Sunday, August 9, 2009

Safe Snacks 101 - Use a Condiment

Okay, so I'm a little goofy tonight. Or a lot goofy, depending on who you talk to. I've been like this for most of the day, actually, since Andrew and I escaped the sticky, disgustingly humid weather by enveloping ourselves in a screening of Julie & Julia this afternoon. Now, Andrew is a wonderful cook in his own right - when we first met he was en route to becoming a chef - but he is (self-admittedly) not a foodie. I'm often torn when I go on baking or cooking sprees when I'm caught sitting idle, since the burden of eating all the creations ultimately falls on the shoulders of my dad, my mom, her co-workers and Andrew. He's a good sport about it, and has only once in my recollection complained about too much food, but considering he's supposed to be conditioning himself for a Policing fitness test (in between working bastard shifts at Timmy's and taking care of everyone under the sun - including moi) the extra calories and fat can't be helping matters. I was surprised that he liked the movie as much as he did, to be honest - though I think the fact that we met in a high school cooking class, started dating well after I had begun honing my creative side in the kitchen and eschewing recipes and became engaged shortly before this blog was born tied us both into the storyline a bit more than we'd otherwise be.

Luckily for Andrew (and me), he did not ask me to make him Pâté de Canard en Croûte, because frankly I can't even joint a chicken properly, or at all in under an hour and a half, and while I adore the process of making pastry it just doesn't seem right to wrap something already as succulent as duck in buttery dough. He did hint towards the possibility of the artichokes and citrus butter sauce (though for the longest time I've only heard him say he hates the veggies), so we shall see! He didn't even get to taste these beauties, because by the time I got to see him they had already been wrapped up tightly in heavy-duty foil and masking tape, labeled with a thick scrawl of Sharpie and found their way into the sweet-tooth-driven clutches of my mom's old office workers. I can't really blame them for the speed at which they inhaled them though - when you have this perfect marriage of ingredients it's impossible to resist. I tell you, it was painful to shut the door of the oven and not lick the spoon, though I did polish off the remaining cherries that escaped the pan!

So as my humble contribution to the Nutella challenge at Bell’alimento, I give to you these condiment-heavy bar cookies: a thick, salty oatmeal and peanut butter batter base, tart but sweet Ranier cherries with a sugar-laden Nutella brownie crown... they're like the best childhood sandwich you've never had. Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones... feel free to re-live it!

Cherry - Filled Peanut Butter Nutella Bars
Makes 16
1 1/2 cups pitted and halved cherries
1 tbsp flour
2.5 oz flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
2 tbsp warm water
3 oz flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp custard powder (optional, or substitute dry instant pudding mix)
pinch salt
1/3 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot coffee or espresso
  1. Preheat oven to 325F, grease a 9" square pan.
  2. Toss cherries in the flour and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the first amounts of flour, baking powder, salt and oats.
  4. Beat together peanut butter, brown sugar, oil, flaxseeds and water in a medium bowl.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Spread in the prepared pan.
  6. Scatter cherries in an even layer overtop.
  7. In a small bowl (you can use the same ones from the previous steps, no need to wash) combine the second amount of flour, sugar, baking powder, custard powder and salt.
  8. In the medium bowl mix Nutella, vanilla and coffee.
  9. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to blend.
  10. Pour over the cherries and peanut butter layer.
  11. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until tester comes out with slightly moist crumbs.
  12. Chill before cutting and serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 171.8
Total Fat: 6.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 57.0 mg
Total Carbs: 28.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
Protein: 3.0 g


  1. This post definitely gets the award for funniest title ever. ;)

    And the bars look great!

  2. woah, there is a lot going on there

  3. These look tasty - combining a lot of my favorite flavors!

  4. Sarah! These look great! Can't wait to try them out :)


Thanks for the feedback!