The Dangerous Bars

Dangerously Delicious Bars
“Why dangerous?” you may ask. “They can’t be that bad for you, right?”

They’re not!

“So then what’s with the overly dramatic title?”

I have these ingredients on hand 99% of the time.
ALL the ingredients.
And these bars are so fast to throw together that you can basically have them done before you give it a second thought.

Dangerous.

“Yeah, but I’m not a food blogger. I don’t have fancy ingredients around 24/7. I’m not in any danger.”

I see.

You don’t have things like…
Dangerously Delicious Bars
Butter?

Dangerously Delicious Bars
How about brown sugar and vanilla?

Dangerously Delicious Bars
Oats?

Dangerously Delicious Bars
No uh, chocolate chips? Peanut butter?

Do you see what I mean?!?

Dangerously Delicious Bars
And friends? These babies are good. Like made 5 times in the last month good.

I took these bars to my son’s school for Parent Teacher night, and I was stopped in the hallway twice by someone who wanted the recipe!

Dangerously Delicious Bars
Layers of crumble…

Dangerously Delicious Bars
Chocolate…

Dangerously Delicious Bars
Followed by more crumble.

I swoon!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Makes 1 9×9 inch pan

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oats (quick cooking works best)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the oats and stir until everything is moistened. Turn heat to low and continue to stir this mixture until the chocolate is ready.

At the same time, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent the chocolate from burning. When the mixture is completely melted and smooth, remove the pan from the heat.

Pour just over half of the oat mixture into the 9×9 pan. Use a spatula to spread and compress the oats. I used a sheet of parchment and pressed the mixture down with my hands. When you have a smooth surface, pour the chocolate over top, and use your spatula to spread and smooth the chocolate. Carefully drop the remaining oats over top to create clumps.

Freeze the pan for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight. Allow it to sit out at room temperature to make the bars easier to cut.

And while you’re at it, you might as well make a double batch and keep one in the freezer.
You know, for emergencies.

Chia Cookies

Chia Cookies
Sometimes* I get these cravings.

*Who am I kidding? Always!*

Serious, serious cravings. For chocolate. Rarely do I crave anything besides chocolate.

Except coffee, grapefruit, and peanut butter.

I pretty much crave these things constantly. I’m sure I’m not lacking nutrients found in chocolate, it’s completely mental. What evs, dude. I like chocolate!

I have the most epic chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe ever, but it’s kind of an involved process.

These cookies, however, are very similar in texture and chocolatey goodness, but they come together in a snap.

So when it’s 7:30 on a school night, and I NEED some tasty morsels, I can whip these up and be in bed by 9:00.

As an added bonus, these cookies have chia seeds.
Chia Cookies

So we can basically call these healthy. Even though they’re chocolate chip cookies.

I love sound reasoning.

Chia Cookies

Chia Cookies

Chia Cookies
Lined up and ready for consumption!

These cookies taste best on the day that they’re made, but they’ll keep pretty well in an air tight container for a few days.

Chia Cookies
from YummyMummyKitchen.com

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips with excellent results)

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix together the oats, baking powder, flour and chia seeds.
In a stand mixer or with a beater, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the peanut butter, eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.
Add the oat mixture to the butter mixture, and add the desired amount of chocolate chips. Mix until well combined (with a wooden spoon or your hands).
Scoop dough onto stoneware pans or lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Serve warm with coffee (or grapefruit or peanut butter ;)) or milk.

So! What do you crave?

Chocolate Cups

Chocolate Cups

This recipe has chocolate in it.
Chocolate Cups

It also has eggs.
Chocolate Cups

You don’t bake it in the oven.
Chocolate Cups

But it won’t kill you. Or even make you sick.

Because it also has coffee in it.
Chocolate Cups

HOT coffee!

The hot coffee cooks the eggs for you. No worries.

Chocolate Cups
Look at me, being all fancy and stuff. Like I do it every day or something.

Chocolate Cups

Chocolate Cups

Chocolate Cups
And then a dollop of whipped cream or whipped coconut milk makes them even fancier.

Ok, so here’s where I need your help. The Pioneer Woman calls these “Pots de Creme.” When I served them to my friends I called them “Chocolate Mousse.” However, both pots de creme and chocolate mousse have cream or milk involved.

So what is it really? Is this custard? Is the Pioneer Woman correct? Did I lie to my friends?

Help!

Ambiguous Chocolate Cups
from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6

12 ounces chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsps vanilla
pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1 cup HOT coffee (too hot to drink)

Place chocolate, room temperature eggs, vanilla and salt into a food processor. Start blending ingredients. As the processor is still running, carefully pour coffee into the mixture. Blend until smooth.
Pour the chocolate into individual serving dishes, or one bowl that you will serve from. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving with whipped cream or whipped coconut milk.

Pumpkin Pie

How do you know when something’s deliciously awesome?

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When there are no leftovers.

