Thursday, March 24, 2011

[Cookie 102] Raisin Bars


I hate blogging. I like baking, I like baking all these cookies, I like sharing them, I like you readers (most of you), and I like taking pictures, but I don't like updating this thing. I mean seriously, does anyone actually like to do that? Okay, I guess a lot of people.

Forgive me. And you will, once you make these Raisin Bars.


Some notes: The filling is really rad, but would be even radder if you used figs or prunes. Or a combination. Remember these fig bars? They had the most amazing filling, with red wine, honey, and (duh) figs. That would taste pretty damn good in this oatmeal crust. Probz better than the fig bar pastry crust, which was mediocre.


Hope you are having a nice spring! More posts, more often, I promise. I make no promise on the quality or attitude of them.

P.S. Just read over some old posts. Not sure if I should feel hideously embarrassed about this whole blog and my writing, or proud of my sharp tongue and slick wit. I'm going to go with the former.


Raisin Bars
Makes 16 wimpy, or 9 fatty squares


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet
  • 2 cups raisins (about 13 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set sheet aside.

  2. Make filling: Pulse raisins and sugar in a food processor until almost pureed. Transfer to a saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into 1 cup cold water; whisk into raisin mixture. Stir in cider. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and sugar has dissolved, about 6 minutes.
    Let cool completely.

  3. Make dough: Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugar, and mix until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Mix in oats.

  4. Press half the dough into prepared baking sheet. Spread raisin filling evenly over top of dough. Crumble remaining dough on top of filling using your fingers, gently pressing down so that topping covers filling. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch
    squares. Bars can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 3/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 2.5/5
Is it worth it?: Yeah bro

Drink: Apple cider
Song: Friday -- Rebecca Black (no link, I'm not that mean--just trying to keep up with pop culture here!)
Activity: Write my blog 4 me cuz i am lazee

Sunday, March 6, 2011

[Cookie 101] Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies


So, I don't know if anyone noticed or cared, but I'm not doing the roundup of the past 10 recipes and reviewing them all. I barely have enough time (read: I barely have enough willpower) to write the regular blog posts here, so I'm getting rid of the excess baggage. I don't think I'm letting anyone down. Right? Yeah, I doubt anyone even knows what I'm talking about. Good.


Aaaanyways, let's get on to the first cookie of the new centennial! Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies are probably not one of the recipes you've been itching to make. Me neither--they definitely weren't one of the recipes I've had my eye on for a while. They just sort of slipped under my radar and I always figured I'd make them some time, just not now. Well, I finally made them on a whim one afternoon, and they totally warranted my indifference. They were bland, boring looking, and pretty drab. I mean seriously--look at them! Totally lame.


I guess this is the part where I generally try to convince you to make these cookies because they are actually better than they look or something, but I'm not going to try and deceive you. If you want blondies, make these (even though I screwed up that recipe royally, I think that they are probably supposed to be delicious). But these guys, these guys here...they taste more like a quick bread, like banana bread without the bananas. And who would want that? Nobody! And the cream cheese? Well, at least they had that, but it wasn't enough to keep me interested.


Now, maybe you're not convinced not to make these, and you still want to. Well, maybe you could spice them up a bit--literally, add a little nutmeg or cinnamon. Or maybe stir in some chocolate swirls, or even add some nuts. Something. Anything. Oh, or try adding a streusel topping! That always makes things better.


Well, I guess I don't have much to say other than that. The recipe is super simple and it's always mildly entertaining getting to swirl two batters together like this. But other than that, I'd pass this guy up.


I'm starting to realize that all the recipes I have left to bake are either: A) Totally time consuming and tedious; B) Way too fatty to make just for 3 people; C) Or both. Hm. Well, my obsessive-compulsive desire to finish the project still prevails, so I guess you'll see how this all turns out.

c u l8r


Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies
Makes 9 large or 16 small squares


  • 11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 2/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
  • Whisk together 1 2/3 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  • Put 9 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Put cream cheese, granulated sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until just smooth.
  • Pour half the blondie batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon two-thirds of cream-cheese mixture on top, and spread evenly. Drop dollops of remaining batter on top (spacing about 1 inch apart), and spread. Top with dollops of remaining cream-cheese mixture, about 1 inch apart.
  • Gently swirl cream cheese mixture into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 45 to 47 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Blondies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 2/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
    Tastiness: 2/5
    Attractiveness: 2/5
    Is it worth it?: To put it plainly, no. But then again, they require zero effort.

    Drink: Nothing. Seltzer?
    Song: Saw the Smith Westerns play last night, and now I am even more in love with them than before. Their single Weekend is adorable x 100000 and has a great music video.
    Activity: Skip making these, and just listen to them ^