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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rhubarb Oat Bars

Today I start with an apology:  Sorry I have no picture of this yummy treat.  I haven't been able to keep any around long enough to get a snapshot.  After finding this recipe this spring I have made it a few times for different groups of people, and the whole pan disappears so fast!  I just made them again for Father's Day, where my daughter brought her new boyfriend.  He had never eaten rhubarb before and I think these bars sold him on this new vegetable because he ate three!  So you just have to trust me that they look good, and boy do they taste good!  I improved the original recipe quite a bit by decreasing the amount of sugar, increasing the amount of rhubarb, and using butter instead of shortening.  Try this spring treat, the rhubarb is still thriving out there!

RHUBARB OAT BARS

Filling:
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut up
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crust:
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I have used both walnuts and pecans, and the bars were delicious with each)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Filling:  Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and cook until thick, stirring often.  8-10 minutes.

Crust:  Mix all ingredients in a bowl until crumbly.  Pat three quarters of the mixture into an un-greased 9x13 inch baking pan.  Pour the rhubarb mixture over the crust (it's fine to do this while the filling is hot).  Top with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake 30-35 minutes.

Cool before cutting into bars.  Or you can spoon it out hot and serve with ice cream or whipped cream for a crumble dessert.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 16 bars.

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pie Plant Season

Here we are, back to the peak season for "Pie Plant".  Rhubarb earned that nickname honestly, it really is perfect in pies!  Last night we had a couple of families over for pie so I made two rhubarb pie variations:  with pineapple and with cherries.  I thought I'd be able to choose a favorite but really liked both.  So I recommend you try each of these pies this spring.  A little ice cream or whipped cream makes them perfect!





Pineapple Rhubarb Pie

9 or 10 inch double pie dough

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 20-oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a 9 or 10 inch pie pan with crust.  Roll out top crust.  Set both aside.

Stir all filling ingredients together until well blended and pour into the pastry lined pie pan.  Cover with the top crust and flute edges.  Cut steam vents in the top of the pie then brush with ice water and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 and bake an additional 30 minutes.  The filling should be bubbling.  Serve warm.


Cherry Rhubarb Pie

9 or 10 inch double pie dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a 9 or 10 inch pie pan with crust.  Roll out top crust.  Set both aside.

4 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced
2 cups tart pie cherries -  fresh (pitted), frozen (thawed) or canned (drained)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir all filling ingredients together and let stand 10-15 minutes, then pour into pastry-lined pie pan.  Dot with 1 tablespoon butter if desired and add top crust.  Flute edges and cut steam vents in the top of the pie.  Brush with ice water and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until filling bubbles and crust is golden.  Serve warm.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

I work with an attorney who has access to really great tickets to my alma mater's football games.  He also LOVES Peanut Butter Cups and pie.  So I combined the best chocolate pie filling I've got with the best peanut butter filling I've found and  made him a custom PB Cup pie.  (This recipe actually makes two pies - so I had one take to work for him and one for my family to enjoy.  Win/win).  This pie was  a hit at work, everybody who got to try it loved it.  And if my bribe was successful I should be enjoying the homecoming game from the 50 yard line next week :-)


Kirk's Peanut Butter Cup Pie

2 Nine or Ten inch pie shells.  I used pastry, but a graham cracker or cookie crust would be fantastic as well.

Chocolate layer:
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 oz. baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Beat in the chocolate and vanilla. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating each for four minutes (this step is very important to get the silky texture you want in this layer).
  • Spoon half the chocolate filling into each pie shell and refrigerate while you prepare the peanut butter layer.
Peanut butter layer:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Beat the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
  • Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Divide the mixture between the two pie shells, layering it on top of the chocolate.
  • Top with chopped up mini peanut butter cups.
  • Refrigerate at least three hours before serving.
 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I've been baking less during the past year.

I love to bake.  I love to eat what I bake.  And my body has paid the price.  Last summer I finally decided to get serious about losing the excess weight I've accumulated over many years, and that meant baking less frequently.  I haven't done anything drastic to lose weight - no pills or surgery or crazy low calorie diets.  Just upped the exercise (a lot!) and tracked what I eat to stay within a reasonable calorie limit.  So I do still bake, and I do still eat yummy stuff - but I  had to cut it down a bit!  I will be posting more delicious treats as the weather cools and I'm able to use the oven more comfortably, but did want to share the difference a year of mindful eating and steady exercise can make.  I'm about halfway to my goal weight now:

Grandma and Violet

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rhubarb Cake

Yesterday we had a dinner guest, and that's always an occasion calling for dessert.  Since I have plentiful rhubarb growing in the garden I wanted to use it, but didn't have time to make a pie.  This cake ended up fitting the bill perfectly, and our guest liked it so much that she happily took several pieces home and asked for the recipe.  That was pretty impressive considering that she had never heard of rhubarb before!





RHUBARB CAKE

Topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter

Cake:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups finely chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

Topping:
Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.

Cake:
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the salt and soda.  Beat in the flour alternately with the buttermilk.  Stir in the rhubarb and nuts.  Pour the batter into the greased baking pan.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake.

Bake 45 minutes.

We enjoyed this served with sweetened whipped cream.  It would also be great served warm with ice cream.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring = Rhubarb!

The snow has finally melted, the lilacs are blooming, sun is shining....and my rhubarb plant is thriving.  Time to enjoy this unique taste of spring.  Here's a yummy snack idea to take advantage of the rhubarb that is at it's peak right now.  These are like the bar cookies I usually make with peach or apricot jam, and I think they are even better with rhubarb.  My son enjoyed these for snacking as well as for breakfast with a big glass of milk.






OATMEAL RHUBARB SQUARES

Filling:
3 cups fresh rhubarb, diced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust:
1 1/2 cups oats (quick-cooking or regular rolled oats)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Filling:  Combine ingredients in a saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.  This will take about 10 minutes.

Crust:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all ingredients until combined and crumbly.  Press 3/4 of the mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan.  Pour the rhubarb filling over the crust.  Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top.  Bake 30 minutes.  Let cool before cutting into squares.  Refrigerate the leftovers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snickerbutters

After this week's time change, my  husband was a very sleepy guy.  Because of the effect of "springing forward" on the computers at his job he was up most of the night, but still got up for church in the morning.  He really earned a Sunday afternoon nap.  While he snoozed in a chair I thought it would be nice to make his favorite cookies to show my appreciation for what a hard working guy he is. He really loves Snickerdoodles so I happily started to get everything out to make them,  then discovered that I was out of the cream of tartar those cookies require. We did have some peanut butter on the shelf so I decided that peanut butter cookies would still make him a happy man when he woke up.  As I mixed the dough I realized that there was no reason  the cinnamon-sugar coating that makes Snickerdoodles so yummy shouldn't be delightful with peanut butter too.  The result was these cookies that my eleven year-old son named "Snickerbutters".  These were a  hit with both of my guys.





SNICKERBUTTERS

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1-1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Beat together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg.  Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Shape the dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar.  Place on ungreased baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.