Sunday, January 24, 2010

Maple Bars

One day, I was perusing one of my favourite food blogs, One Perfect Bite. I like that site a lot, because Mary posts the most wonderful recipes, pictures, and stories about the food. She makes me want to live in her kitchen and sample everything, and I never leave her blog without feeling really hungry. On this particular day, though, I was entranced by some maple bars that had been posted. They looked luscious and crunchy and soft and beautiful. And I needed to eat some.

And eat some I did. A lot more than some. P ate a lot more than some also, and I took many of them to school to share with my professors from the teachHouston program. The people there are really wonderful, and equally wonderful about helping me dispose of my baked goodies. Everyone who tried these enjoyed them so much that I began circulating Mary's recipe, with my added tips, all over the place. And then Friday, not even an hour after I had finished an email exchange about this very recipe, P said to me, "You know what I wish I had this very instant? Maple bars." We didn't have enough eggs so I told him the next day we'd go to the store, get some eggs and I'd make some.

This recipe has become one of the beloved favourites in my house. Anything in italics is what I've added to or changed about the recipe, or just some extra tips I employ when I make them. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour 6.61 ounces/187.5 grams
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
2 large eggs
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1-1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring I used 1 tablespoon
2 cups chopped walnuts I used half walnuts, half pecans
1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips I use milk chocolate chips

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1 egg. Press evenly into an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2) Bake 25 minutes. Beat sweetened condensed milk, remaining 1 egg and maple flavoring in medium bowl. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over partially baked crust. Top with walnut mixture, spreading evenly to edges.
3) Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool. Cut into bars. Yield: 36 bars.

Notes:

I lined the baking pan with foil (because then you don’t actually have to wash the pan but simply lift the whole thing out of the pan), and I didn’t grease it but next time I make it I will spray some oil in the pan. It was a little tricky getting all the foil off.

If you have a food processor, you can make the crust in there. Just put the dry ingredients in and pulse them a couple times to combine. Then cut the butter into 1-2 tablespoon increments and pulse it until it’s crumbly and combined. Then add the egg and run the processor for 5-7 seconds (that should be enough to combine it well). When you dump it out into the pan, run your hands under some water before pressing it into the pan. The dough is fairly sticky, so if your hands are wet it goes a lot more smoothly.

When you mix the maple batter, you can use a whisk unless you want it super-aerated (in which case use beaters or a blender or whatever).

If you don’t have maple extract (I’m not sure if they sell it in grocery stores, but if they don’t, Penzy’s may have it or you can definitely order it from http://www.saffron.com, where everything they sell EXCEPT the vanilla extract is lovely and inexpensive [which is odd their vanilla extract is so terrible because their vanilla beans are wonderful]), I think you should be alright adding in 2 tablespoons-ish of maple syrup instead. Maple syrup is relatively thin, so I probably wouldn’t add much more than that for fear of having to adjust the baking time due to excess moisture. Though alternately you could boil down 1/4 cup of maple syrup until it’s thick and the flavour is intensified, which would make it a more viscous version of an extract.

Sometimes I keep the maple batter and the nuts separate, and pour on and smooth the batter, then top w/ the nuts. So that's an option too.


2 comments:

  1. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful readers. I'm delighted you like the bars and am very great for the link. Hugs...Mary

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  2. And thank you, for the recipe, Mary! These bars are really awesome, and I get requests for them often.

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