Tag Archive for Bars

Caramel Shortbread

Of course you can eat dulce de leche by the spoonful on its own, but it is also nice in baked goodies. The sweet and sticky dulce de leche complements the crumbly, buttery classic shortbread very well, making it a lovely indulgent baked goodie.


Caramel shortbread
Slightly adapted from “Desserts – James Martin”

1 can dulce de leche
250 g butter, room temperature
150 g sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g cornstarch
300 g flour

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 20×30 cm baking tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flours, mix with the butter-sugar mixture. Gently knead the dough until it comes together into a ball.
Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared tin. Scoop the dulce de leche on top and spread out to an equal layer. Crumble the remaining dough over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes. The caramel should bubble up a little between the dough and the top of the dough should be golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then cut into squares. Finish cooling in the tin.

Dutch food: Sheet Cookie Bar

Another Dutch baked goodie. It is similar to boterkoek, but the preparation is a bit different.

Sheet Cookie Bar

Sheet Cookie Bar
250 g butter
grated zest of 1 lemon
150 g sugar
pinch of salt
250 g flour
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare a 20x20cm baking tin (line with baking paper or grease).
Cream butter, lemon zest, sugar and salt together until almost white and very fluffy. Whisk the egg, add half to the buttercream and mix well. Add the flour and knead until smooth. Put in the prepared baking tin and flatten. Brush with the remaining egg. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then take out, cut in pieces and leave to cool completely.

Courgette Oatmeal Bars

And here is another recipe to use up courgettes. These bars are soft, sturdy and filling. I like it when things like this are not too sweet, but this recipe makes bars that are really just barely sweet. They were almost not sweet enough for my taste (although my husband adores them as they are), so when you like things to be sweeter, add more honey. They have quite an unique taste and texture, so it is quite hard to describe it accurately. Think more along the line of a sturdy baked oatmeal, than something like a cookie bar. They can be frozen very well, so you can make a batch and eat a square each day as a snack.

Courgette oatmeal bars (18 squares)
Slightly adapted from A Sweet Baker

2 cups grated courgette (about 1 large or 2 small courgettes)
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 23×33 cm baking dish with baking paper.
Mix courgette, eggs, coconut oil, milk, honey, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla well. Stir through the rolled oats, them fold in the raisins and walnuts.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and flatten with the back of a spoon until it is even.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from the baking dish (using the baking paper) and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for 2 days, or freeze them.

Dutch food: Stroopwafelarretjescake

Why would you make something with dry, plain and boring biscuits if you can make it with rich, caramelly, flavoursome stroopwafels? Arretjescake is a traditional Dutch treat, originally made with biscuits, sugar, fat for deep-frying (either beef fat or something plant-based) and cocoa powder, although the exact ingredients are different according to the region, and the same kind of cakes are made in other countries as well. It is not a cake in the traditional sense of the word, and it has to firm in the fridge instead of being baked. It became popular in the Netherlands after the recipe was in a promotional booklet from an oil/fat/margarine factory. The “Nederlandsche Oliefabrieken (NOF) Calvé-Delft” used the booklet, made in comic book style and figuring Arretje Nof as the main character, to promote the use of their products (hence the name of the cake).

I had to search quite a bit for a recipe, because I wanted one that used real chocolate for taste. I also wanted it to contain no eggs, because I was to serve it to a company with some kids present (which can’t safely eat raw eggs, just as pregnant woman, the elderly and immunocompromised people cannot). I also did not want to use beef fat because I was not sure if there would be any vegetarians present, and I dislike the use of margarine-like products so I did not want to use plant-based hard fat for deep-frying as well. But to keep it authentic I wanted to use some kind of hard fat, so I used extra virgin coconut oil. It worked great and gave the whole thing a tiny, mild flavour of coconut. I loved this, and haven’t heard from anyone that didn’t like it, but when you are an intense coconut hater I can imagine that even this tiny bit of coconut flavour is too much. Futhermore I chose a recipe that did not use extra sugar, because using stroopwafels instead of biscuits makes it already sweeter than it would normally be.

It is definitely best to serve this cake in tiny portions because it is so rich, and either directly from the fridge or only about 15 minutes left on room temperature, because it tends to melt quite fast. The fast melting can be a nuisance, but also makes it extra tasty because it makes the cake extra melt-in-the-mouth. Because of the liquid in the chocolate mixture, the stroopwafels get softer and almost melt into the chocolate mixture, and the sweet and creamy chocolate and the caramelly stroopwafels combine perfectly. If you want to make this in advance, you can. Just make sure you cover it well and keep it in the fridge, it should last for a few days.


