RECIPE: MOLASSES & WALNUT BUTTER COOKIE BARS (GLUTEN FREE + DAIRY FREE)

in the craft cave of my dreams, walls are lined with spools and spools of candy striped string. drawers house every rubber stamp ever made. and endless stacks of earthy colored felt sit artfully on a rustic wooden table. 

glitter glue runs from a faucet, and yarn from my pet alpaca gets dyed with berries from the tree out back.

maybe a kiln will double as a pizza oven.

sigh.

the things we think of in anticipation of a craft workshop.

a craft workshop! i haven't been to a craft workshop since grade school art class when lisa frank was my bff. but now i am anxiously testing recipes for some goodies that i'm making for the guests at the be crafty workshop in fargo this weekend.

i'm so excited. i'm going to smear elmer's glue all over my hands and then peel it off.

(no i'm not.)

i'm in the early stages of a molasses obsession. i can feel it. i've never before had such strong feelings about molasses, but the other day at the bakery i was making about 12,000,000 gingerbread boys and the molasses smell approached me in a way it never had before. i suddenly needed molasses in all corners of my life.

is this what growing up is?

and speaking of the bakery, one of the owners was in the newspaper this week with a great recipe for walnut butter! i made it. and then i mixed it with molasses and a few other things to produce really delightful, chewy cookies!

i think they'll be the perfect crafting snack.  

molasses & walnut butter cookie bars

makes six large bars

ingredients

1 c walnut butter

2 tb molasses

1/2 c brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 c almond meal

a pinch of ground ginger

a pinch of salt

clues

preheat oven to 375.

line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

in a medium bowl, mix together the walnut butter, molasses, brown sugar, and egg.

in a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.

add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. (mixture should be a bit goopy, but manageable. if it's too moist, add a bit more almond flour.)

shape dough into bars, place them on your baking sheet, and bake for 18-20 minutes.

-yeh!

BAKEWELL BARS

and so we returned from our november journey baring artisan jalapeƱo jams and whiskey pickles, the types of things one rarely finds around here. we watched christmas movies and ate nougats as our train home whizzed past corn fields that got snowier and snowier as we made our way up north.

our little town welcomed us back with inches of snow and christmas lights everywhere. it's basically the north pole up in these parts and i'm just waiting for the day that eggboy can grow a beard so i can put a red hat on him and call him st. nick. (did you know, his real name is nick??)

christmas sweets are on the menu this week (and every week this month), so today i'm bringing you bakewell bars, which i made for my girl betty crocker! they are a hybrid of one of my favorite desserts, the british bakewell tart, and the things that everyone around here seems to be in love with: bars. people here love their bars.

so enjoy these, but don't overdo it because i'm about to kick it into overdrive with the sweets.

-yeh!

RECIPE: PISTACHIO & HAZELNUT LARABARS

today i am celebrating the end of my bakery night shifts!  

no more going to sleep at 4 pm, no more having to get dressed in the dark, no more "sorry, i can't get wasted with you right now because i have to work in two hours." 

i am so excited. 

i will still be working at the bakery, oh yes! my hours will be fewer to make way for some more writing, some scheming, and possibly even some commissioning. but they'll all be during the day. the glorious day. the glorious, sunny, vitamin d-filled day. yay! 

so far my celebration has included: buying gum paste, taking a shower, eating cheese on toast, daydreaming about the cake that i will make tomorrow, and making larabars from scratch. 

shit, you guys, making larabars is so easy. 

literally the larabar people have us fooled! i feel like if i were to buy a larabar now, it would be like buying a stick figure drawing.

i've seen a bunch of larabar recipes floating around the internet, so i know i'm no groundbreaker here, but it was just today that i got around to making some. i tailored my recipe to the amount of dates and the kinds of nuts that i had... and when i finished making them (in less than five minutes) i stood there all wide-eyed and shocked at how easy it was. and then i became flooded with ideas of what kind to make next. marzipan larabars. halvah larabars. so many larabars!

so much poop. 

anyway, it just occurred to me that i haven't yet had a celebratory i'm-not-nocturnal-anymore drink. bye!

pistachio & hazelnut larabars 

 makes 5 bars

1/3 c roasted hazelnuts*

1/3 c roasted pistachios*

salt, to taste (if your nuts are already salted you may not need to add more) 

1 tb unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 c pitted deglet noor dates  (an 8 oz. bag is about 1 1/2 cups)

*don't just stick to these, feel free to experiment with other nuts

clues 

combine nuts, salt, and cocoa powder in a food processor. grind them up until you have a mealy mixture and then pour them out into a medium bowl. 

place the dates in the food processor and then grind them into a paste. add the paste to the bowl and knead in the nuts (it may seem like a lot of nuts at first, but keep kneading).

on a piece of parchment paper, form a rectangle with the dough and then cut into bars. store in an air-tight vestibule(s). 

enjoy while watching this music video

-yeh! 

oh, bahahah p.s. happy halloween!