Cranberry Coconut Bars

dsc_0081Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope you all had a safe and fun time ringing in 2013. I myself had a rather mellow New Years, which to many would probably be considered boring but considering I am almost due to give birth any day now I certainly can’t be doing any drinking not to mention anything in the party nature. So instead I stuck to my foodie roots and baked the day away, then made some fish for dinner, and closed off the evening with fireworks and a stroll around my calm, slightly brisk Florida neighborhood with the boyfriend. Since many of you out there have already or are currently conjuring up New Year’s resolutions, today’s post is just in time for those deciding to give up guilty pleasures of the sweet variety in order to keep fitness and weight loss resolutions. Sure, it is already the new year but one last splurge won’t hurt right 😉

dsc_0071Now most of you may have a hangover or are extremely tired and lacking any sort of an extensive attention span like myself so I will make sure to keep the notes on this formula brief. To promote optimum texture in these bars, be sure to keep the butter cold by leaving it in the refrigerator until you are just ready to use it. This allows the butter to hold it’s shape while being cut into the flour by the food processor. By using a whipping food processor blade and the cold temperature, the butter is quickly chopped into small bits without overheating and melting, which would result in a less desirable texture for the finished bar crust. These bars can keep in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately three days.

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Cranberry Coconut Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into 5 pieces, kept chilled
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • ¾ cup Shredded Coconut, sweetened

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Allow excess foil to hang over the edges for easy removal later. Grease foil with nonstick cooking spray. Process 1 cup flour and 2 tbsp. sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and pulse until only pea-size bits remain. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until crust is light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. While crust cools, whisk the egg, syrup, extracts, salt, remaining flour, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, and coconut. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Bake until the topping is golden brown and begins to separate from the sides of the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Once cool, use the foil overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MIKE HENDRICKS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

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Carrot Cupcakes

Spring is officially here. The plants are in full bloom, spring breakers are flooding the area, and the Easter holiday is just around the corner. I must say I do love the smell of Orange Blossoms in full bloom, which scents the air of citrus when I walk out my door. It is most definitely the best perk of living outside the city and near the orange groves. The thing I hate most about spring happens to be the spring breaker tourists, which remind me of the long few months ahead of tourists. I shouldn’t much complain about tourists I suppose, as they do keep me busy in business equaling  more hours and a larger paycheck. However I can’t get myself to like the onslaught of invaders crowding the Florida roadways with maps on the steering wheel driving twenty miles under the speed limit looking for the nearest Disney World signs and causing me to leave for work and school hours in advance just to get anywhere on time. Perhaps the best part of spring is Easter as I love all holidays. I love the food, I love the cute Easter bunny toys and bags and chocolates. It is with the Easter bunny in mind that this cupcake has come about. What better way to lure the Easter bunny to your home then with his favorite food inside it… the carrot. Carrot Cake is traditionally…well a cake cut into squares and covered in a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. But in order to make it more accessible for mom or dad err I mean the Easter Bunny to eat on the go after hiding countless Easter eggs and baskets around the house, I present to you the Carrot Cupcake.

These little Easter delights are a mouthful of moist and richly spiced cake with a fluffy sweet cream cheese frosting. The Easter bunny would never know these cupcake versions of the 1970’s cake fad were once considered health food as they are so deliciously satisfying as a junk food treat. By adding chopped walnuts and raisins, they are also more interesting and a bit more eclectic when put against the traditional cake. Even though the Carrot Cupcakes are reminiscent of a bake sale offering for children they are most definitely a grown up treat. So to all the Easter Bunnies out there this year…enjoy a treat designed just for you!!!

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup Flour
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ # Carrots, peeled and grated/processed
  • ½ cup Raisins, chopped
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°. Line a standard sized muffin tin with cupcake liners. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. 
  2. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool frost cakes with a thick and even layer of cream cheese frosting (formula follows).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened but slightly cool
  • 1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened, cut into pieces
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar together until it appears light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition (you should have about four pieces). Add the vanilla and mix gently until no lumps remain.
  2. Using an offset spatula, gently spread a thick layer of frosting over the cooled cupcakes.

Special Thanks To:

Keri Fisher

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012