Inspired on a recipe from Dr. Oetker 1000 Die besten Backrezepte

100 g dark chocolate
200 g milk chocolate
75 g coconut oil
100 g cream
8 g (1 packet) vanilla sugar
400 g (1 packet) stroopwafels

Prepare a muffin tin (20×26) or a cake tin (25×11) by lining it with cling film. Use a muffin tin when you want to serve the arretjescake in small squares (as I did), use a cake tin when you want to serve it in slices.
Chop both chocolates and place it with the coconut oil and the cream in a heat-proof bowl. Place this above a pan with boiling water to melt everything au bain marie. Stir occasionally and take from the heat when molten. Add the sugar and mix well.
Start by placing a layer of stroopwafels in the tin. Cut them according to the size of your tin, I used 2 stroopwafels cut in halve and a whole one placed in the middle. Alternatively you can use mini-stroopwafels or chop up the stroopwafels and place a layer of this in the bottom of the tin. Pour over a thin layer of the chocolate mixture. Place another layer of stroopwafels, then again pour a thin layer of chocolate on top. Repeat until you’ve used up both the stroopwafels and the chocolate mixture.
Place the stroopwafelarretjescake for at least 5 hours in the fridge, but preferably overnight. Use the cling film to release it from the tin after cooling, cut with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Dutch Food: Boterkoek

Boterkoek (literally butter cookie bar) is a much loved pastry in the Netherlands. It is a flat and round, and made with lots of butter (hence the name). Because it is very rich, it is best to serve small portions. And because butter gives this pastry not only its name, but also its flavour, it is best to use a very good butter.


From “Blueband Kookboek Gebak”

125 g butter
100 g fine sugar
1 packet of vanilla sugar (8 gram)
pinch of salt
150 g flour

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt together. Stir through the flour until a rough dough forms, then knead by hand until the dough is smooth. Wrap in cling film, then leave to rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
Grease a 24 cm boterkoek tin (or springform). Preheat the oven to 200C.
Take the rested dough. Press it out into the tin. Use a blunt knife to decorate the boterkoek with a pattern (optional) and brush with a little cold water. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cook the boterkoek in the tin, then carefully remove it.

Breakfast bars

I don’t find these bars filling enough for breakfast, but they are great as a delicious snack. They are not too sweet and have lots of flavour, and with all the grains and seeds they are healthy too. As a variation you could use other dried fruits, nuts or seeds, and I think that adding a little spice (vanilla, cinnamon, chai) would be delicious as well. They stay fresh for about 5 days in an airtight container, and they freeze well too.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars (12 bars)
Slightly adapted from ‘Glutenvrij koken – Lyndel Costain en Joanna Farrow’

100 g soft butter
25 g raw cane sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
125 g millet flakes
50 g quinoa
50 g dried cranberry’s
75 g raisins
25 g sunflower seeds
25 g sesame seeds
25 g linseed
40 g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
2 eggs

Line a 20×20 cm baking tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Scoop in the baking tin, level out and press down well with a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake in about 35 minutes golden brown.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Then take out and cut into 12 bars, using a sharp knife. Store airtight.

Raspberry white chocolate blondies

When I was asked to bring a dessert (well, actually I suggested that I would make the dessert, but anyway) I immediately though of raspberry white chocolate blondies. I was completely sure that I had a recipe for these blondies, but when I started to search around in my extensive recipe collection, I could not find it. Did I imagine that I had this recipe? In the end I gave up looking and started to search online for a good recipe. It took some time, but in the end I found a recipe to my liking, and I was happy that I persevered and did not make something else. These blondies are deliciously sweet, with the sharp tang of raspberries as a contrast. The whole thing is sticky and fudgy and dense and it looks pretty as well. I make a lot of very nice things, but once in a while a recipe stands out, and this is one of those. These blondies are divine!

There is some confusion about what blondies actually are. Officially they are brownies, but made with brown sugar instead of the chocolate. But some people say they are brownies made with white chocolate instead of dark chocolate. But both definitions are not correct for these blondies… so I guess that makes them cookie bars or a tray bake. But I like to call them blondies, because it sounds a lot more delicious than tray bakes, and it works well as an Anglicism in Dutch as well.

