Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

20170817_163227Next week my oldest daughter starts Pre-K and I will have to leave her side for the first time. I’m not sure who this will be harder on but I’m going to guess it will be me. It has been bittersweet buying her school supplies, uniforms, and picking out a backpack and lunchbox. With all of the school planning going on I thought why not offer an easy to make & packable dessert for kid’s to take in their lunchbox…like a brownie.

20170817_163057Since my daughter likes only a little bit of chocolate I elected to make blondies with peanut butter cups to provide the hint of chocolate she craves without going overboard (not to mention chocolate doesn’t hold up well in the Florida summer heat). I also added some peanut butter chips to the batter to give these blondies a more pronounced peanut butter flavor.

20170817_161115For this recipe I used the mini unwrapped milk chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. They come in both milk or dark chocolate. I prefer the dark chocolate variety, but I know kids often prefer milk chocolate, so to please a wider audience I went with milk chocolate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with dark chocolate if you know everyone you share these with will enjoy the stronger flavor.

It really doesn’t matter if you opt to make these for a school lunch or an adult indulgence, if you love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you will surely love these peanut butter cup blondies!

 

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

 

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 ounces (1 ¼ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (preferably natural)
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter; melted & cooled slightly
  • 2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter Baking Chips
  • Mini Unwrapped Peanut Butter Cups (about 30)

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir well with a whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the peanut butter, butter, milk, vanilla, and eggs. Stir well. Add the peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
  4. Scrape batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Arrange peanut butter cups over batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on a wire rack before serving.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

20170629_102444If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.

As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.

20170629_102431Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)

 

Preparation:

  1. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Boozy Black & Tan Brownies

20170314_183558Happy St. Patrick’s Day! To most Americans (Irish ancestry or not), the day is likely spent sporting green colored clothing, eating corned beef & cabbage, and having an excuse to drink way too much Guinness or Bailey’s. This St. Patty’s Day I chose to make a boozy delight to honor the famous Irish stout, Guinness. These brownies are named after the well-known drink of the same name made up of part Guinness part Lager, however it would be wise to never order this drink in Ireland. If you happen to make that mistake you may be met with a bit of anger as the drink shares the same name as the British soldiers that were sent to Ireland to fight back the Irish rebels in the Easter Rising of 1916.

20170314_183739I will admit these brownies did not turn out quite as planned but rather than hide it I will share it so that others do not make similar mistakes. I expected the brownies to be a bit taller as I used straight from the bottle Guinness as opposed to flat. The problem likely occurred due to my little kitchen helper getting overzealous with the stirring of the batter. My second issue arose completely at the fault of my own. The brownies were not quite the texture I desire of a brownie. They resembled more of a cake-like bar and even seemed as if they were undercooked despite being left in the oven 5 extra minutes than intended. I think this was a result of using a glass baking pan instead of metal. This is only a theory though as it was the only difference compared to when I usually prepare brownies. Regardless of my few errors these were still delicious. Most desserts that claim to be boozy you can never taste the alcohol after it cooks but with these you definitely feel it. Give them a try!

Boozy Black & Tan Brownies

Tan Brownies Ingredients:

  •  6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 ½ cups Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Chopped Walnuts

Black Brownies Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate; finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Guinness Stout
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Salt

Preparation:

  1. Place one oven rack in lower third of oven and move 2nd rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan (preferably metal) with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare tan brownies, place 6 tbsp. butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla. Combine 4.5 oz. flour, baking powder, and ¼ tsp. salt. Add flour mixture and walnuts to sugar mixture, beating until just combined. Spoon into prepared baking pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula or other utensil. Bake for 15 minutes on lower rack.
  3. Meanwhile, to prepare black brownies, melt chocolate and 4 tbsp. butter in a large microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute (or until melted), stirring in 20 second intervals until smooth. Add sugar, stirring until well combined. Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, and Guinness, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Combine flour and salt, stirring well. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Pour mixture evenly over cooked tan layer of brownies, making sure not to spread the batter and combine it with the tan layer.
  4. Bake brownies on center rack for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MARGARET JOHNSON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Bourbon Pecan-Date Bars

20161114_103250Halloween has come and gone in the blink of an eye and now Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Two quintessential Thanksgiving treats found on almost every family’s Thanksgiving table tend to be Pecan or Pumpkin Pie. I try to make one or the other every year and I also like to reinvent old flavors into new favorites. These bars are a re-invention of the traditional pecan pie. In the South, pecan pie traditionally gets spiked with a bit of bourbon but dates are usually not in the mix. The date palm across the street from our house currently dropping fruit gave some inspiration for the non-traditional addition and I must say it was a success.

