakes.

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    Do note that the ganache needs to be semisweet chocolate, or an even darker variety. Milk chocolate is just too sweet against that thick caramel. I say that, and I usually prefer milk chocolate.

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    I wish I could say how long this keeps in the fridge, but my test subjects were a bit too voracious to provide perspective on that point.

     

    Bready or Not Original: Millionaire Shortbread

    This Millionaire Shortbread is pure rich indulgence, and so worth the extra effort to make!
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: British
    Keyword: bars, chocolate, cookies
    Author: Beth Cato

    Ingredients

    Shortbread Crust

    • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 cubes, softened
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Caramel

    • 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
    • 14 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
    • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    Chocolate Ganache

    • 11 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
    • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick
    • Maldon sea salt flakes for top, optional

    Instructions

    Shortbread base

    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 baking pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.
    • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Follow up with the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Scrape bottom of bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
    • Gradually work in flour along with the salt. Don't overmix. It should still be crumbly. Drop dough into prepared pan and compress into an even layer. (A piece of waxed paper and a heavy glass make this easier.)
    • Bake shortbread layer for 20 to 25 minutes, until edges are turning golden brown. Set pan aside to cool while the next layer is made.

    Caramel

    • In a large saucepan at medium heat, stir together the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Stir constantly as it rises to a boil. Immediately drop heat to low, and continue to stir nonstop for about 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture turns a deep caramel color and thickens up; watch out, the caramel can spit out of the pan at times!
    • Remove pot from heat and promptly stir in vanilla extract and salt.
    • Pour caramel over the shortbread, using an uneven spatula or knife if needed to smooth it into an even layer. Cool pan for several hours until it reaches room temperature, or set in fridge to chill.

    Ganache topping

    • In a microwave-safe bowl (or, alternatively, on the stove top in a pot) melt together the chocolate chips and butter. Once it can be stirred smooth, pour over the caramel. Spread out into an even layer. If desired, sprinkle Maldon sea salt flakes over the top.
    • Chill in fridge to let chocolate harden for at least 30 minutes. Use foil to lift contents of pan onto a cutting board. Let chocolate warm again, just a touch, perhaps for 5 or 10 minutes, before slicing into bars (otherwise, the chocolate will crack rather than be sliced through).
    • Store bars in fridge with waxed paper between layers. Keeps for days.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      Posted by on Nov 20, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, british, cake | Comments Off on Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      I adore famed British baker Mary Berry, one of the original judges on the Great British Bake Off. This British-Style Gingerbread recipe is modified from her cookbook Cooking with Mary Berry.

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      She has published a ton of cookbooks in the UK, but this particular cookbook has the measurements translated to American standards! Click on the picture below to order a copy for yourself–but maybe try my take on one of her recipes first, as it’s a great example of what you’ll find.

      I’ve eaten and baked a number of American-style gingerbread recipe. This one is different in a lot of ways. First of all, the cooking method. It’s prepared on the stovetop, then baked.

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      The end result is tall, spongy, and cakey, with a solid ginger kick. And like chocolate recipes, this gingerbread actually improves after a day, as the flavors become deeper and more complex. Almost coffee-like, though it contains no coffee.

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      Oh yeah, and it’s REALLY REALLY GOOD.

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      The sporadic candied ginger pieces throughout add vivid pops of flavor, in an already ginger-filled cake.

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      This would be especially good paired with tea, coffee, or a good, stout beer (Guinness, in particular, comes to mind).

       

      Bready or Not: British-Style Gingerbread

      This recipe, modified from Baking with Mary Berry, produces a British-style gingerbread cake that is spicier and more complex than the usual American gingerbread. The flavors deepens and improves after a day.
      Course: Breakfast, Snack
      Cuisine: British
      Keyword: cake, gingerbread
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • 9x13 casserole pan

      Ingredients

      • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
      • 1 cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
      • 1 cup molasses
      • 3 cups all-purpose flour
      • 5 teaspoons ground ginger
      • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      • 2 large eggs
      • 3 pieces candied ginger coarsely chopped
      • 1 1/4 cups milk
      • 2 teaspoons baking soda

      Instructions

      • Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Line baking pan with aluminum and apply butter or nonstick spray.
      • In a large pot, warm the butter, sugar, and molasses until it is combined and smooth. Set aside to cool.
      • Mix the flour and spices into the big pot, followed by the eggs and the candied ginger pieces.
      • In a small saucepan, warm the milk--don't boil! Add the baking soda. Pour into the gingerbread mixture and mix together.
      • Pour everything into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. When done, it will be spongy to the touch and pass the toothpick test in the middle.
      • Let cool in pan, either at room temperature or in the fridge. Once cool, use the foil to lift onto a cutting board and slice into bars.
      • Store in a covered dish with waxed paper or parchment between the layers. Flavor will grow deeper and more complex over the next day.

      OM NOM NOM!

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        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        Posted by on Oct 9, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate, pumpkin | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars. Because I will never feature enough iterations of this perfect pairing.

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        Yeah, every year I do a new take (or a couple) on this lovely Voltron-saving-the-galaxy team-up between pumpkin and chocolate. You know why? Because it’s AWESOME. Like Voltron. With a lot less death and destruction.

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        This recipe gets extra oomph from cream cheese, but by no means do these taste like cheesecake bars. Here, the cream cheese adds umami richness rather than straight-out cream cheese flavor.

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        I was amazed by how thick these bars ended up. Really, these are more akin to cake than standard blondies or brownies.

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        Bake these up and brighten someone’s day. You don’t need to summon up Voltron to save a person’s world. Sometimes, baked goods can do the trick.

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        Need more pumpkin X chocolate OTP? Check out past posts on Bready or Not!

        Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
        Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins
        Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake
        Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Shortbread
        Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (2 loaves)

        Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

        This perfectly autumn recipe pairs pumpkin and chocolate with the richness of cream cheese to create thick, moist bars.
        Course: Dessert, Snack
        Keyword: bars, chocolate, cream cheese, pumpkin
        Author: Beth Cato

        Equipment

        • 15x10-x1 jelly roll pan

        Ingredients

        Pumpkin base layer

        • 2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
        • 2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
        • 4 eggs
        • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
        • 1 cup vegetable oil

        Chocolate swirl

        • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
        • 1/3 cup white sugar
        • 1 egg
        • 1 Tablespoon milk
        • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

        Topping

        • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

        Instructions

        Prepare the base layer

        • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15x10x1) with aluminum foil, making sure the edges are covered. Add nonstick spray or grease.
        • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Add the four eggs, the pumpkin, and oil. Pour into the prepared pan.

        Start the chocolate swirl

        • Microwave 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, zapping in short increments and stirring well between each pass, until it is melted. Set aside.
        • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar; it's okay if it's still a little lumpy. Follow up with the one egg, milk, and melted chocolate. Dollop the chocolate mixture atop the pumpkin batter. Use a narrow spatula or butter knife to swirl layers together in a marbled effect. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
        • Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until it looks puffed and the middle passes the toothpick test. Cool on a rack for at least an hour, then chill in fridge before cutting. This will make it easier to cut.
        • Use foil to lift onto a cutting board. Slice into bars then store chilled in a sealed container with waxed paper between stacked layers.

        OM NOM NOM!

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          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          Posted by on Sep 18, 2019 in Blog, blondies, blueberry, Bready or Not, breakfast, cookies | Comments Off on Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          These Easy Blueberry Pie Bars taste like blueberry cobbler in a tidier, more compact form. They are DELICIOUS.

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          Yeah, yeah, I share a lot of good recipes on here, but these are seriously amazing.

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          The recipe is pretty straightforward, too. Make the shortbread crust. Press it down. Bake. Mix up the middle ingredients, folding in the blueberries last. Sprinkle reserved crust on top. Bake. Enjoy.

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          I like that this recipe only requires a pint of blueberries, too. During the summer, I can often find a little 12 ounce clamshell container on sale for under a buck!

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          These bars keep well for as long as three days, maybe longer, in a sealed container in the fridge. They make for a great dessert, but they’d be great for breakfast, too.

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

           

          Bready or Not Original: Easy Blueberry Pie Bars

          A Bready or Not Original. These delicious treats taste like a blueberry cobbler in convenient bar form!
          Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
          Keyword: bars, blueberries, pie
          Author: Beth Cato

          Ingredients

          Crust

          • 2 cups all-purpose flour
          • 3/4 cup white sugar
          • 1/8 teaspoon salt
          • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks

          Filling

          • 2 eggs room temperature
          • 1 cup white sugar
          • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
          • 1/8 teaspoon salt
          • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
          • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
          • 1 pint fresh blueberries 12 ounces

          Instructions

          • Preheat oven at 350-degrees.Line a 9x13 pan with foil and apply nonstick spray.
          • Place flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, and use a knife and fork to chop it into crumbles. Measure out 1 cup of this crumb mixture; set aside.
          • Place the rest of the crust mix into the baking dish. Distribute evenly, then compress into a thin layer; a piece of wax paper and a heavy glass work well for this.
          • Bake for 15 minutes. In the meantime, make the filling.
          • Beat eggs, then add in the sugar, flour, salt, sour cream/yogurt, and vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries.
          • Pour the filling over the prebaked crust. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top.
          • Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and passes the toothpick test.
          • Cool at room temperature, then chill in fridge to set more firmly. Use foil to lift onto a cutting board to slice into bars. Store in sealed container in fridge with waxed paper or parchment paper between layers. Keeps for at least 3 days.
          • OM NOM NOM!
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          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          Posted by on Aug 14, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cookies | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          These Coconut Bars are easy to make and absolutely delicious!

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          I say that, and I don’t typically like coconut. As a kid, I hated all candy bars with coconut. To me, the texture was the problem. It was chewy and dry in a horrible way.

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          In contrast, these bars are chewy in a fantastic way. The shortbread base pairs well with the coconut top.

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          They even look pretty, don’t they? That’s because the recipe holds back a quarter of the coconut to go on top. That way it ends up crisping up in a lovely way.

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          I modified this recipe from Taste of Home Magazine, December 2015, where the original notes describe it as an American take on the Filipino coconut cake called bibingka. I don’t think I’ve ever tried that–if I have, it was like 20 years ago–so I can’t vouch as to how close it is.

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          But what I can say is that this is a fantastic recipe by its own merits. This is the kind of recipe that would be bright and pleasant at the holidays, and also perfect for a summer cook-out.

           

          Bready or Not: Coconut Bars

          This easy recipe results in deliciously chewy Coconut Bars, perfect to indulge in year-round.
          Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
          Keyword: bars
          Author: Beth Cato

          Ingredients

          Crust:

          • 2 cups all-purpose flour
          • 1 cup brown sugar packed
          • 1/2 teaspoon salt
          • 1 cup unsalted butter melted

          Filling:

          • 3 large eggs
          • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk can
          • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
          • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
          • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
          • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
          • 1/2 teaspoon salt
          • 4 cups flaked coconut divided

          Instructions

          • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and apply nonstick spray.
          • In a big bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and salt, followed by the melted butter. Sprinkle into the prepared pan and compress it to form an uneven layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until light brown. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
          • Reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees.
          • In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, flour, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in 3 cups of coconut. Pour atop the crust. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup coconut over the top.
          • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the coconut is turning golden brown.
          • Cool completely at room temperature. Lift onto cutting board using foil; slice contents into bars.
          • OM NOM NOM!
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