Monday, September 19, 2011

TGIF (Thank God It's Fall) Bars

I've got a recipe to share this week, in honor of my favorite season:  FALL.  This is hands-down my favorite time of year, even though as a gardener things are winding down here in the northeastern U.S.  I love the clear days, crisp evenings, bright starry nights, and wonderful colors of fall in my part of the country.  I love the harvest festivals, pumpkins, apples, cool-weather comfort food and hot drinks after long walks.  Okay, so it's not officially fall until this Friday.  I don't care - it feels like fall, the leaves are turning, and I'm ready.

This recipe is new - I just threw it together a couple days ago.  Sometimes that kind of tinkering results in something good.  (Sometimes I wind up with "meh," or "blecch," but this time was "Ooooooh!  YUM.")  It's a perfect fall snack bar, not too sweet and not too guilty.  Enjoy!

TGIF (Thank God It's Fall) Bars

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1/4 cup shortening
2 eggs (I used XL; if you use M eggs, use three)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole rolled oats
2 1/4 cup white unbleached flour
3 tsp. fresh grated orange zest
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the butter, shortening, and sugar until blended.  Mix in both eggs, and beat until light (a couple minutes).  Add the orange zest, oats, flour, salt and soda, and mix until just combined.  Stir in the cranberries and walnuts by hand.  Pat the mixture into a greased and floured 9" x 13" baking pan.  (The dough is thick and sticky - you may want to put a dab of shortening on your fingers to help spread it out evenly.)  Sprinkle with white sugar - I used a few tablespoons of regular granulated sugar, but I bet large-crystal sugar would be really wonderful on this.  Bake at 350F for 27-30 minutes, until light golden brown on top.  Let it cool, cut, and serve (or store in an airtight container).  Yield:  24 bars.