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Alternatives to brownies and lemon bars


alligande
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Help I need new ideas, my imagination has given up. I cook for 2 sailboat racing teams, and for lunch along with their sandwich and piece of fruit, they get a sweet baked item, ie brownie.

Because this food has to go sailing and is for big athlelic types, there are limitations:

can not be delicate

must be substantial like a brownie

on one boat is not kept on ice

I have to be able to make in advance and freeze (limits my cookie choice)

This summer, they have had, brownies, lemon bars, lime and lemon bars, blondies, a variety of cup cakes, shortbread. Brownies and blondies are always favourites.

So dos any one have any ideas and recipes.

cheers

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You can check out this thread that was started a few weeks ago. The topic was portable desserts.

There is also a great recipe for raspberry squares, and lemon bars on Cook's Illustrated website too. Several Egulleters like JF's kahlua blondies a lot-- still on my list to try. My favorite is maple squares, but then I am Canadian!

Let me know if you need any recipes, since the cook's illustrated site is a paid site for most things.

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slices of sticky gingerbread? iced with lemon or ginger icing? gets better the longer it's around.

millionaire shortbread - layer of shortbread on the bottom, topped with gooey fudge, topped with dark chocolate? heart attack in a baking tray, but delicious.

Or flapjacks (think this means a different thing in the UK) - what I mean is, mixture of oats, sugar (or golden syrup to make them chewy) + butter, pressed into a pan + baked. Can add nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, orange zest, banana, crystallized ginger, coconut, etc.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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There is a date/oatmeal bar recipe on Epicurious that I've been wanting to try. User ratings for the recipe are fairly positive. Click.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I'm waiting for someone to say, if brownies and blondies are always favorites, why make alternatives? Sometimes I get so disappointed because I am served an alternative when all I want is a good brownie. But I may be biased. :wink:

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If, as browniebaker suggests, they really like brownies, but maybe you're getting bored of making them, could you try different variations of your brownie recipe? Like swirling dulce de leche on top or using a rocky road topping or mixing in chunks of different types of candy, etc. The only variation on the lemon bar I've seen is adding a layer of raspberry jam on top of the crust before pouring on the lemon. An alternative though might be some chewy granola bars. The ones on betterbaking.com are really good and freeze well.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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If, as browniebaker suggests, they really like brownies, but maybe you're getting bored of making them, could you try different variations of your brownie recipe? Like swirling dulce de leche on top or using a rocky road topping or mixing in chunks of different types of candy, etc. The only variation on the lemon bar I've seen is adding a layer of raspberry jam on top of the crust before pouring on the lemon. An alternative though might be some chewy granola bars. The ones on betterbaking.com are really good and freeze well.

Yes I am bored of brownies :wink: and every regattta there is always a different variation just for my entertainment. granola bars are a little to healthy, and they always have power bars on board.

There is also a great recipe for raspberry squares, and lemon bars on Cook's Illustrated website too. Several Egulleters like JF's kahlua blondies a lot-- still on my list to try. My favorite is maple squares, but then I am Canadian!

I would love the recipe for the rasberry squares. :rolleyes:

millionaire shortbread - layer of shortbread on the bottom, topped with gooey fudge, topped with dark chocolate? heart attack in a baking tray, but delicious.
Or flapjacks (think this means a different thing in the UK) - what I mean is, mixture of oats, sugar (or golden syrup to make them chewy) + butter, pressed into a pan + baked. Can add nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, orange zest, banana, crystallized ginger, coconut, etc.

Are you english because, those are both childhood treats for me rarely scene in the US! I have never had any luck serving flapjacks to americans

I should also mention, they dont get a variety just one choice so I try to find flavours that have universal appeal.

thanks for the input

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Date bars have always been a favorite in our house.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I get bored making the same stuff over and over again too. On my end its biscotti. My relatives head strait for the cookie jar when they get here. They are disappointed when there's no biscotti.

I have posted the recipe for the raspberry squares to recipe gullet. I recommend paying 3.95 for a few months to get access to their site. There are some excellent excellent recipes on this site for both food and sweets.

Godiva has twenty three variations of brownies in their site. click.. Might keep you busy for a while....., white chocolate butter bars... macadamia fudge squares. The link to their recipes is on the bottom of the page.