Remember the homemade pumpkin puree?
I mixed it with this stuff
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Then added more stuff
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And then poured it into a pie crust.
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It became something serious.
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Something warm and seasonal.
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Just in time for Thanksgiving!
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Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Eating Well

1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
14 oz can low fat sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 unbaked pie crust

First prepare your pie crust. Did you know: If you roll out your pie crust between two sheets of plastic wrap, you don’t have to flour your rolling surface and rolling pin? It also sticks together and won’t crack!! Why didn’t I know this?!

Preheat your oven to 425F.
Mix the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and salt together in a bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and eggs, mix until smooth. It will be pretty runny, but that’s perfect. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, lower the temperature of your oven to to 350F and bake until set, 35-45 more minutes (my oven gets tired partway through and stops baking. It might only take your pie another 30 minutes to set, so just keep an eye on it).
I had to cover the crust with foil pretty early on to keep it from burning, but after that it was just a matter of letting the center bake completely. You’ll know it’s done when the entire top of the pie has darkened and the center isn’t very jiggly. You can also do the knife/skewer test, but I didn’t want to put a hole in the top of my pie.

Serve this still slightly warm, or chilled if you’re baking this ahead of time. Make sure to whip some cream to go along with your pie!

P.S. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Do you go totally classical and have turkey, mashed potatoes, etc? Or are you a rebel and do something like lamb-stuffed squash? How about the vegetarians–any mint quinoa or paella? Help me plan my Thanksgiving!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

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These are a very special treat.
That I’ve been making just about weekly this month.

Let me explain.

I’m spacey. Flighty. Some may say forgetful, I say I just get excited sometimes.

So excited that I forget to take pictures.
And then I forget to take pictures of the final product when I make them again.

So, third time’s the charm, right?
And may I just say how sad it is that I’ve just had to make these treats three times.

So, so sad.

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
Serves 16, overnight freezing recommended

1 cup butter (just cooler than room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oats, ground into flour (I’ve used blenders and food processors to grind, both work well)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 or 2 pints of your favorite flavors of ice cream

Preheat oven to 375F. Cream butter and both sugars, then add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. I like to mix the baking powder and baking soda into the batter before the flour, just to make sure they get incorporated fully. Add the flour and ground oats, then the chocolate chips. Mix fully until everything is evenly disbursed.

Scoop cookie dough onto stoneware pans or cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through if you’re using two racks. Allow cookies to cool completely!!
Place one cookie upside down on a sheet of plastic wrap. Drop a small scoop of ice cream on top, then spread it gently with a butter knife. Place another cookie on top, and then wrap with the plastic wrap. Continue until all the cookies are gone (or you realize it’s 10:30 and you have to work the next day).
Allow sandwiches to freeze overnight or at least a few hours before serving.

And because I worked so hard to get the step by step pictures, here they are!

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Butter + sugar = magic

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Oats becoming

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oat flour

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Workin’ the dough

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I did not eat the dough. Much.

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Big Dipper coffee ice cream. Possibly the best ice cream on the planet!

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So, how has your August been?

Not so much a recipe…

More of a “why have I not been doing this for years?” post.

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Remember back when I made caramel sauce? For some strange reason, I haven’t made it since then.  I know, right!?

The other day, I decided to make caramel sauce.  I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but it sounded lovely.  And come on, like I wouldn’t be able to figure out what to do with it?

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I’d also been pouring the leftover coffee into an ice tray and freezing it in the off hand chance I’d have time to make iced coffee.

See where I’m going?

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I didn’t have time to cold brew, so I made coffee in the french press, poured it into a pitcher, and let it rest in an ice bath.

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Once it was chilled, I took the caramel sauce and drizzled it in some glasses.
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Totally fancy, I know.

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Then I added the coffee cubes,

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my favorite creamer,

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then the coffee. I used the caramel drizzling spoon to give it a little stir, and voila!

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Lovely. Like Starbucks, only waaaaaaaay cheaper. And closer. To my mouth. Mmmhmmm.

For this batch, I didn’t let the coffee cool enough, so the caramel drizzles disappeared when I poured the coffee in. I got it right the next time, though. When drank through a straw, you’ll get little caramel bombs of delicious. And if you want to be suuuper fancy, blend the coffee, coffee cubes and creamer for a frappuccino. There’s no way you’ll regret that.

So, now that I have the power of delicious iced coffee, you’ll find me out in my back yard, chillin’ with a book and sippin’ on love. You should try it too. Then call me.

Pioneer Woman’s Caramel Sauce

4 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp course grained sea salt (optional)

Combine butter, brown sugar, half and half and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently, but pretty constantly, for 5-7 minutes. Add vanilla and cook for another minute or so, allowing the sauce to thicken before removing it from the heat. Pour the sauce into a container (glass jars rock) and refrigerate until cold and thick. If you like salted caramel, add in the 1/2 tsp of course sea salt once the caramel is completely chilled, just before serving.