Tahini Bars

These rich, thick bars are reminiscent of blondies but I am not going to call them blondies because their consistency is totally different. They are dense and crumbly, but in the best way. 

Before learning about Molly Yeh's obsession with tahini baked goods, I only knew tahini as an ingredient for hummus. Tahini is toasted sesame seed paste or "butter." However, when eaten alone, tahini is not totally savory but nutty and unique. This past year for food bloggers has been a year of tahini: tahini cookies, tahini bars, tahini blondies, and more. I have finally hopped on that train and heavily adapted this recipe to create a delicious bar that is drizzled in chocolate. 

Tahini Bars #tahini #chocolate

This year, I will be restarting Thursday Thoughts soon but for now I will share some of my New Year's Resolutions! I love resolutions but prefer to refer to them as goals.

Some of my New Year's Goals:

·      Read two books per month, one book is for fun and the other is for personal growth or business development. This month I read The Book Thief and am currently reading Big Magic. The Book Thief was amazing and I highly recommend it

·      Post three recipes on the blog per month, sharing lots of savory, dinner recipes

·      Create some boundaries with my phone, especially scrolling though Instagram

·      Complete weekly 15 Minute Planner sessions, this has been a very useful tool for me so far

Tahini Bars #tahini
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Tahini and Chocolate Bars
Rich tahini bars drizzled with semi sweet chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C tahini
  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 T warm water
  • 1 T sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper: cut parchment paper so that it fits into the dish with two sides overhanging. 2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the melted butter and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium between additions. Add vanilla and tahini. Mix until combined. Scrape down sides. 3. With the mixer off, add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix on the lowest setting until combined. Scrape down sides. Turn the mixer back on to low and add the warm water until just combined. 4. Transfer dough to prepared dish and smooth down with a spatula. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over the dough.5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is no longer shiny and it is cooked through. 6. Cool in the dish for 5 minutes then, using the parchment paper overhangs, transfer the bars to a cooling rack. 7. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until melted. Drizzle chocolate over the bars. Let cool.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8"x8" pan
Tahini Bars #tahini

Listening to: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook

Brownie Truffles + Thursday Thoughts

This recipe is quick, especially when using a boxed mix, but the product is amazing and people will think you spent hours making them. You can make these for any holiday but changing the decorations but they are great for Christmas because they are a reprieve from the dry and broken cookies that come with the holiday. 

Brownie Truffles

A quick post for a quick recipe!

Thursday Thoughts #5

·      For my podcast junkies: I have been loving the Creative Empire Podcast. The two hosts chat with guests about their businesses and business strategy

·      Need a cookbook for your favorite cook this Christmas? Here are some I love: Molly on the Range, The Pie Project, and anything by Ina Garten

·       Colder weather means more cuddling up and watching movies on Netflix! Some good ones that on streaming now: Spotlight, The Big Short, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (only if you've seen the first), The Jungle Book, The Imitation Game, and Trolls (if you haven't seen it, PLEASE watch it)

Brownie Truffles
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Brownie Truffles
Brownies dipped in chocolate and decorated for the holiday!
Ingredients
  • 1 batch baked brownies
  • 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles, chopped candy, etc.
Instructions
1. Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. 2. Using a tablespoon or scoop, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of brownie, excluding the crust. Roll the brownie in your hand until a ball forms. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Complete until 16 balls are formed. There will be extra brownies left. 3. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 4. In a microwave safe measuring cup, melt the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until completely melted. Don't rush this, it will burn.5. Take out chilled brownie balls and coat them in chocolate, one at a time. Place the ball into the chocolate and, using a fork, roll until completely coated. Place coated ball back on the wax paper. Sprinkle with desired topping, the truffles with cool very quickly so make sure to decorate between dippings. Re-microwave chocolate if needed. 6. Allow chocolate to harden before serving. Keep in airtight container for up to 6 days.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 truffles
Brownie Truffles

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are truly little bars of sunshine! They are tart, sweet, and when the crust is right, they are the ideal balance of smooth and crunchy. Fortunately the crust on these babies is perfect; it’s crumbly, butter, flaky, and a compliment to the tangy lemon topping.

