Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin nut bars

Around my forth bite of the persimmon nut bars I made recently, I thought, "hmmm...these are really tasty, but the persimmon flavor isn't quite strong enough, I bet they would be yummy with another kind of fruit."

A few days later, I had just been to the grocery store, and excited to see pumpkin was back in stock after the fall harvest, I had bought 3 cans, without any direct intention of how to use them. It was an impulse buy, like gum at the cash register or big blocks of feta cheese.

The fates coincided. I would make pumpkin flavored [persimmon] bars. I decided to double the recipe and make a 9x13 pan of said bars because I had a friend who'd be coming to stay in a few days and I thought it would be nice to have something to feed her. And I like pumpkin, have I mentioned this?

I start mixing up my ingredients and realize I'm just tad short of almost everything essential to make a double batch. I needed 1 cup vegetable oil and had to use about a 1/4 cup of olive oil to make it. I was almost a whole cup shy of flour and tossed in some bread flour, not really sure what the difference was and what the consequences might be. I also noticed half way through that I made a serious judgement mistake in trying to make the persimmon bars with pumpkin puree. Anyone see it? Yea the texture of the two is totally different. I thought with the spices it would be a nice flavor combo but I probably should have looked up a pumpkin bar recipe, batter was very cake-like. I even put in some extra (bread) flour. But I baked it anyway. What's the worse that can happen? Already used all the ingredients, might as well go all the way!

Results? Pumpkin cake. So not bars, but very moist and fluffy pumpkin cake. It also made a ton, I've been eating it for days and still have some, plus I put a fair amount in the freezer. So sometimes the random experiments work! But I still probably need to learn to check my ingredients before I start.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Persimmon nut bars

One of my coworkers brought some persimmons to the office this week because she had received way too many from her aunt. What is a persimmon? Good question! It's a fruit! It kind of tastes like a berry flavored apple with a very apple like texture (depending on ripeness). The photo below shows persimmons, see the slice in the back for an idea of what it looks like cut open. These are fuyu persimmons, what I understand to be the less common variety.

I had drank persimmon juice blends, but this was the first time I'd actually seen one in the flesh (pun so intended). So I took a few and set about to figuring out what to do with them. My coworker recommended a persimmon bunt cake.

I found a recipe online for some persimmon bars, seemed tasty and lots of people had rated it highly. Plus I had almost everything needed to make it so, why not? When else am I really going to make persimmon bars? Probably never. See the original source of the recipe here.

They were tasty! Very spicy and nutty (I put walnuts in). I skipped the raisins, I honestly thought adding raisins would be a bit overkill, maybe if you prefer to skip the nuts go for the raisins. Definitely plan to bake them longer than 20 minutes! Mine were very gooey, to the point I considered sticking them back in but I had already put the glaze on. Plan to bake them at least 25 minutes, be warned they looked done and "fluffy" when the 20 minutes were up, so proceed with caution. The glaze also pooled a little bit, so you might want to try spreading it with a pastry brush. I attempted to drizzle it, but it did not really work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Twice baked butternut mousse

It's officially fall. I'm buying butternut squash and thinking about recipes for pumpkin...though canned pumpkin is still in short supply. Come on harvest! Aside from the food, I'm not ready for the cold weather, but I digress.

My mom makes an excellent twice baked potato. So I was thinking, why not try a twice baked butternut squash? Yummy.


1 butternut squash (I think mine was 2lbs)
8 oz cream cheese (spreadable)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs


Hand mixer

Slice squash in half, remove seeds and fibers. Place in a pan with 1/4 inch of water in the bottom, season squash lightly with salt and pepper, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until squash is tender. Allow cooked squash to cool, and remove cooked flesh from peel and place in medium size mixing bowl. Using hand mixer, blend cream cheese with squash. Put squash mixture in baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for an additional 20-25 minutes.

This turned our pretty well considering I kinda winged it, though I had my doubts at times. It was very rich and had a creamy texture. I might work with it a little more and try to get the consistency to be a bit more firm like a twice baked potato, maybe I need to bake it longer the second time or less the first time, I'm not sure. I'll be honest, after mixing the squash with cream cheese it kinda looked like baby a little firmer of a texture would be an improvement!