20161114_103003One thing I dislike about pecan pie (or inspirations derived from it) is the mess. These bars are no different. They are sticky messes of deliciousness so I suppose it is all worthwhile in the end. If you do decide to prepare these keep in mind that they are just as sticky as a pecan pie and they can fall apart like a pecan pie if not allowed to properly set. In order to avoid some of the mishaps that may come from this I have a few simple suggestions. First, plan on making these at least a day in advance. This is beneficial in two ways. The first is that the bars are much easier to cut when they have had a chance to chill. The second is simply saving you time on Thanksgiving to devote to other items you can’t prepare in advance.

20161114_102718Unfortunately, sometimes when we solve one problem we ultimately create another. That is the case with chilling these bars. When they are chilled, they set up properly and allow you to cut them easily and uniformly. However, they are extremely hard to separate from the pan when cold. I do have a solution to this minor issue. Simply make sure that after these bars have cooled completely, run a knife around the outer edge to loosen the bars from the pan but refrain from cutting into portions before chilling. Chill the bars at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. Once fully chilled, you can cut into portions and not struggle to cut the edges from the pan when they are rock solid. The edges should slide away from the pan easily. Enjoy!!!

Skinny Bourbon Pecan-Date Bars

Crust Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ oz. All-Purpose Flour (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup Chilled Butter; cut into small pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ¼ cup Molasses
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup Egg Substitute
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup chopped pitted Dates
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Pecans; toasted
  • Toasted Whole Pecans; for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat an 11 x 7 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the crust, whisk the flour, brown sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter pieces to the bowl and cut in using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture looks like coarse meal. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until crust is light brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. In a large bowl whisk together the corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, egg substitute, flour, bourbon, vanilla, salt, and egg. Stir in the dates and chopped pecans. Pour the filling over the prepared crust. Place the whole pecans on top of the filling to create a presentable pattern. Bake bars for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Use a knife to separate bars from edge of pan. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Bar)

 

bourbonpecandatebarsnutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 5 Smart Points, 3 Points Plus, or 2 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIE GRIMES BOTTCHER
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Apple Cobbler Bars

DSC_0146Whenever the days turn cooler everyone in the house begins craving warm drinks, rich spices, and anything apple. Today was one of those days where it was cool but not freezing, reminding us of a brisk fall day more than chilly winter. Unfortunately, I did not have any apples on hand to make a pie but I did have some dried apples. Dried apples are perfect for apple bars because they do not make the bar too soggy like a fresh apple would. Problem is I love the flavor fresh apples bring to any baked good. To amp up the flavor of the dried apples I turned to a favorite of mine that I always use in my apple turnovers, apple butter. I had some apple butter I had made in the fall from fresh apples still in the refrigerator so I paired that with the dried apples to rehydrate them with the flavors of their fresh counterpart.

DSC_0147I love apple cobbler but it is something you need to sit down and eat from a bowl. I love these bars because it makes apple cobbler portable for our always on the go family. The following recipe yields approximately 24 bars. You can use homemade fresh breadcrumbs or plain store bought breadcrumbs without any noticeable difference. Also make sure you toast the walnuts before you add them into the bars. The toasting helps bring out the nutty flavor and enrich the bars overall.

Apple Cobbler Bars

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup Walnuts; toasted & chopped
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; chilled, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ cup Apple Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Walnuts; toasted & chopped
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Dried Apples, chopped

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil. Be sure to allow excess foil to hang over the sides of the pan to allow an easier lift. Grease the pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. To prepare topping: In a food processor pulse bread crumbs, walnuts, sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon until coarsely ground.
  3. To prepare bar base: In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder. With a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, apple butter, and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture. Continue to mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Scatter the apple slices over the dough. Sprinkle with the crumb topping and bake until the bars are deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the bars completely on a wire rack, at least one hour. Once cooled, use the excess foil to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut the bars into squares and serve. Bars can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for about 3 days.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015

No-Bake Goody Bars

DSC_0093Anything that claims to be no-bake always catches my eye because it is synonymous with quick and easy, two words I enjoy hearing or reading. Being a stay at home mommy I am always looking for things that are quick and easy. Sure I stay home all day but that doesn’t mean I am full of free time. I am constantly doing homework for my college coursework as well as chasing around a very active 21 month old girl, all while trying to combat active Crohn’s Disease, which can sometimes make me want nothing to do with food for extended periods of time. Finding things that are no-bake fit perfectly into my schedule and I’m sure many others who have busy lifestyles. When I am craving something sweet, these bars are quick and take very few ingredients (with most ingredients being pantry mainstays) making them the perfect go-to treat.