Raspberry White Chocolate Blondies

Raspberry white chocolate blondies (8-12 portions)
Adapted from Life as a Lofthouse

115 gram butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
100 gram white chocolate chips (or a chopped up chocolate bar)
125 gram raspberries (I used frozen and did not defrost them before using)

Preheat oven to 175C. Line a 16×20 cm baking pan with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in salt, egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour until combined, and then stir in white chocolate chips and raspberries. The batter will be very thick (like cookie dough).Spread and press batter evenly into the pan.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until bars are set and edges are lightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting.

Use other fruit (for example blueberries or blackberries), or no fruit at all
Use other chocolates (for example white with rice crispies or hazelnuts, or dark chocolate)
Add any kind of nut you like

Millionaires’ Shortbread

This shortbread is a very delicious and indulgent treat. The three different textures are the key in these bars: the crumbly, crunchy, buttery shortbread base, the gooey sweet caramel in the middle, and the contrasting chocolate on top. They will be a big hit wherever you take them to, so make a big batch!

Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaires’ Shortbread (24 squares)
From Mary Berry’s Baking Bible

250 g flour
75 g sugar
175 g butter

100 g butter
100 g brown sugar
two 397 g cans sweetened condensed milk

200 g plain or milk chocolate (I like plain because the caramel is already very sweet)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 33×23 cm baking tin.
To make the shortbread, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press it into the base of the prepared tin. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Cool on a rack in the tin.

To make the caramel, place the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly (it will get a very pale caramelly colour). It is important to stir the caramel mixture continuously – if you leave it for even a second it will catch on the bottom of the pan and burn (using a non-stick pan is advised). Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.

To make the topping, break the chocolate into pieces and melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars.

Trail mix and coconut flapjacks

In this holiday season it is nice to have a variety of things to take with you on day trips and vacation. It is always good to have some food (and enough water!) with you, you never know what will happen, even if you expect to be able to go to a shop or something.

This year I wanted something else than the standard stuff, and had a go with making trail mix. Trail mix is quite uncommon in the Netherlands, but it has some overlap with the Dutch studentenhaver (students oats). It is a mix of grains, dried fruits, nuts and sometimes chocolate. It is light-weight, calorie-dense, tasty and easy to store, so it is ideal to take with you on hikes… hence the name trail mix.

Usually trail mix uses sweet and salty things mixed together, but I don’t like that, so I made separate sweet and salty mixes. My sweet mix contained the following: marshmallows, m&m’s, honey loops, tutti frutti (mixed dried fruit) and raisins & nuts covered in chocolate & yoghurt. My salty mix contained the following: dry roasted nut mix (peanut, almond, cashew), pepitas, salty pretzel/cracker mix and roasted chickpeas.

Another thing I wanted to add to the sweet mix were coconut-oat balls. In the end I adapted a flapjack recipe, baked it as a whole and then broke it in pieces. It became very, very delicious, coconutty and caramelly… but a slight bit greasy and very sticky. So I decided to keep them apart, to prevent the whole thing getting a sticky, greasy mess. I think they are a bit greasy because the original recipe only used oats and I swapped half for dessicated coconut, which of course also contains quite some fat. So the next time I will try it with less fat. It is a very delicious snack (high energy but not to healthy), which I will certainly make again.

Coconut flapjacks

65g butter
20g coconut oil
85g brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp stroop (golden syrup or treacle)
75g dessicated coconut
75g oats

Line a baking tin. Preheat oven at 180C.
Melt together the butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, honey and stroop on low heat. Mix in the coconut and oats, make sure that it is mixed well. Dump in the baking tin and flatten to 0.5 cm. Bake for 15-20 min, or until golden. Leave to cool completely before cutting/breaking into pieces.

Brownies and fruit crumb bars

I’ve posted the recipes for these delicious treats before, but I did not post any pictures. Since these are really successful recipes that can be used for many occasions, I do have nice pictures now.

The classic brownies are easy, slightly gooey, very chocolaty but they are still not too messy to eat. Therefore you can take them very well and you don’t need napkins or plates & spoons to eat them. People do love them, I get compliments whenever I make these!


The fruit crumb bars are also very easy to make. They have streusel/crumbs on top, which I absolutely love, and these are very portable and easy to eat as well. And it is really easy to make a variation, you just use a different kind of jam.

Fruit Crumb Bars