7 More Facts

I got tagged for a 7 facts award by Meg over at Cooking.In.College. I have previously shared 7 facts about myself so here are some more:

1) I used to be a fastpitch softball pitcher. I started working out with a pitching coach in 6th grade and pitched through high school. I turned down college scholarship offers because I injured my rotator cuff and had to quit throwing a softball all together.

2) My favorite, everyday dresses are by susana monaco. They are comfortable, cute, flattering dresses. I adore them, the fabric, the fit, the colors, the styles. I enjoy adding each spring to my growing collection.

3) I’m an obsessive list maker. I have lists of food I want to make, things I need to buy from the store, movies I want to watch, books I want to read, things I need to clean, errands I need to run, etc. I even have a packing list on my computer I print out for vacations. I love the sense of accomplishment I get each time I check an item off my list.

4) I heart Target; I go there every Tuesday whether I need anything or not (with a list, of course, of things I need or want to look for).

5) I’m jumpy and startle easily. Growing up my sister and brother took full advantage of this and were merciless in hiding and jumping out at me. Even Mr. Surly enjoys giving me a good rush of adrenaline from time to time.

6) One of the reasons I started this blog was to tap into my creative side. Being a science major in college sucked all the creativity out of me.

7) Some of the movies I watch over and over and never tire of are:

To Catch a Thief
Gone With the Wind
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
The Godfather and Godfather Part II (is there anyone who even likes part III?)
The Seven Year Itch
Dumb and Dumber
The Usual Suspects

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who awarded you
-List 7 random facts about yourself
-Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers

Here are my choices:
Claire Cooks
Greens and Chocolate
Sitting Pretty
The Girly Girly Cooks
The Scene From Me
Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

**Carmi, you better do this! No procrastinating.**

Homemade Granola Bars

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for awhile. I really like the idea of making my own granola bars. I’ve been on a muesli kick for awhile now, and decided it was time to make some granola. I usually keep granola bars in my purse when I have to go to the hospital for doctor appointments and tests, since I’m usually sitting around forever, waiting. I’m in love with the white chocolate macadamia Luna bars. These homemade bars are a much healthier option. I suppose I could have added some melted chocolate to these, but they are so good on their own. They remind me of the Two Moms in the Raw bars they sell at Starbucks and Nordstrom’s snack bar, I love the gojiberry one. Have you ever had one of these bars? They are delicious, and I’m so glad my granola bars taste very similar to them.

I’m glad to have another product that I can now make myself so I don’t have to buy a prepacked version. Can you tell I’m obsessed about controlling what goes in my food? When you have abdominal issues, this becomes a must.

Another plus is how easy these are to make. I haven’t had much energy the past couple weeks, but these came together rather quickly. These bars were plenty sweet for me, since I don’t eat much sugar, but if you like things sweet I’d stir in more (up to 1/4 c brown sugar). I sprinkled brown sugar on top to give the tops of the bars a bit of a sweet, sugar crunch.

Granola Bars
Printer-friendly recipe
Yield: about 16 bars

2 c rolled oats
½ c chopped almonds
½ c chopped walnuts
½ c uncooked quinoa
½ c shredded coconut (I used ¼ c dried coconut)
2 Tbl ground flaxseed meal
2/3 cup honey, agave or combo of both
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbl flaxseed oil
pinch kosher salt
¼-½ tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ c chopped dried fruit, or a mix of your favorite dried fruit (I chopped up dried apricots, and tossed in dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds)
~2 Tbl brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Toss the oatmeal, nuts, quinoa, coconut, and flaxseed meal together on a 9 x 13” baking sheet or dish (I used a 9 x 13”cake pan). Bake 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted and lightly browned.

Reduce oven to 300F.

While oats are toasting, combine honey, vanilla, flaxseed oil, salt and spices in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour in toasted oats and stir with a spatula to moisten. Stir in dried fruit.

Line your baking sheet or dish with parchment paper or grease with nonstick spray (I used the same cake pan and lined it with parchment paper; one less dish to dirty).

Pour the oat and fruit mixture into prepared baking dish and press down firmly to pack down the mixture as much as possible. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

Bake at 300F ~30 minutes until mixture is golden brown. Allow to cool a few hours before cutting into bars or squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Or freeze. I wrapped mine in cling wrap, popped them in a freezer bag and froze the bars so we could grab them as needed, they don’t take long to thaw.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

This week has been incredibly busy for me; full of errands and appointments. It’s been pretty stressful, therefore I decided I needed a special treat; I went with my favorite cookies.