The time for fresh California lemon bars is coming to a close since citrus season here is almost over! Even though lemon bars to me are a summer dessert. It’s funny how we associate things like food to certain seasons even if it makes no sense. Like lemonade and summer even though lemons are a winter delight. Here’s to making lemon bars a seasonal treat!

lemon bar

Use Meyer Lemons if you have them! 

Adapted the crust from this recipe and the filling from this recipe.

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Lemon Bars
Classic Lemon Bar Recipe
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 C salted butter
  • 1/2 C confectioners sugar
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. 2. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in flour and salt and continue to beat until combined. 3. Put dough in prepared pan and use hands to press down in an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 4. Take out of oven and let cool. 5. While cooling, make the filling. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest until combined. 6. Pour over the baked crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until center is set. After 10 minutes of baking, place an empty cookie sheet on the rack above to prevent too much browning. 7. Take pan out of oven and cool. Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar and cut.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 9x13" pan of bars
lemon bars

Make these as a bright part of your spring picnics or as a dessert for Easter brunch! I will be whipping up a couple more batches of these before the season for lemons is over! 

lemon bars

Listening to: Leon Bridges

Brown Butter Marzipan Blondies

Okay, so they are more of a dense cookie bar but boy, these are DELICIOUS! They are chewy, marzipan-y, buttery, and just plain fun! The brown butter adds depth and nuttiness and complements the marzipan. The sprinkles are optional but why would you leave them out?

blondies

Marzipan: a delicious almond product that I always enjoyed but never thought much about until Molly Yeh’s cookbook came out. She is the biggest fan of marzipan I have ever heard of. Her love inspired me to buy a log of marzipan at the store earlier this week. I also bought a large container of rainbow jimmies because I was inspired by Molly’s other love, sprinkles.

Those two items have sat on the counter for the past few days and while making dinner, I realized that I should make blondies with them. Marzipan and funfetti blondies. This train of thought then took me onto a long internet binge looking at all things marzipan and blondies. I learned what I could about melting butter instead of creaming it and what it takes to make a good blondie and here we are. I have to say though, that with the browned butter and brown sugar, these turned out to be more “tannies.” The kind of tan a Southern California surfer has in August, dark. But that name is not appealing so I am sticking with blondie.

blondie
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Brown Butter Marzipan Blondies
Chewy, almond cookie bars loaded with marzipan and sprinkles.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salted butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 3.5 ounces marzipan
  • 3 T sprinkles/jimmies (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8x8 inch baking dish by cutting a piece of parchment paper to fit the dish. Make sure there is extra on two of the sides (like wings) so it is easy to remove when done. 2. In a light bottomed pan, melt butter. Once melted continually swirl (do not stir) until bottom begins to brown. Remove from pan and place in medium sized heatproof bowl (ceramic or glass). 3. Add brown sugar to butter and lightly mix with a spatula. Let cool. 4. While butter is cooling, put flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate medium size bowl and stir. 5. Cut up marzipan into pea size pieces and place in flour mixture. Stir as you place the marzipan in so the pieces will not stick together. Add sprinkles and stir. 6. Mix brown sugar and butter mixture with a handheld mixer until combined, add in egg and mix. Slowly spoon in flour mixture and mix until all combined. Add water and extracts, mix. 7. Place dough into prepared dish and use a spatula to flatten it evenly. 8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 9. Let cool, loosen the sides that don’t have parchment with a knife and pull them out of the pan by the wings. Cut up as desired. NOTE: Using a plastic knife helps create a clean cut that doesn’t drag crumbs. This is especially important when making brownies to present.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 large blondies
blondie

Listening to: Dr. Dog Pandora Station