No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

This summer has been a hot one! I haven’t wanted to turn on the oven at all (can you blame me?) because we don’t have air conditioning. Every time I turn on the oven, the whole house heats up and becomes some sort of hellish heat-sink.

These are a great alternative to a baked dessert. They don’t take a lot of time to whip up, and they are delicious, and simple. Mine didn’t turn out exactly like the original post, because I overestimated the amount of oatmeal, and put a bit too much on the bottom, so there was a thin layer of oatmeal on the top.

I’m not going to waste your time in this heat wave! Go make these, because they are easy, quick, and taste amazing!

Ingredients

Yield: 12-16 bars (depending on cut size)

1 c. butter
½ c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. rolled oats
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
¾ c. chunky peanut butter

Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the oats, cinnamon, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat.

Pour half of the oat mixture into the pan, spread out evenly, and press down.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave on 20 second increments, stirring constantly, until smooth and combined. Pour 4/5 of the chocolate mixture over the oatmeal.

Top with the remaining oats, then drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the oats. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set, then slice, and serve.

Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Bars


Hello friends!

I think lately I’ve been baking as a form of procrastination. I have a lot of school work to do, and I don’t always want to do it. (But I always get it done, don’t worry!) Every once in a while, lately on weekends, I’ve been deciding to bake up a storm. These sugar cookie bars came about on a bit of a whim, and I’m so glad they did!


Chocolate and mint is not for everyone, but Paul and I are huge fans! The nice thing about these bars is they don’t take very long to mix up. Call me a simple woman, but I’m all about things that don’t have me spending all day in the kitchen. (I love those recipes too, but I need to be in the mood to make them!)

I found the original recipe here, and while I didn’t have Andes mint bars, I decided to top them off with chocolate chips, because why not. If you are a fan of chocolate and mint together, I guarantee these will hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 24 bars

For the cookie base:

½ c. butter, softened
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
2 c. flour
½ c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the mint frosting:

½ c. butter, softened
½ tsp. mint extract
6 tbsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
4 c. icing sugar
green food colouring (optional)
mint chips/chocolate chips (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until combined. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Beat again.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine evenly. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until a cohesive dough is formed.

Press dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 14-15 minutes. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, mint extract, and heavy cream together until smooth and fluffy. Add in the salt, icing sugar, and food colouring and beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread over cooled bars and garnish as desired. Slice into squares and serve!

Nanaimo Bar Tart


Well, another original recipe. This recipe came about quite suddenly. Paul and I had been talking about tortes and tarts, and my mind just started wandering when Paul went to work.

I wondered if a Nanaimo Bar Tart could possibly work, and started thinking…. I took a shortbread recipe for the crust, and changed it up a bit, as well as using the custard powder and turning it into a thick custard, topping it off with a smooth chocolate topping.


I threw it all in the fridge to set up. That was the hard part – waiting for it to set to make sure that everything tasted good and worked together. However, the waiting and experimentation paid off, because WOW did taste good!

The tart turned out very good, but very rich, and already I’m cursing the slightly-bigger-than-normal piece that I cut for myself and finished with gusto because it was just THAT good. Either way, if you are a Nanaimo Bar fan, then this tart should be right up your alley!

Enjoy an original recipe! 🙂

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-9 inch tart

For the tart shell:

1 c. butter
1¼ c. flour
¾c. coconut
½ c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa

For the custard layer:

¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. custard powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. sugar
2½ c. milk

For the chocolate layer:

½ c. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour, coconut, sugar, and cocoa. Mix together until combined, and press into the tart pan and up the sides, trying to make as uniform and even as possible.

Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, and set aside to cool while making the filling.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the custard powder and sugar, then gradually pour in the vanilla and milk while whisking to create a cohesive sauce with no lumps. Whisk over a medium heat until a full boil and the custard thickens, whisking frequently. Once the custard thickens, pour into the cooled tart shell and let thicken and cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate chips and melt on short bursts, combining until smooth.

Once the custard has thickened more, and formed a skin on top, pour the chocolate over top of the tart and even out, being careful not to mix the custard into the chocolate.

Let cool and set completely, in the fridge or on a wire rack, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Salted Caramel Apple Bars

image

These are absolutely amazing. Homemade salted caramel, layered on top of an oat crust, a thick layer of fresh apples, and a crumbly shortbread crust. I really don’t have to do much to sell these, because they really sell themselves.
image

These were the other snack I made a few weeks ago when I had a couple friends over to craft. They disappeared extremely fast. The plus side: the salted caramel made so much, I had enough to drizzle generously over all the bars, and I also had extra! I’m planning on making brownies (the triple chocolate brownies I featured on the blog) and drizzling the rest of the caramel over the top before I bake them, because why not? Salted Caramel brownies sound amazing to me.

As a note, (and this should be a given considering the delicate art that is baking), please make sure you have read through the directions, especially for the caramel. Caramel is such a finicky thing to make, you really need to keep your eye on it. It can overcook and burn in an instant. If you have the directions right with you and you know them well, you will be fine!

On to the treats!
image

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8 x 8 pan

For the salted caramel:

1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pieces
½ c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tsp. kosher salt

For the crust:

½ c. melted butter
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 c. flour

For the filling:

2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

For the streusel:

½ c. old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. flour
¼ c. butter

To make the caramel, heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir constantly while adding the butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool down before using. Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using. While the caramel is cooling, prepare the bars.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a medium bowl, combined all crust ingredients and stir until well combined. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel.

To make the filling, combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl and toss until all apples are evenly coated.

For the streusel, whisk together the oats, sugar, flour, and cinnamon together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

To assemble, remove the cooked crust from the oven, and evenly layer the apple slices on top. Sprinkle the streusel over top of the apples, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until streusel is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 20 minutes, or to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely. Once chilled, cut, drizzle caramel over bars, warm, and serve.

Rhubarb Bars

image

So, I had a couple of friends over the other day, and we spent the day just hanging out, relaxing, watching movies, drinking tea, eating some baked goodies, and crafting. It was great. This was one of the things that I made. I was quite nervous that these bars wouldn’t turn out, because I had to bake them almost double the recommended time. Saying that, though, my oven runs cool, and new recipes are always needing little tweaks here and there.

I bought a bunch of rhubarb from a local farmer’s market a few weeks ago, then brought it home and froze it. It’s been burning in the back of my mind since I got it because I wanted to make another rhubarb recipe, but I had no strawberries left for pie. This was the perfect choice.
image

It has a light, shortbread-like crust, topped with a custard flecked with tons of rhubarb. I was also afraid that the tartness of the rhubarb would be completely overpowering, but this wasn’t the case at all, and I was so happy. The rhubarb still had it’s signature tart bite, but it was totally calmed down by the custard and the shortbread all baking together. These bars, while not the most pretty, and definitely not the cleanest slice, are definitely a winner.
image

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 pan, about 16-24 bars, depending on size

For the crust:

1½ c. flour
¾ c. butter, cold and cubed
¼ c. icing sugar

For the custard filling:

3 eggs, beaten
2 c. sugar
½ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
4 c. rhubarb, cleaned and diced

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat into the pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until light golden brown.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt. Gently fold in the rhubarb. Pour in the rhubarb mixture over the hot crust, and spread evenly around pan.

Reduce heat to 325°F, and bake for 30-35 minutes until set. Bake longer if needed. Centre of bars should be just set, no longer jiggly.

Remove from oven and cool before serving.