A few years ago, I worked with a girl named Zara. She was from Sri Lanka and was (and is) the most genuinely nicest person I have ever met to date. I never saw her upset, nor even irritated. She would often bring some kind of baked treat to our meetings; cupcakes, cookies, etc. One day she brought these cookies. I think they were gone within 10 minutes. Everyone loved them and no one could stop eating them. I begged her for the recipe and, lucky for me, she gave me a copy. Thank you, Zara, for the best cookie I’ve ever eaten.

Be careful if you make these, you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Zara’s White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
Printer-friendly recipe
Yeild: 3 dozen cookies

1 c flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ c (1 stick) butter, softened
½ c packed dark brown sugar
¼ c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
¾ c chopped unsalted macadamia nuts (rinsed and dried if salted)
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or ~1 c chips)
6 oz white chocolate, chopped (or ~1 c chips)

Preheat oven to 375 F

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In large bowl cream butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Slowly beat in flour mixture in 2 additions. Stir in nuts and chocolate with wooden spoon. Shape into balls on ungreased baking sheet 2 in apart. Bake 8-10 min, til edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 min on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Triple Layer Cheesecake

I have wanted to make this cheesecake for a long time. I was just waiting until all the Christmas treats were gone. This recipe is courtesy of my grandma. Recently, I inherited all her recipes. After she passed away in 2007 they originally went to my aunt. A couple months ago I was craving my Grammy’s roast beef; it was her signature dish. Anytime I went to visit her (which was often) she would make it for me. I never thought to ask her for the recipe. Therefore, I emailed my aunt, asking if she knew how to make this delectable roast beef. Lucky for me she did. That email was all the incentive my aunt needed as an excuse to bring me over a box containing all Grammy’s recipes. My aunt was looking for someone to pass these recipes along to the “next generation” she said, and since I was the first to inquire about a recipe, and she lives near me, she gave me the whole stash; a whole treasure trove of recipes for me to sift through at my leisure.
Some of the recipes are typed, some handwritten, others were clipped from various newspapers ranging anywhere from 1941-2004. I came across this cheesecake and stopped. I don’t remember my grandmother ever making cheesecake. So this recipe intrigued me. I wondered where (or from whom) the recipe came and if Grammy had ever made it. It sounded rich and decadent, exactly the thing to curb my recent chocolate craving.

Since there are only two of us, I reduced the recipe by 1/3 to make one small, 4 ½ inch cheesecake. I’m so glad I didn’t make the full amount, this cheesecake is so rich that I could only eat a small sliver. Each of us had a piece and there is still ¾ of the cheesecake remaining, but we both agreed this was really, really good. If you want a full-sized, 9 inch cheesecake, multiply the ingredients by three scroll to the bottom of the post. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not going to last much longer in our fridge.

Triple Layer Cheesecake
Printer-friendly Recipe
Yeild: one 4 ½ inch cheesecake

¾ c chocolate cookie crumbs (~6 oreo cookies)
1 Tbl butter, melted
dash cinnamon

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
¼ c sugar
1 Tbl + 2 (generous) tsp yogurt
1 Tbl flour
¼ tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 oz (~1/3 c) peanut butter chips
2 oz (~1/3 c) dark chocolate chips
2 oz (~1/3 c) white chocolate chips

for the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 4 ½ inch springform pan. If desired, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease.

Combine ingredients, pat into prepared pan. I used the bottom of a glass to smash it down. Bake 7-1o minutes at 375F.

for the cheesecake:
Reduce oven to 300F

Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Then mix in yogurt, flour, and vanilla. Beat in egg to combine.
Set aside.

Melt the peanut butter chips in a bowl, in 3o second intervals until melted, stirring in between. Set aside. Repeat for the dark chocolate and white chocolate, melting each kind in its own bowl.

Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among all three bowls of melted chips.

Pour the peanut butter chip and cream cheese mixture into the crust. Using a rubber spatula, smooth out the layer, making it as even as possible. Top that layer with the dark chocolate mixture, the follow with the white chocolate, spreading and smoothing each layer.

Bake 35-45 minutes, until top is golden, edges are set and center moves slightly. Remove to wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge of pan, allow to set for 1 hour. Remove from springform pan to serving dish.

