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Date, Pecan, and Chocolate Chip Blondies

Hiii guuuys,

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DISCLAIMER: this post is sassier and more sarcastic than usual. Don’t know. Bear with me.

Soooo I’ve had this box of medjool dates in the fridge for a while now and aucune idée what to do with them. Dates are wonderful, but to be honest, I’ve never really baked with them before. Or cooked with them. Yeah okay, I have very little date-experience (hahaaaaaa ha). Anywaaaays, ahem, I kept thinking about making some sort of raw Larabar/energy bar/raw healthy treat kinda deal with them and my new ~FOOD PROCESSOR~ (!!!!!) since they’re “nature’s natural sweetener” and “soooo nutritious” and all but just meh. I want something sweet and yummy and not healthy. Or at least, not masquerading as such. And I did not want anything “no-bake”. No-bake, no-fun, am I right?? (…) Basically what I’m trying to say is, I was in the mood to put something in the oven, smell it baking, and use all the willpower in the world to resist cutting into it before it cooled enough. So that’s exactly what I did. And ooooh was I happy with the result. (And oooooooh did these smell good while they were baking.)

This was an experiment gone awry wonderfully well! Since when does that happen ever?! I’ve been experiencing some odd health things lately (meh) but my doctor recommended I try to eat gluten free for a little while just to see if I respond well to that. Maybe I have some weird kind of food sensitivity, who knows. I blame my Paris bread-binge. Anyways, the point is, even as a temporary experimental trial-run kinda thing, being gluten free is HAAARD. I don’t even eat bread that much, but suddenly when I’m not allowed to have it, it’s all I want/think about/crave/yearn for. Okay maybe that’s a little extreme (or is it???) but honestly, for all you gluten-eaters, think about how many things have flour in them. Now, think about not being able to eat them. Tortillas. Cake. Sandwiches. Pizza. Mkay I have to stop before I start crying. But YEAH. Rough. Anyways, this means I’ve been getting creative with my baking. Just because all these things I’ve been making are gluten free, doesn’t mean they’re not just as delicious–perhaps even more delicious, I might venture to say (gasp!)–than their gluteny counterparts. These are pretty wonderful, guys. And like my brownies, they’re made with pretty snazzy ingredients. But don’t fret, friends, they do not taste “healthy” in the slightest. Truuust me.

1 1/2 c. almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 c. dates, pitted and chopped
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°, grease an 8×8″ pan with your oil of choice (coconut oil hollaaaa), and set aside. Sift together the almond flour, baking soda, coconut sugar, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla) and stir the two mixtures together. Gently fold in the dates, pecans, and chocolate chips and evenly spread into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until edges are lightly brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool. Dig in.

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So can someone hire me to be the in-house baker at their adorable little (but sometimes snobby) NYC coffee shop yet or what? I can bake trendy things! And they’re delicious! And I need a job! Lol jk I wish okay bye going to stop writing before you all hate me and refuse to read my blog ever again </3

Love, Emily

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Pecan Pie Bars

Hellooooo,

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Hi! I feel like every time I write a new post, I talk about how long it’s been since my last one. Yeah. Well. I’m trying! I always have a bunch of things to blog about and no time to actually sit down and do it. But here I am at a slow day at work, with plenty of time to devote to my Thanksgiving posts.

For Thanksgiving I traveled (by way of a 7 hour long bus ride from hell…but that’s a different story) to Boston to visit a friend for an extremely low-key, two-person Thanksgiving. Now to be quite honest, Thanksgiving for 2 people is hard! I know how to make this kind of food in vast quantities, but for just me and one other person it’s kind of an odd situation. I wanted turkey, but how are two people supposed to eat an entire turkey by themselves…? Unfortunately, I didn’t get my turkey. But I did make a fabulous roast chicken, twice-baked sweet potatoes, and Armen made his contribution of carmelized onions (thanks, Armen). I made a slightly adapted version of these bars as our Thanksgiving dessert. I cannot explain how badly I wanted pie, but Armen is picky/rude and vetoed both pumpkin and apple pie. I don’t want to talk about it. I was devastated. Also limited resources meant we had no pie pan, etc. etc. So we compromised and settled on pecan pie bars. Okay, to be fair, these were awesome. I really, truly enjoyed every bite of every one of these bars I ate (I ate at least…6 or 7? Oops) and would definitely make them again. I still resent them the teensiest, tiniest bit, but that’s just because I wanted a fall fruit pie so badly. In reality, these were really great. Make ’em.

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 egg

heaping 1/3 c. honey

heaping 1/3 c. brown sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. pecan halves

coarse salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Cream the sugar and butter together until combined, then beat in the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly but sticks together when pressed. Press this with your hands into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust looks dry and a little bit puffy. While your crust is baking, whisk together the egg, honey, more brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Once combined, stir in the pecans until coated and pour into the crust once it’s out of the oven. Rearrange the pecans a little if needed and stick it back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost completely set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt. Let them cool in the fridge (preferably overnight) before serving.

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I know, OVERNIGHT? The horror. Your kitchen/entire apartment will smell so delicious after baking these, but you must resist the urge to eat them fresh out of the oven! They won’t hold together and you’ll be eating a weird, soupy mess. Although I considered trying a warm one, I used my will power and managed to wait. I was so proud of myself.

I tried these in a variety of ways (all in the name of blogging, of course……): once heated in the microwave topped with vanilla ice cream, a bunch of times just plain cold out of the fridge, and twice cold with vanilla ice cream on top. My personal favorite was definitely cold, paired with ice cream. No comparison. The ice cream makes the already cold bars even chewier, and the vanilla adds an amazing contrast to the maple-y, nutty goodness. You have to do a little bit of aggressive crushing with your spoon in order to get proper bites, but it’s worth the extra effort. The two servings of these bars I ate like this were consecutive; I simply could not stop at just one.

Make these for some holiday gathering or something! Or to bring to work! Or to share with friends! Or to keep all to yourself! Just make these. They’re festive and great.

Love, Emily