Edited by chantal (log)
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Apricot bars. I don't have a recipe, but my mom made them lots and there's probably more than one out there.

Base sort of shortbread-y (I'm not sure if this layer is made separately or is produced in the course of baking), topped with very dense (and intense) dried apricot and nut mixture, finished with powdered sugar. Amazingly good.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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This is a PARAPHRASED (so no rules are broken) recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine (an issue from a few years ago) that I just LOVE! I've passed it on to others who have successfully tried it with other berries, but I have never strayed from the recipe. The blueberry/hazelnut combination is just SO good.

Blueberry Hazelnut Bars

(Yields 12 large or 48 bite sized bars)

Crust and Topping

Butter or vegetable oil for greasing the pan

5 oz (1 cup) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

9 oz (2 cups) all purpose flour

4 oz (1 cup) confectioners' sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

8 oz. (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter cut into large cubes

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Filling:

2 lbs (6 cups) fresh, picked over blueberries

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

Crust and Topping:

Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Line the bottom and sides with a

sheet of parchment, leaving a few inches of paper hanging over the edges of

the two long sides of the pan to help remove bars after baking.

Roughly chop 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts; until they are about halved or quartered.

Put the remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor and

process until finely ground; put them in a large bowl. Add the flour,

confectioner's sugar and baking powder and stir with a fork to blend.

Cut in butter until the pieces are the size of a pea. Lightly beat the egg and

yolk and add all but 2 tablespoons of the egg to the butter-flour mixture.

Add the vanilla and mix with your fingertips until mixture clumps and is

uniformly blended. Mix in a more beaten egg if dough is dry. Or you can

mix the dough in a large (11-cup capacity) food processor by pulsing in short bursts.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into two portions, one

slightly larger than the other. Using floured fingertips, pat the larger

portion into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly, and

refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover the remaining portion with plastic

wrap and also refrigerate.

Remove the pan from the fridge and prick the crust with a fork.

Bake until the edges are golden and pastry is dry and light brown, 20 to 25

minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before filling or the

bars will get soggy.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch,

lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Toss gently to thoroughly coat the berries

and then scatter the filling onto the cooled crust in an even layer.

Crumble the reserved dough over the berries; it won't completely cover the

berries. Bake for 25 minutes and then sprinkle on the chopped hazelnuts.

Continue baking until the topping is puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling

near the edges and in the center about and additional 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Use the parchment to lift out and then cut into

bars with a long serrated knife.

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CI had a different raspberry bar/square in the current issue, Sept-Oct 2005. This one consists of a shortbread base, raspberry jam filling and streusel topping. The difference which makes it so appealing is 3/4 cup fresh raspberries added to the jam.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Do you think they would like potato chip cookies? They are not as weird as they sound. It's like a short bread with crushed potato chips in it which gives it a salty je ne sais quoi crunch.

Let me know if you want me to post the recipe.

S. Cue

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CI had a different raspberry bar/square in the current issue, Sept-Oct 2005.  This one consists of a shortbread base, raspberry jam filling and streusel topping.  The  difference which makes it so appealing is 3/4 cup fresh raspberries added to the jam.

Thanks Ruth, I'll check out the recipe. The crust on the old ones is a bit short. The fresh berries probably add a different dimension. I can't imagine they could be better than the old recipe, but I'll have to try em.

Man those blueberry hazelnut bars sound AMAZING. I don't know if I can afford 6 cups of blueberries, but I'm thinking i might have to just go for it. Wow.

Edited by chantal (log)
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When I make these, I get big containers of blueberries at Costco for about $8 when blueberries are in season (like now). But I made this with 4 cups of berries because I miscalculated what I had and it turned out fine. They were just thinner.

Man those blueberry hazelnut bars sound AMAZING.  I don't know if I can afford 6 cups of blueberries, but I'm thinking i might have to just go for it.  Wow.

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Here's a few ideas...

Apricot Coconut Bars from RecipeGullet. These are some of the best apricot bars I've tasted because the apricots aren't simmered like they are in most recipes. Simmering totally dilutes their flavour.

Pecan Pie Bars are also delicious. They are almost like candy. I was going to post the link to epicurious.com but this recipe doesn't seem to be there anymore.

