Lime Bars with Walnut-Graham Cracker Crust



For some reason, I tend to shy away from recipes that call for graham cracker or any type of cookie crumbs.  It's probably because I know it will require me to break out my ear-deafening food processor to crush the cookies/crackers.  But when this lime bar recipe landed in my inbox recently, I just had to bite the bullet and make them.  I know, poor me.  


This recipe is a tad different than most since it combines nuts along with the graham crackers for the crust -  it comes together super-quick in the processor.  The original recipe calls for pistachios, but I'm all about using ingredients I already have so I subbed them with walnuts instead.  Any nut would work here - they give the bar an extra crunch, complementing the creamy lime & condensed milk filling.  

These bars are so simple, yet rich - the perfect treat to whip up for a refreshing preview of summer.  

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart's Lime Squares with Pistachio-Graham Cracker Crust 


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie Dough Granola Bars {Gluten-Free}


As a child, I never ate cookie dough, or licked cake batter from the mixing bowl.  Mostly due to the fact that I grew up in an Asian family that did not bake - we used our oven for storage.  Even when I started baking on my own as a teenager, I did not think to eat cookie dough.  Why would I? It was raw.  We did not eat uncooked or unbaked food, it was just an unsaid rule. So, whenever I saw television shows or commercials with kids asking their moms to lick the leftover batter or dough off a spatula, it always baffled me.  Not to mention the cookie dough ice cream craze back in the day - I always wondered why so many people loved eating raw dough, which contained raw eggs that could make you sick.  


Ok, so I was a little sheltered.  In fact, it wasn't until last summer that I intentionally tried raw cookie dough.  It was an egg-free dough and I said to myself, what's the harm?  The harm was that I could not get enough of it! How can butter and brown sugar not be good? How I learned the error of my ways... 
[Image from Amazon.com]
Now that Lindsay Landis has conjured up an entire cookbook of egg-free cookie dough recipes, there is no reason not to eat raw cookie dough! From cookie dough truffles to cheesecakes, to cookie dough ice pops, there's something for every Cookie Dough Lover.  


I decided to make a gluten-free version of Lindsay's cookie dough granola bar since I still feel funny eating raw flour (old dog learning new tricks, here). I adapted the recipe using almond flour.  Also, the original recipe is for oatmeal raisin cookie dough - instead of raisins, I used orange-flavored dried cranberries that I had on hand.   Even with the minor substitutions, this is still one decadent granola bar - I could have gobbled up the granola and the cookie dough mixtures all on their own! 

Get the original recipe plus over 50 more fun cookie dough recipes at your local bookstore on June 5th! Learn more about Lindsay Landis and the Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook here.  

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie Dough Granola Bars {Gluten-Free}


Yield: 10-12 bars

Ingredients

For granola:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free)
⅔ cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts & almonds), coarsely chopped
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup honey

For cookie dough:
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free)
¾ cup almond flour or almond meal
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup ground cinnamon 
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8-inch square pan with two sheets parchment paper, leaving 1-inch overhang on all sides.  

For granola:
Pour oats and nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet, stir together and spread evenly.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring once half-way through baking until toasted and lightly browned.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then pour into medium mixing bowl.  

In a small saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar, and honey to a boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally, and cook until butter and sugar have melted.  Pour over granola and mix until fully combined.  Stir periodically to allow mixture to cool.  

For cookie dough: 
In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and milk until creamy and combined.  Stir in oats, almond flour, salt and cinnamon and mix until dough comes together in large, dry crumbles. Stir in dried cranberries.

To assemble: 
Press half of granola evenly into prepared pan.  Spread half of cookie dough evenly onto granola layer.  Repeat with remaining granola and cookie dough, making sure layers are spread evenly and firmly.  

Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.  Remove pan from refrigerator and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then lift entire block out of pan using parchment paper and slice into bars.  Store in airtight container layered between parchment paper for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis

Disclosure: I received a free preview copy of the Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook courtesy of the publisher, Quirkbooks.  I was not obligated or compensated to write this post.  


{Happy Friday} Olive Oil Pignoli Chocolate Chip Cookies


 I heard that it was Cookie Week so naturally, I felt the need to bake some cookies for the occasion.  Olive oil is something I've been wanting to bake with for a while, and I've tasted it in cakes but never cookies so I thought, why not?  I also had a cup of pignoli (pine nuts) left over from making pesto recently so I tossed those in along with some chocolate chips.

They didn't come out exactly as I had envisioned and seen on this blog, but this cookie encompasses everything the hubs loves so I'm sure he will be a happy camper tonight.

Happy Friday, all! 

{Thank You, Friends} NYC Food Blogger Bake Sale

With Louise, Sara, & Katie - lovely bloggers & volunteers!
[Photo by my friend, Patty who stopped by to show her support]
In case you were wondering where I disappeared to for the past month, and do not follow me on Twitter or even Facebook, I'm finally here to tell you.  You may have remembered me mentioning the Food Blogger Bake Sale back in February - I can't believe it's been more than two months since that post! All of the planning and organizing culminated in an incredible event this past Saturday, and I could not have done it without the help of my fearless co-leader, Ken and an amazing team of bakers and volunteers! 

Having planned the Bake Sale for Japan last year, I knew we were in for a similar dose of sweets & goodness on Saturday.  Even though the cause was different, the generosity and positive energy surrounding the event was the same.  Over the past couple months, I've been contact with numerous people all reaching out to lend their support.  Whether it was to contribute baked goods, help us get the word out, or sponsor raffles, each person gave from their heart in order to support Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign.  

T-shirts donated by Share Our Strength partner, Joe's Crab Shack for volunteers to wear at the Bake Sale
I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with, and it still amazes me at how sponsors were willing to support and work with us.  Although all of our sponsors deserve recognition, I personally want to thank Michelle, at Joe's Crab Shack for going above and beyond in order to get the awesome volunteer t-shirts shipped to me on time.  Thank you for making it happen!

The Brooklyn Flea, whom I also worked with last year, provided us with the perfect space to display dozens of goodies that seemed to never end.  Their staff was super-helpful and friendly - many thanks to Rob & Kyle for supporting our event.  

[photo by: Ken, of HungryRabbitNYC]
Thanks to Ken, I was able to get a gorgeous photo of my strawberry frosted sugar cookies, adorned with sprinkles and the No Kid Hungry logo.  I'm not sure what goes through my mind when deciding what to bake for events like these - it's like a switch turns on and says that I should make things more complicated for myself.  I just couldn't get the idea of piping the logo out of my head - even though I am horrible at piping and any intricate designs.  In the end, they turned out fine and since I only made about 2 1/2 dozen, it wasn't so bad since the cookies themselves were easy to make.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take any photos of all of the scrumptiousness donated by my fellow food bloggers besides the ones I brought home from the bake sale.  Please visit the NYC Bake Sale Tumblr site for a list of recaps and photos already shared.  

My stash included goodies from Epicurean Creations, Runner & Stone, Mind Over Batter,  Sweet & Simple, Lucky Penny Bake Shop and Baked
Thanks again to everyone who made this event possible.  It was such a lovely day meeting so many talented bakers and bloggers, and even a special Twitter friend.  Finally, a special shout-out goes to my family & friends who made it out on Saturday: Ben, Ahmee, Louis, Sandra, Cami, Dany, Patty, Shareese, Jenny, Carol, Meghan, Jessica and most importantly, my hubby.  It means so much that you all trekked to Brooklyn to support me and more importantly, Share Our Strength.

We are still accepting online donations until Friday, May 4th if you'd like to contribute.  There is no donation too small - just $1 can provide a hungry child with 10 healthy meals.  

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