Maple Walnut Bars

maple walnut bars I -1

Maple Walnut Bars
Crust adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Filling adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

This bar has a yummy and crunchy nut topping with a rich, buttery, and slightly salty crust. I like the thin gooey layer—sweet, but not too rich. It’s like pecan pie, but with walnuts instead.

Makes about: 50-60 bars (one 9×13 pan)
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Bake time: 15-18 minutes for crust; 8-15 minutes for filling

2 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/8 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 cups toasted walnut pieces

Special equipment
9×13 pan.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Toast walnuts for 6-8 minutes.
3. To prepare crust: combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and butter until crumbly.
4. Mix in walnuts.
5. Press mixture into parchment-lined 9×13 pan.
6. Bake crust for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. To make filling, mix together maple syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla, and salt.
8. Mix in walnuts.
9. Pour filling over crust. Bake until filling is set, 8-15 minutes. Don’t overbake! Let cool before cutting.


maple walnut bars i- 2


Granola Apple and Pear Crisp

pear apple granola apple crisp 1

Granola Apple and Pear Crisp
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The granola topping is quite yummy. Adding ½ cup butter seemed a little egregious, so I did reduce the amount of butter. I also added maple syrup instead of honey. It’s a delicious crisp, although it seems a little too rich for breakfast. Also, 3 pounds of apple is probably more than 5 cups, so perhaps this is why my crisp didn’t take as long to bake.

Makes about: One 9×13 tray
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes

5 cups chopped apples and pears (original recipe called for 3 lbs of apples)
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon

Granola topping
¼ cup butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups oats
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup shredded coconut

Special equipment
9×13 baking pan.

1. Preheat oven to 400F. (I baked at 350, and it turned out fine).
2. Mix apples with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in the baking pan.
3. Melt butter with the maple syrup. Stir in flour, oats, almonds, and coconut. The original recipe suggests cooking until clumps form, but I neglected to this (and it turned out fine)
4. Sprinkle granola mixture over the apples.
5. Bake until apples are softened, about 20 minutes. If the granola browns too early, cover with foil, then bake.

pear apple granola apple crisp 1

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies


Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Adapted from A Passion for Baking

I’ve adapted by reducing fat and sugar, so they’re not too sweet—just like the biscotti, actually. They’re still chocolatey, fudgy, and rich. By the way, these cookies don’t spread.

Makes about: 48+6 tsp size cookies
Prep time: 10 mins to mix
Bake time: bake 6-8 minutes/batch

½ cup butter
½ cup+1 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
½ cup toasted hazelnuts
½ cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream butter, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla together.
3. Mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
4. Stir in hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined sheet.
6. Bake 6-8 minutes, until cookies look dull on top.



Healthier Cinnamon-Apple Cake

healthier cinn apple cake-1

Healthier Cinnamon-Apple Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I tried making Smitten Kitchen’s Mom’s Apple Cake, but then I accidentally added too much flour when I halved the recipe…so I improvised! The resulting cake probably isn’t as moist as the original, but that could be remedied by baking a little shorter (15 minutes instead of 20) and by adding a bit more liquid. The apple topping really adds a nice amount of flavor and juiciness. I also reduced the sugar and put added some whole-wheat flour. If I made this again, I’d probably stir some of the apples into the batter, increase the soymilk to ½ cup, and bake for 15 minutes.
(also, they tasted better on the 3rd day, when the apple soaked into the cake…)

Makes about: 1 9×13 pan, or about 40 pieces
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes or until knife comes out clean

3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small chunks
1 tbsp cinnamon
2.5 tbsp sugar

1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder.
½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
½ cup soymilk (I used 3/8 cup, and the cake was a little dry)
2 ½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup walnuts (optional)

Special equipment
Knife for cutting apples, 9×13 bakng pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix apple chunks with cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
3. Mix together vegetable oil, sugar, soymilk, vanilla, and eggs.
4. Add in flour, salt, and baking powder.
5. Stir in walnuts if desired.
6. Pour batter into prepared parchment-lined pan.
7. Sprinkle apples evenly over the top.
8. Bake 15-20 minutes or until knife in the center comes out clean.
healthier cinn apple cake-2

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

choc hazelnut biscotti 1

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Source Smitten Kitchen via New York Times

These biscotti aren’t too sweet, yet they’re still rich with chocolate flavor and chunks of roasted hazelnut. I’ve made biscotti in the past, but they mostly turned into inedible rocks; fortunately, this wasn’t the case. Furthermore, they were very popular and actually all got eaten! Smitten Kitchen warns that the dough is extremely sticky, but I didn’t find this to be the case. I also omitted the espresso powder because the stuff in my house expired in 2010. And, there was white stuff in it. Of note, I also halved the Smitten Kitchen recipe, since 60 biscotti seemed a bit overkill.