DSC_0089If all of that was not enough to entice you into trying these bars, the fact that they taste like a cross between a Rice Krispie Treat and a Baby Ruth should. Peanut lovers will rejoice at these bars that are full of peanut goodness. Not only do these bars use peanut butter but they are also filled with chopped peanuts, making them chewy, crunchy, and all around satisfying.

Since these bars only require six ingredients and are rather simple to make there are not too many warnings to be concerned about. I think the biggest mistake people can make is not greasing the pan liberally enough because these bars are sticky and if you neglect the pan of the grease they need it will surely result in the bars sticking as you try to cut and remove them from the pan. Also be very cautious when melting the chocolate. Melt over a double boiler stirring constantly making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan or melt in a microwave. If you choose to melt in the microwave, do very short intervals and stir a lot to make sure the chocolate melts evenly and does not get overcooked and separate.

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Note: The following makes approximately 24 bars. Store in an airtight container. Bars are best consumed within 2 days of being prepared.

 

No-Bake Goody Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Salted Dry-Roasted Peanuts; chopped
  • 6 cups Cornflakes
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips; melted

 

Formula:

  1. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan very well (I used nonstick cooking spray). In a large pot, bring sugar and corn syrup to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the peanut butter and chopped peanuts, stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the cornflakes and gently stir until the peanut butter mixture is evenly distributed (there should not be any dry cornflakes).
  2. Place the mixture into the greased pan and press evenly across the pan and into the corners with a greased spatula. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars and spread evenly with an offset spatula to cover the entire surface (bars should not show from underneath the chocolate). Allow the bars to cool completely and chocolate to set, approximately 30 minutes. Slice to desired size and serve.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Dreamy Coconut Cookie Cups

20140128_162242Today was a rather dreary day and that made it perfect for staying in and baking. After a relatively busy day yesterday full of appointments revolving around my little one and grocery shopping, I was ready for a mellow day. After making breakfast for my little family I took on a recipe called Dream Bars. I decided to reinvent it into a more convenient, portable treat.

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Sure they may not seem like much but they sure do taste delicious. Surprisingly, despite how simplistic they may appear, these little guys can cause some problems. First off, most of the traditional Dream Bar recipes out there were just too sweet, even for my very forgiving sweet tooth. To overcome this, I wanted to overcome the sweetness with nuts. By toasting the nuts until crunchy, it cut through even the toughest of residual sweetness.

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Perhaps my favorite part of this treat is the coconut topping. Of course my favorite things always end up being the most problematic… go figure!!! Shredded coconut on its own would just dry out, burn, and become gross. To keep the shredded coconut moist and delicious I soaked it in cream of coconut, which not only kept it moist but added richness and the perfect concentration of sugar that results in a caramelized topping without being overly sweet.

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To further balance out the sweetness it is key to dial back the sugar in not only the topping but also the crust. By making the crust thicker and resemble a shortbread cookie instead of the typical thin, weak base, the nuttiness is more prevalent and keeps the sugary topping at bay. Speaking of sugar, I’m sure Domino Sugar would be hating on me for discouraging the over usage of its product since back in the day it was the bar version of this recipe that was used as a marketing tool to sell their sugar to housewives. Sorry Domino, please forgive me 🙂

20140128_162017

I will admit this isn’t my strongest post, but it was never meant to be. It was meant to be an experiment, a way to refresh a recipe created in the Great Depression into something modern for our crazy, hectic world we now reside. It is not glamorous or gourmet. It is homey, practical, and satisfying. Probably why it has stuck around for so many years and had so many back-of-the-box variations. If it made some of the harshest moments of American history a bit more dreamy, than it is okay in my book!!!

Note: Formula yields 18 cookie cups. Cookie cups can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5 days.

Dreamy Cookie Cups

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; cut into pieces & chilled

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup Cream of Coconut
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Pecans; toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crust, process flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into the bottoms of each muffin tin. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Combine the shredded coconut and cream of coconut in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the pecans, then spread over the cooled crusts, dividing evenly among each cookie cup. Dollop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture over the filling and spread into as even a layer as possible.
  4. Bake the cookie cups until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MARIA DEL MAR SACASA

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014