Monday, August 15, 2011

Oak Bars

When I stumbled across the recipe for Oak Bars on Cook Like a Champion's blog, I knew I had to make them. In fact, not only did I run right out to buy the ingredients to make them, I also hopped on Amazon and ordered the book that the original recipe comes from: The Boozy Baker. With a name like that, I was guaranteed to like the book, so I figured it would be worth my while to buy it. I've only made this recipe (so far), but I have no doubt that I will be pulling that cookbook off my shelf quite frequently. In fact, just because it seemed like a good idea, I ordered some of the other cookbooks that Amazon suggested, based off my selection: Cooking with Booze and Booze Cakes. Are we sensing a trend, here? Enough about my alcoholic cooking tendencies (for now), though....

I suggest going wine tasting at your favorite local vineyard(s) so that you can pick a nice, oaky Chardonnay. Don't skimp here. You want lots of oak. The recipe doesn't use a huge amount of Chardonnay, so it needs to pack a punch. I made the mistake of getting a recommendation from the wine guy at my local grocery store, and the Chardonnay was not oaky enough for my taste. I'm looking forward to trying this with one that's more heavily oaked. And, the recipe doesn't use much, so you can splurge on something that you'll enjoy drinking--after all, someone's got to finish the rest of the bottle!

The toasted cashews and butterscotch chips are the perfect counterpoint to this recipe--it's worth the effort to find unsalted cashews. I've never used them in a blondie recipe before--I usually just use walnuts, but the cashews definitely took this recipe over the top to add a whole new dimension of flavor. Walnuts just wouldn't cut it. And the butterscotch chips--need I say more? Everything's better with butterscotch chips! After one of the longest introductions I've done, it's high time to get to the recipe...hopefully all this buildup has succeeded in convincing you that you need to make these...NOW!

Oak Bars (from The Boozy Baker)

  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. Chardonnay
  • 1/2 c. toasted, chopped, unsalted cashews
  • 3/4 c. butterscotch chips

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the Chardonnay. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until nearly combined. Stir in the cashews and butterscotch chips.

Pour into a greased 8x8" or 9x9" pan, and smooth the surface. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden at the edges and just set in the center.

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