Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Apple Cider & Pear Crumb Bars


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had 3 lonely pears sitting on my counter. 3 lonely pears that I had no idea what to do with. Yes, it is that time of year when pears are in season. I have a like-hate relationship with pears. They are one of my least favorite fruits. I don't know why, they just are. We actually had a pear tree in our backyard when I was a kid, and I can honestly say I never liked them. They are ho-hum when raw and fresh. They turn revolting when you can them in a sugary syrup. You were more likely to find me atop the plum or cherry trees as a tom-boy child than in the pear tree.

That being said, I keep trying to like them. I subscribe to the idea that I could eat anything as long as it is prepared the right way. So, I keep looking for ways to enjoy pears. Most of the time, this results in 3 to 4 pears being added to the compost pile. But this time, I found a delicious way to enjoy pears.


The apple-pear filling in these bars is to-die-for. Diced pears are cooked down in a tangy-sweet combination of apple cider and a little brown sugar, until they are soft enough to break down. The filling ends up a little sweet with the best bite of tartness. Who knew apple cider was the missing link to my pear equation?


The humble fall pear...


Mixed with tart apple cider...


= LOVE


As for the crumb part of the bars, it doesn't get much easier. Throw all the ingredients in a food processor, pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, and you are good to go.


Bake until the top is browned. 45 minutes is about perfect.


Allow the bars to cool, and then glaze to your heart's content.



A yummy fall treat the whole family will love!



These didn't last long in our house. I always have the best intentions in delivering treats to the hubby's family, but we really did a number on these. Gone in one weekend! The hubby feels similarly about pears as I do, but he really liked these bars too.


A note on apple cider- I used Lipton's Instant Apple Cider. Why? I always have it on hand, because every once in awhile, I get a craving for apple cider. Hot apple cider, that is. So I always have the Lipton version in the house. I was going to use fresh apple cider, but I was the dope at the grocery store who couldn't find it. Never one to ask for help (nope, not me!), I perused the store on my own. I checked where the fresh juice is, where the processed juice is, I checked over with the fresh lemonade... I checked everywhere but the produce section, which in all actuality is where it is. I probably would have used that if I could have found it. Ah, the downfalls of avoiding human interaction. Haha.


It's election day here in Kentucky! I'm headed out to vote as soon as I wrap up all my bloggy stuff. I really miss Oregon's vote-by-mail system, as it was so much more convenient. Oh well, I still relish wielding my right as an American to vote, so to the local high school I will go! Thank goodness the stupid political commercials should wrap up until January. I am not looking forward to an entire year of political commercials next year. Election years are the pits.

A fun fact I find amusing about Kentucky's election days- you can't buy alcohol in Kentucky on election day. I'm not sure why I find that so amusing, but I totally do. I've never known anyone to go to the polls drunk-as-a-skunk, but man, they see to it that you can't! I was out grocery shopping on my very first election day in Kentucky, almost 5 years ago, and I still wasn't even used to the fact that most of Kentucky is dry. I only know of 2 places in Oregon that are dry:  the city of Monmouth, OR and University of Oregon's campus. And that was considered unusual in Oregon. So when I saw all the signs my first year here saying no alcohol sales on Election Day, I was amused. I still am, actually :-)

Are you headed out vote today? If you don't have a vote-by-mail system in your state, I hope you do! I'm one of those people who still believes every vote counts. I also thoroughly champion the statement "No vote? No complaints!"

Happy Election Day friends!


Ingredients (makes 12-16 bars):

Apple Cider-Pear Compote-
3 ripe pears, peeled and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1 cup Apple Cider (I used Lipton's Instant)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Crust-
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze-
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp vanilla coffee creamer

Directions:

1. Make the compote- Combine pears, apple, cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pears start to break down when you stir the mixture. Take a large spoon and really mash the mixture, until the pears are completely broken down. Remove mixture from heat, allow to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375┬║. Coat an 8 x 8 pan liberally with cooking spray, set aside.
3. Prepare the crust- combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cold butter, and salt in a food processor. Pulse the mixture a couple of times to combine. Add egg and vanilla. Pulse until mixture becomes a fine crumb.
4. Press half the crumb mixture into the pan. Top with cooled compote. Evenly sprinkle the rest of the crumb over the pear mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the tops of the bars have evenly browned. Remove from oven, and allow to cool completely before glazing.
5. Combine powdered sugar and coffee creamer. Add more coffee creamer until you reach a desired texture for drizzling the glaze over the bars. Drizzle the glaze over the bars. Allow the glaze to set on the bars for 30 minutes. Slice into 12 or 16 bars, depending on size preference. Store bars in the fridge or in a tupperware covered by a dish towel. I noticed the bars get really soft in an airtight tupperware, not the texture you are going for.


Recipe adapted from A Periodic Table.
Looking for other fall treats? Try these!








8 comments:

  1. i definitely want to try these! so yummy! but sorry to say - i looove pears. :)

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    1. It's funny how people's taste buds can differ so much! My brother is one of those people that LOVES pears. I just didn't inherit the pear-loving genes I guess :-)

      Thanks for stopping by Sarah, I hope you have a great day!

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  2. I've never been a big fan of pears, either. But, this does look tasty. That is pretty amusing about no alcohol sales on election day. Got to keep the sloshed from voting I guess.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes with us at Snickerdoodle each week. We're so glad that you party with us!

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    Replies
    1. My only thing with not selling alcohol on election day is this- We live in an area where you could technically be in 3 states in about 20 minutes. Ohio sells everyday but Sunday, and West Virginia sells everyday, even Sunday. So what's the point of not selling in Kentucky?

      That being said, I think its ridiculous that the area I live in is dry ALL the time. People still drink, they just spend their dollars in Ohio or West Virginia. Does that make any sense either?

      Shaking my head :-)

      Have a great day Beverly!

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  3. There's a reason I always keep alcohol in my house. After living on that side of the country, I learned to keep a supply and still do, even though you can buy it any time here.

    The bars look great!

    xo

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    Replies
    1. I keep a pretty steady supply here. I always have the normal hard stuff, the whisky, the vodka, the tequila, the gin. It's hard to keep beer and wine on hand here, we actually go through that :) But I do find that I keep way more on hand than I did when I lived on the West Coast.

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  4. Ohhhh, yes. I can already tell I'll be a fan of these. And I love the icing in the squeeze bottle! Thank you so, so much for partying with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday- can't wait to see what you've got next this weekend!

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    Replies
    1. I do love my little squeeze bottle. I got for almost no money at the craft store, and I use it constantly. It takes almost no effort to elevate my dishes with that handy little helper. Love it!

      Have a great weekend Sarah! :-)

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