Add 2 Tbl of each chip into its own snack sized Ziploc bag. Seal the bags and microwave 20-30 sec, and massage bag to ensure all chips are melted. Once melted, snip a small hole in the corner of one bag and drizzle over cheesecake. Repeat for the remaining two bags of melted chips. Refrigerate til serving.

NOTE: due to popular demand, click here for the 9″ cheesecake recipe

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I was excited to make these rolls. It’s originally from Alton Brown and I like his simple, minimal-effort, yummy recipes. I have been planning on making them since November. I originally wanted to serve them for breakfast on Thanksgiving, but with all the other cooking I was doing these got pushed aside. The recipe has been sitting on the kitchen counte ever since, just calling out to be made. Finally, I made them. All I have to say is Wow! These are beyond incredible. So much better than Cinnabon, because they aren’t as sugary and they don’t give you an instant cavity.

It’s nice to be able to control the amount of sweetness. I added walnuts for additional fat, omega 3s, and slight crunch. Mr. Surly approved as well. We also liked that they weren’t too sugary-sweet and you could put as much (or as little) icing on as desired. I will definitely be making these again. It wasn’t a lot of work, just be sure to plan ahead to give the rolls time to rise overnight.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Printer-friendly recipe
Yield: ~12 cinnamon rolls

for the dough:
4 large egg yolks, room temp
1 large whole egg, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp
20 oz flour (~4 cups), plus additional for dusting
1 pkg (2¼ tsp) instant dry yeast
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

for the filling:
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
(generous) ¼ c finely chopped walnuts

for the icing*:
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar
~ ½ tsp lemon juice (opt)

make the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add ~2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Add all but ¾ cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should be soft and moist but not sticky. Knead/stir until the dough clears the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand ~30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly spray the top of the dough with olive oil cooking spray, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

make the filling:
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

to assemble:
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18×12 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with a bit of melted butter, leaving a ¾ inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 ½ -inch rolls. (I only sliced 6 rolls, and froze the rest of the dough). Arrange rolls cut side down in a buttered/greased baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

to bake:
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door, allow the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; ~30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown (or til the internal temperature reaches 190F) ~25-30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing* by whisking ingredients until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

*note: since I only baked about half the rolls, I just added ½ c powdered sugar with 3 ½ tsp milk and ½ tsp fresh lemon juice.

Source: slightly adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Food Network

Macadamia Fudge

I love chocolate but I’m not a big fan of fudge. I think it’s because I feel like eating fudge is a waste of calories; I’d rather just eat a square of dark chocolate.

I don’t have a go-to fudge recipe since I don’t eat it so I started looking around for recipes. I admit I was nervous, especially after all the trouble I had last week with the mint recipe. Most of the simple and easy recipes called for a jar of marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows. I detest marshmallows and marshmallow fluff; way too sweet and sugary for my taste. I found it difficult to find an easy fudge recipe that did not include this stuff. I learned in my recipe research that fudge gets its smooth consistency from careful temperature monitoring. For people who don’t want to fiddle around with a candy thermometer to maintain the perfect fudge cooking temperature, marshmallow fluff is the secret to smoothness. So what about people, like me, who don’t want to deal with a candy thermometer nor add a jar of marshmallow fluff?

There had to be a recipe out there for me so I kept searching for a fudge that sounded appealing. I finally settled on this marshmallow fluff-free recipe. It turned out to be pretty good, a bit on the sweet side, but still good. Using evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk might cut down on the sweetness factor. I ended up making a full batch and froze some. Though, at the rate that Mr. Surly is eating them up, the frozen ones might not last much longer.

Tonight I head north to the city of Brotherly Love for the next week and a half to be with family for Christmas. I envision myself snuggled up on the couch, watching movies while being attended to by worried, loving family members. It will be wonderful to be coddled and made much of. Though I’m not looking forward to cold temps and snow.

Macadamia Fudge
Printer-friendly recipe
yield: ~2 lbs

18 oz semisweet chocolate (~3 c chocolate chips)
1 can (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
pinch salt
5 oz (~1 c) chopped macadamia nuts
1 ½ tsp vanilla
butter, for greasing the dish

Line an 8×8 inch square pan with foil. Grease the foil with butter, set aside.

Melt the chocolate, milk, and pinch salt, either on the stove over low heat, or in the microwave in 30 sec intervals. I combined them in a 4 qt glass measuring cup and melted in the microwave.

