Sesame-Peanut Bars

Sesame-Peanut Bars

As my grandmother would say, “What a revolting development…”  I heard her say that when things were pretty grim.  That was exactly what came into my head when I learned what was going on in Paris.  The city that we lived in this summer for 6 wonderful weeks.  The city that I get, and where I belong, despite it’s unrest.  They chose places where locals hang out – it wasn’t the tourist places this time.  But it did happen to be an area that we spent quite a bit of time in.

I remember waking up this summer fearful every morning for something like this, but it didn’t stop me.  I was careful and aware at all times.  I remember one day we were walking around near the Place de la Republique (very close to the attacks), and all of a sudden there were armed police everywhere.  They came out of no where.  I looked around, and told my girls we had to walk quickly.  We needed to get out of there, and we were not about to board the subway.  So, we took off, down some sides streets, but quickly we were far enough away that I felt better.  I still never found out what was going on, but there must have been a threat of something, and I was very thankful that no one was hurt that day.  Unfortunately, Friday was different.

I am slowly getting myself back into a regular schedule, after being gone for 3 months.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long, but it has.  I am now to the point where I am starting to go through my pantry and use up ingredients that have been sitting there a little too long.  Take these black sesame seeds – I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with them, until I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  I wasn’t sure how these were going to turn out, but they were right up my husband’s alley.  He has confiscated the rest for snacks at work this week.

Paris will always be in my thoughts, and I am always looking forward to my next trip.  Even now, after this revolting development.  They need our support now more than ever.  I hope they feel all the love from around the world, helping them to feel safe again.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white and/or black sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Butter an 8×8″ glass baking dish; line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on all sides. Mix 1 1/4 cups white and/or black sesame seeds, 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Mix 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. Add to sesame seed mixture and mix well.

Scrape mixture into prepared baking dish; press firmly into an even layer. Bake at 350°F until golden brown around the edges, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm, 30–40 minutes. Lift out of baking dish (if it starts to crumble, let cool longer) and cut into 16 bars. Let cool completely.

Do Ahead:  Bars can be made 3 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sesame-Peanut Bars

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Homemade KIND Bars

Homemade KIND Bars

One of my friends has the best saying ever when she says goodbye to her kids in the morning, “Have a sparkly day and remember to do something nice for someone!”  I absolutely love it.  I think that if everyone left their homes in the morning with that mission, the world would be a beautiful place filled with lots of sparkly people.  Unfortunately not everyone has that attitude in life.  It shocks me sometimes how people can be so inconsiderate.  But then again, most of the time those people really have no clue…and I just end up feeling sorry for them.  At some point in their lives, they will have a very lonely existence.

I have been a little crazy about KIND bars recently.  It’s funny, because when I first tried one, I was not impressed.  That was because I didn’t choose the right bar…I am a nut person (yes, I am a nut).  I don’t really like dried fruit with my nuts either – I am a purest when it comes to nuts.  So, after spending a few weeks eating these KIND bars, it hit me – why can’t I make these myself?  They can’t be that hard…if only I could find the recipe.  BING!!

Yes, after one search I found this blog Powerhungry – and she definitely had done her research.  I immediately went to the store to find this brown rice syrup (which I easily found at Whole Foods), and then stopped at Trader Joes for an assortment of nuts.  I couldn’t decide which ones to get, so I got many varieties, so I can make all sorts of different bars.  You need to follow the recipe carefully, and they will come out perfectly.  I swear you will never buy another bar again after making these.

So this weekend, if you are looking for something to do while the Seahawks are hopefully killing the Broncos – make a batch of these.  Then share them with someone you love.  After all, they are KIND bars.  Just maybe you will turn them into a sparkly person, now wouldn’t that be nice?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups toasted or raw nuts (e.g., cashews, almonds, pistachios, peanuts), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or organic corn syrup (e.g., wholesome sweeteners) (note: honey will not work–bars will be sticky, not crispy)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-inch square pan (9-inch is too big) with foil and lightly spray with (do not skip these steps!).  In a medium bowl, combine the chopped nuts and crisp rice cereal. Add the salt and syrup and stir to coat. Scrape/dump mixture into prepared pan. Now, to press it out evenly: Tear off a good size piece of foil  (around the size of the pan or slightly smaller). Lightly spray it with nonstick spray. Use the sprayed side of foil to press and spread evenly into pan. Works like a charm!

Bake for 18 minutes (the bars will not be hard at this point). Place pan on cooling rack and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes (give or take) until partially set up (it will depend on how hot or cold the kitchen—just don’t cool completely). Use the sides of foil to lift the bars from the pan. Do not try to remove from foil—they will stick like crazy. Cut into 8 bars.  Go and do something else until bars are completely cooled. Once cooled, the bars will lift right off of the foil. Wrap in parchment or wax paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Homemade KIND Bars