A very good snack bar
“You’re burning that bacon. Charles turned quickly back to the stove. It’ll just be crisp, he said, I like it crisp. He shoved the bacon out on a plate and broke the eggs in the hot grease and they jumped and fluttered their edges to brown lace and made clucking sounds.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
It’s that time of year when sweets and all manner of other highly caloric scrumptious foods appear. The temptation to over indulge is everywhere. I’ve got a little diversion. It will satisfy the craving for something a little sweet with enough protein to power through the afternoon energy slump. The sesame flavor is the star of this recipe with the added bonus of peanut and coconut. A huge explosion of flavor and texture in every bite. This is a snack bar for those who enjoy the subtle flavor and crunchy texture of sesame seeds. There is anticipation of a great home made snack when the aroma of toasting sesame seeds fills the kitchen. Then the mingle of warm honey, peanut butter, coconut and vanilla seal the deal.
I am very fond of sweets with sesame seeds and was drawn to this easy Bon Appétit recipe. Making the recipe with raw sesame seeds was a disappointment in flavor and texture. Sesame seeds are much better toasted. I also added more peanut butter and peanuts, all these sesame seeds needed some contrast in texture and flavor. For a hint of sweetness there is coconut and honey too. I cut this batch of Toasted Sesame Peanut Bars before they cooled completely, some broke into random pieces. We ate every last bite, scooping up all the crumbs too.
Sesame seeds can be expensive, find them in grocery store bulk bin isle for the best price. The black sesame seeds are harder to find but add color and texture to the bars. For this batch of Toasted Peanut Sesame Bars I used a combination of white, brown and black sesame seeds.
|Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Sesame Peanut Bars|
|1-1/4C||sesame seeds, any kind or color|
|1-1/4C||unsalted, roasted peanuts|
|1C||unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut|
|1/2t||fine grain sea salt|
|1/3C + 1T||smooth peanut butter|
|1t||vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract|
- Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9”x9” square baking dish. (A 8”x8” pan will yield a thicker bar, increase baking time accordingly.) A dish with square, rather than rounded, corners will yield uniform sized bars. Line the greased pan with parchment and then grease the parchment too. The parchment lining is optional, but advised. By using the parchment the cooled bars can be easily removed from the pan in one large piece for ease of cutting.
- Add the sesame seeds to a large skillet and toast on medium heat. Occasionally shake the pan or stir the seeds. When the sesame seeds become fragrant, stir the seeds continually. Remove the pan from the heat when most of the light colored seeds have changed color from ivory to tan and a few begin to pop. Watch the pan carefully, as it will seem that suddenly the seeds are toasted. Set aside to cool.
- Chop most of the peanuts, leaving some in larger pieces. The bars are easier to cut with smaller pieces of peanuts. (Leaving a few peanuts in large pieces is aesthetically pleasing and shares visual information about the ingredients of the bars.)
- In a medium sized bowl stir together the toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts shredded coconut and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, warm the honey and peanut butter just to pourable in 10 second bursts in the microwave or on the stovetop. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the honey and peanut butter mixture into the bowl with the seeds, nut and coconut mixture. Stir well to thoroughly combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Spread evenly, pressing down firmly to compact the mixture into bars. Use a small off-set spatula, stiff rubber scraper or pastry roller to press the mixture firmly into the pan. Take extra care to press down around the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes in the 9” pan. The bars will be brown around the edges and have pulled away from the edges of the pan. Cool the bars for at least 1 hour before cutting. The bars will crumble if cut when still warm. When cool, transfer the slab from the pan to a cutting surface using the parchment paper as handles. Cut into uniform size pieces.
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