Apricot Crumble Bars

Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Now that you have a haul of gorgeous sunny jam or if you just love apricot things lets get down to business. These bars have lots of my favourite things. Apricots. Jam. Oats. Sesame. They also remind me of a time and place. When I was younger I used to go to the corner bakery and get these trashy apricot squares. They were two layers of soft shortcake sandwiched with a tall layer of stiffly gelled apricot filling. There’s a good chance that nothing approaching a real ripe apricot ever went near them. But they were gooey and tart and I loved them. Today we are taking a soft shortcake base and slathering it in good jam before sprinkling it with chewy, nutty buttery goodness. I mean it’s practically cereal with all those oats and fruit… These bars are a breeze to throw together. I recommend getting an adjustable or loose bottomed rectangular pan if you can get your hands on one. It just makes life easier. When the bars are cold you just pull apart the two pieces and cut them up right on the cutting board. It work’s particularly well for slices that have fillings or delicate tops.

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Rhubarb + Strawberry Shortcake

 Prep Time : 10+15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30+30 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! I thought I better make you a rhubarb treat before I eat all the rhubarb. Sorry Halloween. Priorities. Rhubarb is the best. And it’s great friends with strawberries. And custard. So lets pile them all in together. We are cooking the fruit first so we can control the moisture. Strawberries and rhubarb both release a lot of liquid when they cook. We don’t want it making our shortcake soggy. We’re flavouring our shortcake with custard powder. Keeping it classy. And delicious. We’re adding some sliced almonds for crunch. Making sure we have a good mix of textures. These are easy to throw together. Put the oven on. Prep the fruit. While the fruit is roasting get everything else ready. Let the fruit cool, put it together and pop it back in the oven. A sprinkle of icing sugar and we’re done. Serve as fancy spring afternoon tea or add custard and promote these bars to dessert. May spring be with you.

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Wishing it was Spring Streusel Bars

 Prep Time : 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! The greyness continues. So we reach for flavours that make us think of sunny days. Lemon. Coconut. These bars take a little time but it’s all easy work done by hand. Pottering in the warm haven of the kitchen. I adapted this recipe from one of the lovely birthday books my snug bug gave me – Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss. Most of the recipes feature a lot less sugar that we are used to. I have added a little more here but it only brings the total to 5 tablespoons (!) for the base and streusel. And it’s more than enough. The base for these bars is more in a cookie style rather than a lofty shortcake. Buttery shortcrust base. Gooey tangy curd. Crunchy aromatic streusel. All good things. Use a store-bought or home made curd as you wish! Then close your eyes and think of palm trees…

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{Peach + Ginger} Meringue Pie Shortcake

 Prep Time : 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 10 + 30 Minutes | Total Time : 2 Hours | Difficulty : Moderate


Hello my lovelies! We’re mixing things up here today. These bars are kinda like pie. Kinda like shortcake. But better. Faster and easier than pie. Fancier than shortcake. This is a base recipe that you can adapt to whatever jam or fruit curd you have on hand. I made a Peach and Ginger Jam just last week that I have been itching to use. I have included a separate printable to make the jam if you want to. The recipe makes enough for these bars and maybe an extra bit for a piece of toast.  If you make the jam add an extra 30 minutes to the prep time and put the jam in the fridge to set up while you work on the other layers. Kiwis may recognise a relative of Louise Cake here. I have made the meringue much more pillowy than is traditional. And coconut is optional. Depending on your flavours it may add or subtract. Use your judgement. I trust you.

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Blueberry Shortcake Crumble Bars

 Prep Time : 10 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 45 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Easy


We are optimistically pretending that summer still exists. Blueberry and lemon. A bright joyful pairing. Sunny, sweet and satisfying. These shortcake bars are tender, buttery optimism. Apply to face. Who needs a tan anyway. I am still using up my stash of blueberries snaffled from my parents’ place. Thanks Mum! These bars are easy to make and even easier to eat. There is a bit of faffing around but it’s worth it. It is a little tricky to tell when they’re done – just press in the centre with your finger – if they still feel squishy give them a bit more time.

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Black Forest Cheesecake Bars

 Prep Time : 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 10 + 40 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Easy


Hello my lovelies! I am going through a preserving phase at the moment. One of the first things I made was a cherry jam and I have been looking for ways to use it. There’s only so much toast a girl can eat. And I eat a lot of toast. I had a friend over for dinner on Monday so I put my thinking cap on and came up with these bars. They came perfectly. I think I have my new go-to cheesecake bar. Ready for umpteen flavour variations. Cheesecake for life. This also falls squarely into my goal to eat more things I made myself this year. I had half a batch of homemade graham crackers that found a home here alongside the jam. It’s absurdly satisfying. Like I’m cheating or something. You should make the graham crackers by the way. Alice Medrich is a queen. I am going to adapt them into a low sugar snacking cookie sometime soon. Focus, we’re talking about cheesecake today! To avoid a lumpy filling it’s important that all your ingredients are at room temperature, especially the cream cheese. If you need to warm ingredients in a hurry, place the sealed packages in warm water 10 to 15 minutes.

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Gluten Free Keffir Lime + Chili Chocolate Truffle Cake

 Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 25 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy


Hello my lovelies! I know it feels early  with daylight savings and all, but you can always make yourself an ultra-rewarding chocolate hit in almost no time at all so life can’t be that bad. It’s been a very chocolate filled week. After recipe testing this bad boy and our annual trip to the Amora Hotel Chocolate Buffet for dinner the other night I am probably at peak chocolate saturation, medically speaking…

You guys, this cake is amazing. It is incidentally gluten free, but mostly just delicious. It is adapted from one of my favourite books Flavour Flours by Alice Medrich. If you are gluten free, or just like to experiment with different flours it is fabulous. This recipe utilises two of my favourite baking concepts. Rebranding and things-that-look-fancy-but-are-actually-super-easy. The astute among you may realise that you are essentially making a large round brownie. But now that it’s round and you’re serving it slightly warm in wedges it’s a truffle cake. Bam. Regardless of whether you are on board with that concept, you will still be making some of the most amazing tasting brownies ever.

The second important takeaway is that asian supermarkets and stores are your friend. For more than just things  you need to make dinner. Any of the asian supermarkets I have gone to here have gochugaru or korean chili flakes. Try to get one that is made by sun-drying the chili if you can for the best flavour. I absolutely love gochugaru and I use it everywhere. It is less hot and more flavourful than regular western chili powder and adds a lot of fruitiness. I also learned that indian stores have an insane range of alternative flours at really reasonable prices. In NZ it is slowly getting easier to buy alternative flours in supermarkets, but most still require a trip to a health or organic store where they can be eye-wateringly expensive.

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