Makes about: 25-30 biscotti
Prep time: 20 mins
Bake time: 15 mins+20ish mins

½ cup toasted hazelnuts (you can get pre-roasted ones at Trader Joe’s)
1 ¼ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp espresso powder
pinch of salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup + 3tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. If your hazelnuts are not pre-roasted, toast for about 10 minutes until the skin cracks. You can attempt to remove the skins, but it’s not necessary.
3. Beat eggs together. Reserve 1 tbsp to top the biscotti.
4. Beat in sugar.
5. Stir in flour, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, and baking powder.
6. Pat into a 6 inch square on a well-floured surface or on a piece of parchment paper.
7. Press in hazelnuts.
8. Roll dough to form a cylinder that’s about 12-15 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
9. Brush with egg.
10. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch.
11. Remove from oven and let cool.
12. Slice the cookie roll on an angle to form pieces that are ½ inch thick. The cookies might crack a bit and not retain their shape.
13. Bake 20 minutes until the slices look crisp and dry. I actually baked for about 10 minutes, and flipped the cookies over after 5 minutes, since I didn’t want the cookies to be too crisp.


choc hazelnut biscotti

Pear Oatmeal Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Pear Topping

pear pancakes 2

Pear Oatmeal Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Pear Topping
Inspired by Cookin Canuck; Pancakes adapted from Martha Stewart

These healthy and delicious oatmeal pancakes are topped with a healthier version of pear pie.

Makes about: 12 small (3’’) pancakes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: ~8-10 minutes/batch

1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup oats (I used muesli)
1 cup soymilk
1 egg
2 small pears, grated (about 1 cup)

Sauteed cinnamon pears
1.5 tsp butter
4 small pears (2 cups), peeled and chopped
1.5 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Special equipment
Nonstick pan

1. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oats. If desired, use a food processor or immersion blender to grind the dry mixture into a coarse meal. (This makes for a smoother pancake with smaller oat chunks).
2. Mix in soymilk, eggs, and grated pears.
3. To make pancakes, use a pancake griddle or use a nonstick pan over low-medium heat. When the edges have cooked, flip the pancake.
4. To make the cinnamon pear topping, melt butter over medium heat. Add pears, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened. (The pears will ooze some juice when you cook them).
5. Spoon finished topping over pancakes and enjoy!

pear pancakes 1

Cinnamon Apple Cake

apple cake 2

Cinnamon Apple Cake
Adapted from Beyond Kimchee’s Apple Brownies

This deliciously moist and fluffy cake is studded with juicy chunks of apple.

Makes about: One 8×8 pan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

½ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups apples (1 large apple), peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup walnuts (optional)

Special equipment
One 8×8 pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat together oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
3. Mix in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Stir in apple and walnuts.
5. Pour into parchment-lined 8×8 pan.
6. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until knife in the center comes out clean.

apple cake 1

Classic Brownies from Smitten Kitchen

classic brownie sk

Classic Brownies from Smitten Kitchen
Source: Smitten Kitchen

These brownies are rich and delicious, but not quite as gooey as this recipe.

Makes about: One 8×8 pan, or about 24 brownies
Prep time:
Bake time: 25-30 minutes

½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup+2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup+2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Special equipment
8×8 pan and a pot for melting chocolate.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Spread walnuts on baking pan and toast for 6-8 minutes.
3. Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat.
4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
5. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder.
6. Mix in walnuts.
7. Pour into parchment-lined 8×8 baking pan.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Favorite Brownies from Smitten Kitchen


Favorite Brownies from Smitten Kitchen
Source: Smitten Kitchen

These simple brownies are dense, gooey and rich and are delicious with ice cream.

Makes about: One 8×8 pan; about 25 pieces
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25-30 minutes

3 oz unsweetened chocolate
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup flour

Special equipment
8×8 pan, pot for melting chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Melt butter and chocolate together over low heat.
3. Whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Stir in salt and flour until just combined.
5. Pour into parchment-lined 8×8 baking pan.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes until a knife in the center comes out clean.
7. Let cool before cutting.