Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Apple Butter Walnut Bars

I have been so remiss in my baking and posting lately. It's not that I've not been cooking. No, I've been trying to cook "heart healthy" thanks to Michael's recently uncovered medical issues. It seems that I just forget to photograph or write about those dishes. At any rate, I'm finally feeling competent enough with our new home menu to get back to baking more regularly. I've got several things in the works over the next couple weeks that I want to try out - including a cocktail that sort of popped into my head just as I dozed off to sleep!

Our first new recipe is a wonderful Apple Butter Walnut Bar that is actually pretty healthy as cookies and sweets go. I've adapted this from a Strawberry Jam Bar recipe in an edition of Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe and included some extra whole grain goodness. I also used my own homemade apple butter (remember our orchard trip last Fall?). If you don't make your own a good store bought variety will do.

We've really enjoyed these and they make a great breakfast "dessert" or mid-morning snack. Think of them like a much better version of your favorite apple cinnamon pop-tarts. These come together very quickly so you can have fresh Apple Butter Walnut Bars ready in a jiffy.

Recipe: Apple Butter Walnut Bars

Description: A great morning pick-me-up or breakfast dessert!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned or rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces diced fine
  • 1 1/2 cup apple butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and line with a parchment sling or one made on nonstick foil. If using parchment grease the paper as well.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir briefly to combine. Drop in cubes of butter and mix on low to medium speed until the mixture resembles a crumble topping. (Note: if you do not have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, do this step in a mixing bowl and use your hands or a pastry blender to cut in the butter.)
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press the rest evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until it is an even golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Spread the apple butter over the warm crust. Sprinkle the walnuts over the jam and top with the reserved crumble mixture. Press the toppings lightly into the butter.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the topping is golden and the butter slightly bubbly. Let the pan cool completely before removing the bars. Once cooled, use the sling to remove from the pan. Place on hard surface and use a sharp knife to slice into 2 inch squares.

Variations

To make Strawberry Jam bars simply substitute strawberry jam for the apple butter and pecans for the walnuts.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 24 bars
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)


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