Category Archives: Bars

Apple and Walnut Blondies


My mother-in-law has always had shelves upon shelves of cookbooks. Like me, she sits and reads these cookbooks as if they are novels, with pen and paper in hand to write down the shopping list for the week.

A few months ago she gave me a few dozen of those cookbooks that she no longer needed. She knew I’d cherish them, and I do. Thank you Pam, my second mom.

One of the many recipes I eyed, was what the Yankee’s Country Fair Cookbook calls Apple Brownies. I tweaked the recipe to my own liking and found it made more sense to call them Blondies.


From here, we’ll let the pictures tell the story.









Apple and Walnut Blondies

  • Servings: makes 16 squares
  • Print

  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cup apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch square pan.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar in another bowl. Add egg and mix well. Stir in walnuts and apples.

Spread into prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Blondies are good served with ice cream and whipped cream or plain with a cup of coffee.


Peach Bars


Mid-August=peaches. It was a hot day for peach and nectarine picking but we enjoyed walking through the rows of trees, heavy with fruit, at an orchard a few towns away. Once home, we got straight to work making a sort of shortbread cookie dough.


Ethan likes to be the one that twists or “cracks the code” in order to open the peach.


We sauteed two sliced peaches in a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of nutmeg.


About 3/4 of the dough is spread into a nine inch pan and the peaches are layered over the top.


The remaining dough is dropped on top of the sweet peaches to create a crumble topping.


And the rest is history.

Peach Bars

  • Servings: makes 9 bars
  • Print

  • 2 medium sized peaches
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice peaches and place into a skillet. Sprinkle granulated sugar and nutmeg over peaches and cook on medium for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy using a handheld mixer. Add egg and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until all flour is incorporated.

Spread 3/4 of the dough into a 9×9 pan. Arrange peach slices over top and dot remaining dough over the top of the peaches.

Bake for 30 minutes or until light browned. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.


Or try these peach recipes:




Cranberry Crumb Bars


Bags of cranberries have made their way to the produce section of our local grocery store. You know what that means, it’s cranberry time!

Last night, I made a batch of whole-berry cranberry sauce to go along with dinner. Today, I used what was left over for these scrumptious crumb bars. I love the simplicity of crumb bars,easy to assemble and packed with flavor.


You probably have all the ingredients for these bars in your kitchen right now.

After mixing the dry ingredients and incorporating the butter into that mix, you’ll have yourself a crumbly dough. The dough will be your crust and your crumble.


The berry sauce gets spread evenly over the top of the crust.


Buttery, oat infused crumbs get sprinkled over that. And…


… after some time in a hot oven, you will have yourself a treat that can be enjoyed anytime.

Cranberry Crumb Bars

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

Whole-berry Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, picked over for freshness
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter into oat mixture until crumbly. Pour about 3/4 of the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and press down to form a crust. Pour cranberry sauce over crust and sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until light brown. Let cool on a wire rack and cut into bars.


Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies


The sun is shining and there’s a hot breeze blowing the tops of the tall maples and oaks in our yard. Their leaves are dancing, soaking up the sun and turning it into energy.

It seems silly to have the oven on while the air conditioners work, but we are turning that heat into energy too. Energy in the form of blondies, which are essentially brownies without the cocoa powder.

We start with a basic blondie recipe.

basic blondie3

The ingredients are blended…


…until smooth.


The mix-ins are prepared.


Fresh sweet cherries are pitted and quartered…


…and folded in along with just a couple chocolate chips.


The batter is poured into our prepared dish.


The top is smoothed out and it’s baked at 350F.


We let it cool on a wire rack before slicing.


These are the perfect dessert for a picnic by a babbling brook or in a meadow surrounded by Hawk-weed flowers and Brown Eyed Susan’s. Feel the sun on your face and the grass under foot. Go out and enjoy nature.

Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies

  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh pitted sweet cherries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside. Melt butter and whisk in brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and cherries. Pour into prepared dish and bake 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack and cut into 9 squares. Enjoy :)

Extreme Lemon Bars


These lemon bars are serious. Seriously lemony. And tart. And yummy.

The fun begins with two lemons, zested and juiced.


I’ve baked with lemon before. Here, herehere and here. Oh and my all time favorite drink contains lemons too. We love all things lemon!


A simple recipe that I feel must have come about from a mistake made. While I was reading the ingredients, I noticed there was no leavener, no baking powder or baking soda. It works though, it totally works.


Much of the tartness comes from the lemon icing that is poured over top.


Extreme Lemon Bars

(original recipe Lemon Brownies from Rita’s Recipes)

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • remainder of zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 dish.

Zest and juice two medium sized lemons.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter and beat using an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, lemon juice and zest and mix until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but be careful not to over bake.

Add icing ingredients to a bowl and whisk until blended. Pour over cooled bars.


Enjoy :)

PB & J Bars


My little boy is ten years old already. How’d that happen?

There was a time when all he would eat for lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Those days are over but so are the endless hours of simply watching him sleep, cooing over his little toes and wiping his chin and tiny hands clean.

Each stage of life is a blessing, even those terrible twos. I look back and laugh at what it must have looked like to see me as a young woman walking down the street, holding a flailing two year old, clearly upset because he didn’t want to leave the playground.

He has grown into a thoughtful, kind and practical kid. He amazes me with his knowledge of all things deep sea. “Did you know that at 9,000 feet, the pressure is so great it would be like wearing a school bus for a hat.”

