Monday, February 13, 2012

Layered (Any) Holiday Bars

Ah, holidays. Love them or hate them, there's no getting away from the year-round slew of "special occasion" marketing we've come to! Kicked off with tomorrow's fest - Valentine's Day - our senses get bombarded with opportunities to celebrate - St. Patty's Day, Easter, Victoria Day... all the way through to Thanksgiving, Christmukkanzaa and finally New Year's Eve. Then we get to do it all again!

But after all the commercial smoke and mirrors have had their say, if you're taking part in any event, you know somebody's going to be doing the grunt work of entertaining. If it's your turn to woo a prospective (or current) lover this year, or if there's a Cupid-bashing party on your horizon, you know there's going to be food in the mix somewhere. Preferably something sweet. And chocolatey. I mean, chocolate is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

But it's not the only one. Oh, no. In fact, there are hosts of things you can classify as promoting a more active love life - and for most of them, that perception is firmly rooted in science. Take oysters for example. Get a half-dozen at the raw bar and you're pumping yourself with over twice your daily need for testosterone-boosting zinc. Asparagus with a luscious, creamy Hollandaise? Energy boosting B vitamins, libido enhancing vitamin E and choline, which improves sensation. Even foods not classically considered amorous in nature - think celery, garlic, or mustard - are sexual health-promoting in nature.

Although I didn't intend these bars, made with the sweet-tart combination of orange and cranberry on a thick, chocolate cookie crust, to be an overly romantic treat, but it turns out that the vitamin C in both fruits is quite the charmer of the nutrient world. In particular, vitamin C helps maintain the health of the reproductive organs and promotes blood flow, which I don't need to tell you can help you out in a big way!

By the way, these are also delicious additions to the Christmas buffet table or BBQ spread!

Layered Holiday Bars
Serves 12
275g (just over 1/2 box) Oreo cookie crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp orange juice
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp tapioca starch
pinch ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup prepared cranberry sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9" square pan with parchment.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs, butter, orange juice and cocoa in a small bowl until well combined. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until combined.
  4. Add the tapioca starch, ginger and baking powder, mixing until lumps are gone.
  5. Stir in the orange juice, vanilla and orange zest.
  6. Pour over the baked crust.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Spread cranberry sauce over the orange layer.
  9. Bake 10 minutes longer.
  10. Refrigerate to set before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 177.1
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Sodium: 150.6 mg
Total Carbs: 25.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 2.0 g

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