Princess Bars

Every now and then a girl needs permission to embrace the whole princess thing.

It should include a pot of tea… and Princess Bars.

Silly me – I thought everyone knew how to make them.

I guess not, judging from the blank stares that people have given me when I asked what their favorite parts of Princess Bars were.

If I had to say what my favorite part were – the sweet, crumbly, coconutty base and/or topping or the fruit filling – well – it would depend on the moment. They’re just so right, it’s pretty much impossible to choose what’s best!

Things that make these unbeatable?

  1. They’re ridiculously easy to make.
  2. You can make them up, store them in a disposable aluminum pan in the freezer, and then bake them off at a moment’s notice.
  3. They’re a fabulous way to use up the tail end of last year’s jam or jelly!
  4. They have such a lovely, light, flavoring with the combination of extracts that you truly can use ANY fruit filling – anything from pineapple, or tropical blend, to crabapple, to berry of any type, to apple pie – and end up with an absolutely delightful result.

Add to that the fact that you will be loved forevermore whenever you happen to share them – well, a win all the way around, right?!

Princess Bars

Ingredients
3/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 1/4 Cups Sugar, granulated
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Butter (at room temperature)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 Large Egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Maple flavoring
1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
2 Cups Coconut (fine, unsweetened)
2 Cups Fruit Preserves

Preheat oven to 375° F.

  1. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and extracts/flavoring.
  2. Mix together flour and coconut just to incorporate. Add to the creamed mixture and mix to streusel consistency. Do not over mix! Scrape the bowl several times, fluffing mixture and breaking up large clumps. Use a very light hand with this mixture!
  3. Place about half of the mixture into the bottom of a clean, unlined quarter sheet pan (13″ x 9″).
  4. Pack down into the bottom of the pan with your hands; you may use a rolling pin to compact. The dough should be solid and completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Top the dough with fruit preserves. It should be fairly thick – at least 1/4 an inch thickness.
  6. With the remaining streusel mixture – make certain that it is completely broken up – no big clumps! Sprinkle on top of the fruit filling, distributing evenly. Press down very lightly.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. It will be a lovely golden brown on top. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Notes:

These freeze beautifully before baking.

You can conceivably use ANY fruit preserve as the filling.

GG’s Oatmeal Cookies

…are amazing – so it’s a good thing it’s a Fight Back Friday!

My great-grandmother (known as GG in notes from old recipes in my Mom’s things) was a professional cook. She worked at a sanatorium in Booneville, Arkansas and my great-grandfather was the dairyman there, as well. My Grammy married their son – my Grandpa (who I was certain was Santa Claus when I was a little girl) in 1936. Here’s a picture of Grandpa and Grammy in front of the sanatorium when they were courting – they’re the couple on the far right.

ANYWAY, Grammy often confided in me that her mother-in-law (Laura Opal Gatton White) was the most INCREDIBLE cook and baker. One of the things that Grammy particularly loved was GG’s amazing oatmeal cookies.

When I was growing up I could never understand oatmeal cookies that weren’t THESE oatmeal cookies. (Okay – so it’s true – I still can’t!)

I will warn you – they are habit forming.

The nice light crisp factor brought into play with the flake cereal is really the key to this. My rant on flake cereals is long and boring – so I’ll show great restraint and spare you – but suffice it to say DON’T use flake cereal with all sorts of crap added in, okay? Avoid the HFCS, avoid the chemicals, and avoid the soy protein. Good grief – can’t we just have an honest to goodness plain, simple, flake cereal that doesn’t taste like cardboard? Well, yes you can, but it will take you a while to find it. Believe me – been there, done that! (That’s why I love
New Season’s Market!)

Okay – so – insider tips:

DO use real butter.

DO NOT use butter flavored Crisco – they turn into a horrifying mess with it. Blech! Shudder! JUST DON’T DO IT!

DO use good quality Oatmeal.

DO use a nice quality flake cereal.

And, lastly – really, truly, completely honestly – these genuinely are best NOT hot right out of the oven. Give them time to cool completely. Maybe even let them age a few hours, as well. They really are best when they’ve had a little while to breathe.

Enjoy!

 GG’s Oatmeal Cookies

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(No picture of flour or sugars – sorry! – they’re stored in a BIG bin that I can’t lift to the counter top!)

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Granulated sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup Oatmeal (not instant!)
1 cup Flake cereal

 Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cream the butter and sugars on high speed of a stand mixer for 3 minutes – until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl half way through to ensure even mixing.

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Just in case you didn’t know – there’s a GREAT alternative to having to stop everything and scrape down your mixing bowl.

See this paddle attachment?  It’s a clear acrylic-type material with silicone scrapers attached to the edge.

IT’S WORTH IT’S WEIGHT IN GOLD.

Seriously.  You need one of these!

 

 

Add eggs and vanilla extract to the creamed mixture and mix on high speed for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl.

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  1. THIS is what it’s supposed to look like after you’ve got the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla added in.

Isn’t light and fluffy pretty?

 

 

 

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add to creamed mixture and mix just until completely incorporated.

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“Just incorporated” means it may not be perfectly all mixed in – but it will be mostly mixed in.

Just remember you’ve got one more step to mix in – so it’s okay!

 

 

 

Add oats and flake cereal. Mix together just until incorporated – DO NOT OVERMIX!

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That’s it!  See?  A breeze, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.

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Do you have a Sil-Pat – or four?  ‘Cause if you don’t – this is something you want to put on your birthday or Christmas list.

Don’t make the mistake of asking for two – you NEED four.  There is nothing like baking on these things – they’re wonderful!

 

 

 

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Notes:

I’m picky about the oats and the flake cereal. I really believe that a steel cut oat gives a superior outcome. And I avoid any cereal with high fructose corn syrup or soy additives – it can make finding a flake cereal a big challenge!

Interestingly enough – these are really best once they’ve cooled completely and been around for a few hours. Hot right out of the oven – not so much. Give them some time to cool and age a bit before digging in.

 

 

 

  

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