These PB & J Bars can be enjoyed by all ages, from two to ninety-two.


PB & J Bars

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch pan with parchment or aluminum foil and grease the bottom. This will make it easier to remove and cut your bars after they have baked.

Cream butter and peanut butter with a handheld mixer. Add brown sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.

In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture a little at a time until crumbly.


Pour 3/4 of the mixture into the prepared pan and press down with your fingers. Pour jelly over this layer and crumble remaining batter over top.


Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove aluminum foil or parchment and cut into bars.

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk :)


Caramel Apple Tart


There’s nothing better than autumn in New England. There’s no where else I’d rather be right now. The crisp cool air, the wind tugging at the leaves that haven’t fallen just yet, and that smell. The smell of apples in the orchard, waiting to be picked.

Apple picking is one of my very favorite things to do. I like being outside. I like picking fresh fruit. I like sitting along the stone wall and listening to the cardinals and the chickodees sing their songs, while chomping on the fourth apple of the day. It’s relaxing and rejuvenating all at the same time.

When we get home from apple picking, I always, always make a sweet treat. This Caramel Apple Tart was simple to make and will quickly become an any time treat.

You start with a thawed sheet of puff pastry.


You will need between one and two apples, depending on their size. Any variety will do.

After sweetening up the apples with some brown sugar and cinnamon, lay them along the puff pastry sheet.


While the tart is baking, the caramel sauce can be made.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.

After the tart has become brown and bubbly it is ready to be placed on a wire rack and drizzled with the dark and delicious caramel sauce.


Apple Tart

  • 1 sheet thawed puff pastry
  • 1-2 apples, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Toss the sliced apples in lemon juice. Add sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix until combined. Let sit for 15 minutes before placing on puff pastry.

Bake @ 400F for 20 minutes.

After your apple picking adventures, check out these other apple desserts:

apple cinnamon coffee cake         apple braid bread         baked apple donuts

apple crisp recipe          blueribbon

Yum         The first piece        tart

Hermit Bars

Sometimes when a loved one dies, the family disperses their belongings, not because of greed but so that there’s something tangible to remember them by.

I received the afghan when my grandfather passed away last month.

It’s been in the family since I can remember and even before that.

The crocheted blanket can be seen in numerous family photos, ones of me holding my brand new baby cousins, photos of me and my mom hugging side by side on the couch, posing for the camera with wide smiles.


It sat on the back of my grandmother’s couch waiting to be needed. It comforted the sick, warmed the cold and snuggled the weary.

It hugged my grandfather at night in the nursing home when no one was there to comfort him.

It’s been laundered over and over but still holds its true colors, dark blue, blue, light blue and white.

For more than thirty years it has provided a warm embrace and has eased the distraught.

The afghan now sits on the back of my couch waiting to bring happiness and relief to yet another generation.

As I type, It’s covering over Ethan who is enjoying one of the hermit bars I made today.


You can never go wrong with butter and brown sugar.


Spices add a wonderfully strong aroma to the flour.


You can’t have Hermit Bars without raisins and molasses.


After the dough is chilled for about a half hour, it is shaped into logs and placed on parchment paper.


It will spread in the 375F oven. Once cooled, it is cut with a serrated knife into bars.


Deliciously warm gingerbread-like bars.

Hermit Bars

  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium sized bowl.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, beat until combined. Add molasses, beat until combined, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and raisins and beat on low speed for about a minute, until dough comes together. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into two equal pieces and shape each into a 12 inch log placed 3 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake until golden brown and still soft to the touch, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool before cutting into bars.

They keep extremely well, hence the name. The rich spicy flavors improve a day or two after baking.

Enjoy :)

Homemade Pistachio Granola Bars

granola bars

Pistachios are rich in antioxidents and phytochemicals. They are a great source of vitamin E, B complex groups of vitamins and minerals, like copper and iron. They are known to lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase good levels.

We had a bag of pistachio nuts in the cabinet calling out to be utilized and I had a sweet tooth screaming at me to be satisfied.

The Peanut Energy Bars I make from time to time were the inspiration for these beauties.


These are so easy to create and so very satisfying.

Homemade Pistachio Granola Bars    

Print Homemade Pistachio Granola Bars Recipe                             

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and mix in vanilla extract. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly making sure every bit of dry ingredient is covered with the peanut butter mixture.

Pour half of the mix into an 8×10 baking pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips on top. Pour remaining mix on top and cover with remainder of chocolate chips. Press down into pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let set for 2 hours or more. Cut and enjoy :)

Chocolate Hazelnut Blondies

chocolate hazelnut blondies


Nutella is great on sandwiches and graham crackers. I love its smooth texture. I recently made Peanut Chocolate Chip Blondies, which were superb. I was so happy with the way they came out. I figured why not substitute the peanut butter for nutella and the peanuts for hazelnuts.

They have a very distinct hazelnut flavor because I toasted the nuts beforehand. I didn’t remove the skins like I did for the Hazelnut Biscotti that I made for TWD. Instead, I put the nuts on a baking sheet and toasted them for about 10 minutes. After they cool slightly, just rub the skins off. So, if you don’t like hazelnut flavor, I wouldn’t make these.

If you do like hazelnut flavor…what are you waiting for!?

Start with 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup nutella, and 3/4 cup brown sugar.

Cream together with an electric mixer. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla and mix until combined.

In another bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Mix in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Pour into an 8×8 dish and bake in a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes.