Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Date Pecan Bars

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One of the worst things you can ask a baker to do is to make a recipe and then leave it alone, but trust me when I say that leaving these bars for a couple of days and giving them some space just might be the best thing you can do for them. The flavor soaks into everything, the topping solidifies and the result is a rich, nutty bar that I literally could not stop eating. (That is, of course, once I gave myself the chance.)

Date Pecan Bars (makes 36)

1 c. dates, chopped

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. butter or margarine

3/4 c. boiling water

1/4 c. dark rum (or 2 tsp., 10 mL rum flavoring plus 1/4 c. water)

1 egg

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Place dates in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir a bit to distribute. Add butter and boiling water. Continue to stir until butter has melted. Add rum, stir and set aside.

In small bowl beat egg, sugar and vanilla together well. Pour into date mixture. Measure in flour and baking powder. Stir well. Spread in greased 9×9-inch pan. Bake in 350F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with topping. Return to oven.

Topping:

1 c. brown sugar, packed

3 tbsp. butter or margarine

3 tbsp cream

1 c. chopped pecans

Crumble all ingredients together in bowl. As soon as you take squares out of the oven, spread over the top and return to oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool. Cover with tight plastic or foil and put on an out of the way shelf in your cupboard so it can mellow out for a day or two.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. For more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Midnight Mints

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Someone just told me that Nanaimo Bars are a Canadian thing (supposedly they were originally named for the place where they were invented- Nanaimo, B.C.). Am I a bad baker for not knowing this? Or a bad Canadian? Is this actually true? (Someone on the Internets please confirm. I’m dying to know.)

I’ve also read that Nanaimo Bars may also be called Millionaire Bars in the U.K. Is this also true? Are they the same thing?

No matter. I’ve always loved nanaimo bars and I love this minty version even more, especially because it was the one my mom used to make for the holidays when I was younger. Chocolate and mint is definitely a winning combination, which is why these bars win the award for baked goods that flew out of my house the fastest. (Thank goodness for hungry neighbors! They were gone in less than an hour.)

It sparked an interesting conversation among a few of us in the building on which families grew up eating the minty kind, and which families veered towards the more traditional recipe. I think both taste great, but you be the judge. Obviously, in this case, I’m very biased.

Midnight Mints (makes 36)

Bottom Layer

1/2 c. butter or margarine

1/4 c. granulated sugar

5 tbsp cocoa

1 egg, beaten

1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

3/4 c. fine coconut

 

Middle Layer

1/3 c. butter or margarine

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp peppermint flavoring

2 c icing sugar

green food coloring

 

Top Layer

2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

 

To make the bottom layer, combine butter, sugar and cocoa in saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil. Stir in egg to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Pack very firmly into greased 9×9-inch pan.

To make the middle layer, combine butter, milk, flavoring and icing sugar in bowl. Beat together well. Tint a pretty green. Spread over first layer.

To make the top layer, melt chocolate chips and butter in saucepan over low heat or hot water. Spread over second layer. Chill and store covered in refrigerator. This will keep well and will also freeze well. Cut into squares.

B’s Tip: These bars keep up to a week in the fridge but are probably best eaten within 2-3 days (if there’s any leftover!)

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. For more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Butterscotch Bars

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Do you find yourself scrambling to figure out what to make leading up to the Christmas holidays? Me too. It’s not so much a mater of not knowing what to serve- it’s having to pick and choose! There are so many tasty ideas for holiday foods out there- but what really gets me going is all that Christmas baking.

Part of my background is Swedish so holiday baking is a huge must in our family. It’s a tradition every year around Christmastime to bake seven different kinds of cookies. Why this is a tradition I have no idea but I can’t complain- I love to bake and I love to eat, so everybody wins as far as I’m concerned!

As we begin our countdown to Christmas, I’ll be sharing seven of some of my favorite cookie recipes so that you can get some ideas on what to bring- and what to eat- at your upcoming holiday dinner.

First up are these nummy butterscotch bars which I’m convinced should be a staple in every baker’s repertoire not just for the holidays, but all year round. Definitely a crowd-pleaser!

Butterscotch Bars (makes 36)

Bottom Layer:

whole graham crackers

 

Middle Layer:

3/4 c. butter or margarine

2/3 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs

 

Top Layer:

1 1/2 c. icing sugar

3 tbsp butter or margarine

1 1/2 tbsp water

1/2 tsp vanilla

Line ungreased 9×9-inch pan with whole graham crackers, trimming to fit. Combine butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in large saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crumbs before pouring over crackers in the pan. Cover with layer of whole crackers, trimming to fit.

While the squares are cooling, beat together ingredients for icing in a small bowl. Add more water or icing sugar until mixture is spreadable, not runny. Use to ice squares once fully cooled. Cut into 36 squares and enjoy!

B’s Tip: This recipe keeps up to one week in the fridge and tastes even better once you’ve let it sit for a couple of days.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. For more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.