Friday, November 17, 2006

Keeping busy in the kitchen...

More baking happening from the new kitchen... this time we will be serving up Malted Coconut-Mocha Bars. A buttery shortbread-like crust is pressed into the bottom of the baking dish and unlike the Cranberry-Orange Pistachio Bars, this dough is more tacky than crumbly. You can do a couple things to make pressing the dough in a little easier - lightly dusting your fingers with flour works, but I just used a piece of saran wrap placed on top. It doesn't stick and allows you to easily move the dough around. While the crust bakes, a filling made from eggs, sugar, vanilla, coconut, chocolate malted milk powder and instant espresso powder is whisked together. This is quickly spread over the hot crust and goes for a second bake to set up the filling. Once baked and cooled, a malted mocha glaze floods the surface with a dark, sweet and firm topping. The inside layer almost reminded me of a chewy coconut macaroon with a mild hint of the chocolate malted flavor.

I thought it may end up being too sweet with the glaze, but the buttery base seemed to off-set the sweet toppings. I have found that I like baking with the Carnation brand over the others that are out there for the malted milk powders. If you can't find instant espresso powder, you can substitute instant coffee crystals - you may want to add a touch more though.

While we do eat meat often enough, I do find that we quite like some of the meatless options that are out in the markets nowadays. I've had a couple bags of soy crumbles in the freezer for awhile and finally got around to using them tonight in some Spicy Sloppy Joes. This is also the third recipe that uses a bottle of beer this week! This recipe came together in a snap with very little prep time. To begin, fresh garlic and roasted red peppers are quickly cooked in a bit of canola oil until fragrant. The soy crumbles and smoky chili powder are added in and begin to heat through. Minced jalapeƱos are mixed in for heat, followed by amber ale, chili sauce and soy sauce to buildup the background flavors. To add some freshness right before serving, chopped green onions are mixed in. Thick, hearty and dare I say it, finger lickin' good, we both went back for more when we finished our plates. It didn't taste "fake" and I thought the addition of the ale brought out a meatier flavor to these satisfying joes. I also served these on our new favorite bun recipe.


  1. Yum... yum.. yum...

    Love both of these recipes. I've had a craving for veggie Sloppy Joes lately... I'll definitely have to remember this recipe. Fake meat and beer, how can you go wrong? :)

  2. Those bars look awesome!!!

  3. Helios - It had been awhile since we have any something like them, but this cured the craving!

    Erika and Barbara - Thanks!