Chocolate-Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars

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I meant to post about this last week, but the holiday season descended upon me so fiercely, I was on a cookie-baking binge almost every day! These bars have won the hearts of many. Everyone from friends to VP of my company have raved about them. They really are the ultimate oat bar…. You can mix and match the ingredients. For the second round, I used 2/3 cup cinnamon chips, 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 3/4 cups cranberries. Just make sure it all adds up to the amounts listed in the recipe (about 1 2/3 cups) and it will be amazing.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)

¼ cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 ½ cups quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts, or any nut you prefer

2/3 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup cinnamon chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish.
  • To toast hazelnuts, spread on a baking sheet and toast at 350°F for about 5 minutes, stirring them once halfway through
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and salt until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix this blend into the butter mixture until just combined.
  • Mix together the oats, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and cinnamon chips in a bowl. Stir into the dough.
  • Spread dough evenly into greased baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting into approximately 3 dozen bars.
  • Alternatively, the dough may be made into cookies: Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on sheet about 1 minute; move to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes about 48 cookies.

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Cranberries!!

It’s been a whirlwind of a month so far! Life is catching up with me and I haven’t given myself time to sit down get these awesome recipes out. 

I think cranberries are underestimated. Maybe they get a bad rap from too-tart juices and unimpressive cranberry sauce. But I’ve found two recipes to give new life to these sweet-tart antioxidant-rich berries. Quick, easy, yummy, and very share-able… enjoy 🙂 

The first one I present here, I researched a few recipes, and I combined my two favorites and came up with this. It was a hit at two Thanksgiving functions this year. SO EASY. Seriously. Try it. For the fresh cranberries, you can use frozen, also. Any type of baking apple will do.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

  • 3-4 large sliced, peeled apples (whatever will fill your desired baking dish)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • Squirt of lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened

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Preheat oven to 375°F and grease an 8″x8″ or 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Combine the apples, cranberries, 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl then add to the greased baking dish.

In separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut butter into sugar mixture using a pastry blender or mix together using your hands until combined and small buttery lumps remain.

Evenly distribute the sugar mixture on top of the apple and cranberries in the baking dish. 

Bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, or until browned on top and fruit is tender. (I use a fork to make sure it goes through apple easily)

Let cool to desired temperature and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream! Store in refrigerator up to 5 days, if it lasts that long!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

The joy of fall baking continues!!

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My affinity toward chocolate chip bars began in middle school. My mom always made these chocolate chip brownie bars, basically chocolate chip cookies in bar form. All of my friends loved them, and so on certain Fridays when I was willing to wake up at 5:30, I would make some myself and bring them to school. Yes, I think I bought my friends using baked goods… This also began my unconscious decision to serve my creations within hours of baking, wherever possible.

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I made these pumpkin bars last year, and I don’t think anyone else even got to taste them. Within a few days, Dan and I had demolished them. This time, they are definitely to share! This version is courtesy of Martha Stewart via Two Peas and Their Pod. I couldn’t wait until they were completely cooled, so the cut was messy but oh so worth it… The pumpkin adds some kind of fall goodness to an already awesome recipe. You gotta taste it to believe it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

4. Cool bars completely in pan. Cut into squares and serve.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecans, Cranberry, and Chocolate

I love the fall and I love pumpkins. So now with all my new free time, I’ve been cooking up a storm! Last night I made a pumpkin sauce for pasta, which is now my new comfort food. I’ll be eating it this whole chilly weekend. I can’t wait.

So with the leftover pumpkin, I looked up some recipes and I came across a few that incorporated applesauce in the muffins. I’ve never tried this, so I thought I would give it a shot. I used a recipe from allrecipes.com and customized it a little. My first actual, good, somewhat original recipe! I accidentally bought sweetened applesauce, which I think gave it a little bit of an off-flavor, so next time I’ll make it right. I also had some trail mix leftover that my mom gave us in our honeymoon care package, so instead of the raisins the recipe called for, I picked out the cranberry and chocolate pieces and put those in. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I prefer pecans for a more autumny taste. I also tried some flaxseed meal that we have, to pretend like this is actually healthy…. 😉

Makes 18-20 muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup of dried cranberries and chocolate pieces (or raisins or any trail mix)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 1 1/2 muffin tins or line with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the remaining ingredients into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups to about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pans until you can lift them out and enjoy warm, deliciously moist muffins!

My First Post

So I’ve finally made the decision to start a food blog. woohoo! 

After the wedding, it was time for me to find something else I’m passionate about to fill my time. Hours on Pinterest looking at all things wedding is turning into looking at all things sweet and tasty. 

In this new chapter of my life, I look forward to baking, cooking, and more baking. I will move beyond cupcakes and try new things. I will create my own recipes after I’m able to duplicate tried and true ones. I will learn this craft!

Here’s to my sweet adventure…