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

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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.

RESPECT.

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.
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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.

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Hey over there! So, is it feeling a little like the calm before the storm over where you are? Literally, the world, after you stop looking at the news and Facebook and breath some of that outside air seems a little quieter and calmer. Maybe it’s just me. Entirely possible. Walking around town yesterday morning with a thick mist hanging over everything sounded just the same as when snow starts coming down in earnest, and when you go outside and shut the door behind you and just stand… well it sounded just like that.

Processed with VSCO

Processed with VSCO


It won’t last for long, so if you’re feeling it too, drink it in and keep it stored for when the holiday rush toward whatever comes.
It is National Brownie Day, and it is no accident that the goodies pictured here are so dark. They are the deepest, richest, darkest brownies I have in my collection. I kind of love them.
If you are not 100% familiar with pain d’epices, think of it as the French version of gingerbread. Not the cookie, either, but an actual slice-able loaf of deeply spiced yumminess.
The brownie version I have for you today gets its flavor from all of the spices typically found in pain d’epices- cinnamon, cardamon, honey, rye flour and from extra-dark cocoa powder, and I am unabashedly borrowing a few ingredient proportions from this NYTimes/Violet Bakery recipe, here.

Pain d’Epices Brownies

11 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped small
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped small
1 1/2 c. dark rye flour
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cardamon
1/4 tsp. ground anise
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 9″ x 13″ sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

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Melt the butter and both chocolates in a bowl set over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and keep warm.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and all of the spices together and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, and orange peel. Whisk vigorously to combine.
Pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk/fold to combine completely.
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Sift the dry ingredients once more, on top of the chocolate mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold the ingredients together until just combined.
Pour into the paper-lined pan and smooth the top.
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Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the edges are set and the middle is very soft under a dry surface, about 15-18 minutes.
Cool to room temperature before cutting into pieces, then sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and eat with reckless abandon.