5 oz AP flour

7/8 oz white sugar

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz butter

4 oz pecans, coarsely chopped

2 oz butter

1 1/2 oz honey

4 oz brown sugar

Make shortbread crust with first 4 ingredients. Press into a parchment lined 8x8"pan. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or till lightly browned.

Melt 2 oz butter and stir in honey and brown sugar. Microwave 1 - 2 minutes at 50% power, stirring occasionally. Stir in pecans and pour over hot crust. Spread evenly. Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Cool completely in pan.

**This is also good with a thin layer of chocolate painted on the crust before adding the hot pecan mix.

Coconut Bars - this is my own concoction but similar to many others in that it's a shortbread base with a buttertart-type mix on top. It always gets rave reviews!

4 oz butter

2 oz brown sugar

4 1/2 oz AP flour

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

8 oz brown sugar

1 tsp AP flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 oz butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 oz sweetened shredded coconut

Make shortbread crust with first 4 ingredients. Press into parchment-lined 8x8"pan. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or till lightly browned.

Mix eggs and brown sugar with a spoon. Stir in rest of ingredients. Pour over hot crust and bake for about 20 minutes or till a rich brown. It will set when cooled. I usually drizzle semisweet and white chocolate over these while still warm. If you mix a bit of oil in with the chocolate it will cut easier when cooled.

**I accidently cooked these at 400F last time I made them but of course for a shorter time as I could smell they were done. My sister-in-law who loves the original thought they were even better since they were more gooey and candy-like but for your purposes a firmer bar is probably better.

All of these recipes freeze well.

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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You can check out this thread that was started a few weeks ago.  The topic was portable desserts.

In the above thread, jaynesb provided a link to an Almond Tart from Chez Panisse. I made the little tartlets from the recipe (used Vanilla instead of Grand Marnier) and decorated with a few swirls of dark and white chocolate. They truly are virtually indestructible, and shouldn't require refrigeration. However, do make sure that you line your pan when baking the tartlets as the filling spurts and bubbles like mad and overflows all over!

The tartlets were delicious - crispy and crunchy yet soft to the bite.

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I recently purchased Bruce Weinstiens book on brownies (well, a different recipe on the same topic is still different, no?).........I tried his basic brownie (outstanding, if I recall correctly it's flourless), his peanut butter accented choc. brownie was very good, his marbled (cheesecake) one that the photo is on the front cover of his book......is also outstanding.

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Thanks for all the input, I am definately going to try lots of these, due to the fact that I have to make them in advance and freeze, I dont think the tartlets will work, but if they are good I will still have to make them :smile:

I recently purchased Bruce Weinstiens book on brownies (well, a different recipe on the same topic is still different, no?).........I tried his basic brownie (outstanding, if I recall correctly it's flourless), his peanut butter accented choc. brownie was very good, his marbled (cheesecake) one that the photo is on the front cover of his book......is also outstanding.

I thought it was just me who could not get away from brownies and all their variations, it must be the choclate!

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I know you said you are hoping to get away from brownies, but I have a recipe from an old Martha Stewart Living for cream cheese blondies that looks amazing. I'll try to type it up in the next few days.

Also, the newest issue of Bon Appetit features a recipe for brownies with caramel, fig and dried cherry jam that look really interesting, too. Doesn't appear that the recipe's on line yet, but maybe soon.

Other than that, these oatmeal coconut raspberry bars (from Epicurious) are always a hit and are easy easy:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/106179

And these peanut butter and jelly bars are awesome too (my husband's favorite treat - no kidding):

http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml?ty...true&resultNo=9

Good luck!

Bryan

Bryan Ochalla, a.k.a. "Techno Foodie"

http://technofoodie.blogspot.com/

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

Orson Welles (1915 - 1985)

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  • 1 year later...
...

millionaire shortbread - layer of shortbread on the bottom, topped with gooey fudge, topped with dark chocolate?  heart attack in a baking tray, but delicious.

...

Here's a thread on millionaire bars and shortbread: click

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Try the gooey bar possibilities - you start with a box mix and 1 egg and a melteed stick of butter, press in 9x13 pan, 1 pkg cream cheese, another stick butter - 3 cups confectioners sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and 2 eggs - to this you can get as creative as you want - pour on top - bake 350 till only wiggles a little in the middle - 45-50 minutes. Freezes well - cuts best when cold. Ideas in the Southern Lady and Sons cookbook.

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