True confession: I have an addiction I feel I may need to get under control. It’s these, people.


Community cookbooks are piling up in the corners of my home, beckoning to me from the bookshelves, and calling out to me from any thrift shop, estate sale, and used book store I might be in close proximity to. Before there was recipe-sharing websites, Instagram, and Facebook, people showed off their star recipes in soft cover spiral-bound collections, rife with typos, oddball names, and corrections pages.
I’m selective. If the recipes in one lean heavily on boxed cake mix, shortening, or obsolete bottled spice blends, I’ll throw it back in the pile. And move on to the next and the next until I find the one or six that I can’t live without.
The pay-off is recipes like Macnutbutter Coffee Bars, which I probably wouldn’t have thought of, but am so happy to have found. I’ve messed around with the recipe a little bit but it is mostly faithful to the original version. Whoever the recipe belongs to, thanks for sharing!

Macnutbutter Coffee Bars

1 c. roasted macadamia nuts (not salted)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c. rolled oats
1 Tbsp ground coffee (the finest grind you can manage)

1/3 c. chocolate chips
1 c. macadamia nuts, chopped, for garnish
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp. powdered milk

Preehat the oven to 350F. Line a 9″x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Put the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth butter forms.

Too chunky. Keep twirlin'.

Too chunky. Keep twirlin’.

Remove 1/4 c. of the nut butter and reserve for later.

Way better. This doesn't look like very much, but trust me, it's plenty. Take out that 1/4 cup.

Way better. This doesn’t look like very much, but trust me, it’s plenty. Take out that 1/4 cup.

Add the softened butter and continue to run the machine until fully incorporated. Add the sugars and process again. Have you scraped the bowl with a rubber spatula yet? If not you’re overdue, so scrape down the sides and across the bottom. Sift together the dry ingredients, and them to the nut mixture, and process just until a soft dough comes together.

Okay, can we talk a minute about using the food processor for mixing what is pretty much just blondie dough? I know I don’t have any other recipes that do that. I have one thing to say to the originator of this recipe.


Anyhoo, add the oats and pulse about ten times to combine.

This is the part where I start giggling, for I cannot help myself. I kind of love my Cuisinart right now.

This is the part where I start giggling, for I cannot help myself. I kind of love my Cuisinart right now.

Spread into the prepared pan. Sift the coffee evenly over the top and place in the oven.
Bake 25-28 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the middle is just set (but still a little soft).
Immediately sprinkle the chocolate on top, allow to melt, and spread evenly.

Add the second cup of macadamia nuts to the top. Mix the remaining 1/4 c. macadamia butter, milk powder, and confectioner’s sugar together in a small bowl. Mix in water, in small additions, until just thin enough to drizzle onto the bars, then apply.

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Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 even squares, then eat them. All of them.


Okay, I know it’s “that time of the year”, but I am loathe to eat and drink all of the super-sweet pumpkin-y stuff that’s out. I don’t have much use for the toaster tarts, sandwich cookies or coffee drinks these days because to me they’re too freaking chock full of sugar, even for me. Give me a savory pumpkin dish, though, and you have a friend forever.

So, here is my contribution. It’s good as a holiday side, but just fabulous as an alternative to mac ‘n cheese.

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Savory Pumpkin Spaetzle Gratin

2 bay leaves
1 c. pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 egg
1 tsp. olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of black pepper
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

4 oz thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, thinly sliced
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 c. grated gruyere
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the spaetzle:

Crack the egg into a medium bowl and beat it a little. Add the pumpkin, olive oil, and nutmeg and blend. Using a strong rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, beatin the flour and salt a little at a time. You should have a really sticky, fairly smooth mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Bring the water and bay leaves to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
Position a spaetzle maker, large colander, or medium-gauge shredder* over the boiling water. Working in small batches, squish the dough through the tool of your choosing, into the water. The spaetzle is done when it floats to the surface and boils there for 30 seconds. Remove them from the pot and rinse in a colander under cold water to stop them continuing to cook.
Once all the spaetzle is cooked and cooled, pour into a shallow baking dish and set aside.

For the gratin:

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Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat. Add the sliced shallot and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown. Add the sage and toss together to combine. Remove from heat.

Combine the milk and cream in a separate bowl with the egg and yolk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk until fully combined. Sprinkle in the cheese, stir well, then pour evenly over the spaetzle.
Bake until the top is golden and bubbly, approximately 25 minutes.

Eat with reckless abandon.

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