This week I felt the need to provide tasty treats to my co-workers and found this gem on Pinterest. Easy, and sort of good for you? You can be the judge...
Adapted from this recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T's
I used a 9x13 pan and the bars were plenty big!
Makes 24 bars
1/2 C. butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 C. flour
1 C. oats (quick or old-fashioned work)
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. butter, cut into bits
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. peanut butter
2-4 Tbsp. milk
First make the bars. In a stand mixer, blend together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Next add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Line a 9x13" cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Spread the bar mixture into the pan.
Next, make the struesel topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter. You hands are your best tool for this job. You'll want to keep the mixture crumbly, so do your best to break up the butter into tiny bits. Once it resembles coarse sand, it's ready. Sprinkle the struesel on top of the bar mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Do your best to lift edge of the parchment paper up shimmy the bars out onto a flat surface.
Next, make the icing. Using a stick blender, mix together the powdered sugar, butter, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Add more milk to get to the desired consistency, but make sure the icing gets nice and smooth! Drizzle over the cooled bars and cut into 24 squares.
Earlier this year my Mom, sister, and I ventured on a trip to LA for the Rose Parade. As part of our touristing duties, we ventured over to Rodeo Drive and stumbled upon the most amazing French Bakery called L'Amande. Having studied French in high school and college, I have a soft spot for French food -- not to mention I love food to begin with, so French food and I are meant to be.
When looking over the menu for lunch, I spotted Croque Monsieur - the most famous of dishes from the country. One of the first words they taught us was Croque Monsieur in high school...And yet 15 years later I've never tried one!
Let me tell you, I was in heaven. And the recipes I've found so far online don't even come close. First, the bread is super soft and slightly sweet -- it's called pain de mie. Every recipe online says to use white sandwich bread -- that is so wrong. Then they use just a couple thin slices of Black Forest Ham, some Gruyere cheese, and topped with a broiled Bechamel sauce. The ham and cheese are minimalized surprisingly so all the ingredients play together harmoniously without competing against one another.
So, here's a picture of what I had at L'Amande, and here's my attempt to reproduce it at home. Good luck!
1 loaf pan de mie (or fresh white bakery bread), sliced thick
1/2 lb. black forest ham, sliced thin
1 C. Shredded Gruyere cheese
Dijon mustard (optional)
Bechamel Sauce (adapted from Ina Garten)
1 Tbsp. butter
1.5 Tbsp. flour
1 C. warm milk
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 C. shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
First, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes so that the flour taste is cooked out. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir constantly to avoid lumps. Add the salt and pepper. Once thickened, remove from the heat and add in the cheese, a little at a time, until melted.
To assemble the sandwich, butter the bread and layer on the ham, Gruyere, and mustard if desired. Place on a skillet and cover. Turn the heat to low so that the insides have a chance to melt. Flip bread and brown the other side once golden. Once the insides are melted, remove the cover, spread the Bechamel sauce generously on the top slice of bread and place in a preheated broiler for 2-3 minutes -- just enough to bubble the sauce. Remove and enjoy!
Hi, I'm Michelle and based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I love all things cooking and baking and would love to inspire you to create something of your own!