Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Off the Hook Maple-Nut Death Bars

How do you know if you've met with bake sale success?

Sometimes, all you need are pure, simple, organic raves from coworkers. Here's three from my office's recent "raise funds for Wagga the injured cat" bake sale:
"ohmygod so good. I don't even want to know what's in those."

"Not right! Maple walnut OFF THE HOOK!!! Pairs with Camel Lights and black coffee..."

"Those maple bars are lethal. Can you give me the recipe??"

Coconut Maple Bars

Will I give the recipe?

Yes, of course I will give the recipe. Just don't tell anyone.

In the wrong hands, Maple Nut Bars could be used for evil purposes. (Or maybe even evil porpoises... you never know what creepy things villains are up to.)

Coconut Maple Bars
They don't look like much, but gosh, people sure like 'em.

Dead Tasty Chewy Maple Nut Bars (Makes about 21 deadly bars)

Shortbread Base
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown (or white) sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, softened

Deadly Nut Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried coconut (preferably unsweetened)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 11 x 7" baking pan.
2. For the shortbread, blend together the sugar and flour, add the butter, and mix until the mixture is a crumby dough. Press the dough gently across the bottom of the baking pan.
3. Bake the shortbread until it begins to color around the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
4. Meanwhile, make the topping by beating together the sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and eggs. When blended, stir in the nuts and coconut.
5. Spread the maple-nut topping evenly over the cooled shortbread.
6. Bake in the center of the oven until the top is browned and set, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving. Don't let people eat more than one. Like I said... deadly.

Happy baking!
Miss Ginsu

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My Big Fat Granola Epiphany

Sometimes, I'm just rolling along with my life and I'm suddenly hit upside the head with the realization I've been doing something completely silly for years.

Case in point: Granola. Why have I been buying granola? I feel like such a dope for having paid Kellogg's to make a substandard version of it for me.

It's painfully quick and easy to make. It creates a warm, homey aroma in your kitchen. It's fresh. It's yummy. It's cheap.

And when you make it at home, you can put whatever you want in it. Looking to make it healthier? Toss in some extra oat bran. Not a big fan of raisins? No problem. Love hazelnuts more than life itself? Go nuts. Literally.

And it's even better with fresh berries and yogurt...

This stuff is good with milk, nice for crunch over yogurt, ice cream, fresh fruit or pudding. Get yourself a big tin of rolled oats and forage for some dried fruit and nuts in the back of your cupboard.

So don't be a rube like me. Stop buying granola. Take this recipe and fly free, little sparrow.
DIY Granola Base Recipe (Makes about 4 1/2 cups)
4 1/2 cups rolled oats (NOT instant)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil (or another light, unflavored oil)
1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite chopped nuts or seeds, if you wish a combination of: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, flax seeds, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, blend all the ingredients.
2. Spread the mix on a cookie sheet or sheet tray and bake 15-25 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking to brown the mix evenly.
3. Cool the tray on a rack, stirring occasionally. Add dried fruit, if desired, after granola has cooled.

After you've done the base batch once or twice, experiment with coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and dried pineapple or perhaps hazelnut and cranberry or maybe dried cherries and almonds or maybe dried apple and walnut...

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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