This past weekend we discovered a fun new family game…jelly bean roulette! It was after dinner, we were watching TV and I had a craving for something sweet & fruity! All I could find in the kitchen was an unopened bag of Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans leftover from Easter (Ha! Don't judge!) So I opened them up and dumped them into a big shallow bowl so we could easily distinguish between all the flavors. The bag had one of those guides on the back where you can figure out that the transparent green one with the dark green spots is the "Baja Margarita" flavor and the opaque green one with the dark green spots is the "Perfectly Pear" flavor. Ha! Reading glasses anyone? So the game went like this: One family member closes his eyes and opens his mouth. The other family members conspire to pick the strangest jelly bean flavor to pop into the victims mouth at which time they have to determine what the mystery flavor is by savoring the jelly bean and looking at the guide on the package. The "Buttered Popcorn, Honey, Toasted Marshmallow and Tiramisu" flavors were big stumpers! My favorite flavors were "Lemon Meringue, Key Lime, Tangerine and Mango." After too many rounds of jelly bean roulette, shame set in and we disposed of the evidence.
Those mango and citrus jelly beans must have triggered something in my taste buds, because all I could think about making this week was a perfect batch of fruity bars! Should have been fairly simple...
Monday I made Mango Mojito Bars:
They were inspired by one of my favorite summery cocktails! I had high hopes but they were a little custardy and bland - the mango just didn't stand out like I hoped it would. I guess the mango flavor just can't cut through the eggs in the filling like lime and lemon can. Boo! I'll be back mango!
Tuesday, I made Lime in the Coconut Bars:
They really packed the fruity punch I was looking for! A big old "POW" of lime right in the kisser! I love a big blast of citrus, but it was probably a little much, not to mention the shortbread cookie & coconut crust was troublesome. I will say they were better once they firmed up in the fridge overnight, but they were still quirky and not the perfect fruity bar. I may revisit them again someday.
Husband: What do you have planned today??
Me: Who me?? ooh nothing…maybe just making some…cough, cough..lemon brownies.
Husband: What was wrong with the bars you made yesterday and Monday? They were good and the mango ones were fine too.
Good and fine - ugh! Words of failure for someone who agonizes over her food. I want to hear MMM, OMG! I want to see eyes rolling back in your head. Good and fine will not do. I know at some point I may need medication & therapy for this problem, in the meantime let's eat GREAT food!
Lemon Brownies w/ Macadamia Nuts & White Chocolate Chips:
These Lemon Brownies come from a recipe I created for an herbal tea contest. I used highly concentrated lemon herbal tea to flavor the lemon brownies. I wondered how they would taste with lemon juice and some lemon extract instead of the tea. I made both versions and the real lemon brownies won out for their clean, fresh lemony flavor. I hope you will find them better than fine!! ( ;
Gather your ingredients and take the time to line your pan with a double layer of some foil or parchment. I made the mistake of using flimsy waxed paper and not greasing the pan well enough and I had to wrestle them out of the pan.
Mix the Batter:
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs. Mix in your dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts and chips. Spread in pan and bake!
Glaze & Sprinkle!
Mix the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest for the glaze. Prick the hot brownies with a fork. Spread the glaze over the top and sprinkle with the remaining macadamia nuts. Let cool completely before removing from pan and cutting. I like to use my electric knife to cut bars with nuts in them. It makes a cleaner cut.
Lemon Brownies w/ Macadamia Nuts & White Chocolate Chips Recipe:
(Makes 24 brownies)
Non-stick baking spray
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract (look for "pure" or natural)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped dry roasted salted macadamia nuts, divided
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan: Spray with nonstick baking spray and if desired, line with a double layer of foil or parchment paper cut to fit and extended past top of pan – fold over edge of pan. Spray the foil/parchment with additional non-stick spray (This will allow you to remove the brownies from the pan when cool for easy cutting.)
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix until just incorporated. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and lemon extract. Stir the flour and salt together in a small bowl and add to wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chips and ½ cup of the macadamia nuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Baking time may vary based on your oven.)
While baking, make glaze: In small bowl, stir together confectioner's sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Remove brownies from oven and prick evenly 25 times with a fork. Spread glaze over hot brownies and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup macadamia nuts.
Allow to cool completely. Use overhanging foil/parchment to lift out of pan to large cutting board and cut into 24 squares. (I use my electric knife to cut really neat bars.)