Once chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla and nuts. Pour into prepared pan and chill until firm (~2 hrs).

Lift foil out of pan; peel away from fudge. Cut into bite-sized squares. Store in airtight container.

Source: Taste of Home’s Best Loved Cookies and Candies 2010

Pumpkin Bourbon French Toast

Another tasty treat inspired by Mr. Bobby Flay.

For Thanksgiving I wanted to have something more than just my boring oatmeal and Mr. Surly’s fruit smoothie for breakfast. I love french toast and found myself with ½ can of pumpkin that needed used. I decided to make some pumpkin flavored french toast. It turned out to be so delicious. I cooked up the whole loaf of bread, knowing that we wouldn’t eat it all at once. It was nice to have enough breakfast for 2 days. Just pop a couple slices in the microwave or oven the next morning for a no hassle, quick breakfast.

Pumpkin Bourbon French Toast
Printer-friendly version
serves 4-6

1 loaf brioche bread
½ can (~7.5 oz) pumpkin puree
2 c half-n-half (or milk, or combo of both)
4 eggs
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl bourbon
1 tsp vanilla (I used Trader Joe’s bourbon vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

Slice the bread into thick slices and arrange in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, and pinch of salt in small bowl or 4 qt measuring cup. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined. Pour over bread slices. Using tongs or your fingers turn each slice to coat well in the liquid. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Lightly coat a griddle or skillet over medium high heat with canola oil spray or a generous pat of butter (or both) and heat. Add bread slices and cook until browned on both sides, a few minutes per side.

Serve with maple syrup and a light dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.

source: inspired and adapted from How Sweet It Is who adapted it from Bobby Flay

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This was my dinner the other night. For most people this would probably be a great side dish, but I could only eat one of these before I was full. I just threw together a bunch of stuff I had in my fridge. I didn’t measure anything out exactly, I just added things until I had what looked good and I seasoned to taste. Oh my, for being thrown together this was so good. I plan on making this for Thanksgiving, maybe adding an apple and some walnuts (which I didn’t have when I made it this time). This reheats really well, so it can be made in advance and reheated, which for me is a bonus. The brown sugar crusted squash is well complimented by the slightly tart cranberry stuffing. Yum.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Printer-friendly version

1/2 to 1 butternut squash (depends on size)
~3-4 c dried bread cubes
~1 c fresh cranberries
~4 c vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
3 Tbl butter
marjoram (to taste, ~1-2 tsp)
sage (to taste, ~1-2 tsp)
basil (to taste, ~1-2 tsp)
thyme (to taste, ~1-2 tsp)
2 acorn squash
~ 4 Tbl brown sugar
pine nuts for garnish, if desired

for the stuffing:
Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash, then cube. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast at 375F for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.

Combine bread cubes, cranberries, and butternut squash together in a baking dish. Microwave the butter til melted, add spices to taste, then pour over bread cubes. Add enough broth to moisten bread crumbs (I used about 3/4 of a carton, then after baking a bit added the rest of the broth). Stir gently to combine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for about 30-45 minutes until the cranberries pop open. Then bake uncovered until golden brown.

for the acorn squash:
Cut each acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Place flesh side up on a baking sheet. Lightly salt each half, and sprinkle with some brown sugar. Roast at 375 F until tender, about 20 minutes. I like to poke holes in the squash and pop it back in to bake about 5 minutes longer so the brown sugar infuses throughout the squash. Allow squash to cool, then add stuffing. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Cranberry Apple Walnut Crunch

I know I have talked about how my doctor has requested me to eat lots of sugary, fatty dessert and how I have done my best to follow this. But eating cakes, tartlettes, ice cream, etc gets old pretty fast when you’re eating them every day. Plus, I have to prepare and bake all these treats. Thank goodness it’s now Halloween season. I loaded up on candy and have been snacking on that all throughout the day. I bought one of those fun, plastic jack-o-lantern trick or treat holders, and I keep it on the table beside the couch so it’s near me and I can reach over and eat some candy whenever I want. But this post isn’t about candy, nor my snacking on it; it’s about me finally getting in the kitchen and baking something.

Our weather temperatures are starting to drop to a comfortable mid-70 degrees, so it’s actually starting to feel like fall (at least in the mornings and evenings). Trying to get into the spirit of the season, I thought I’d make some kind of fall-ish dessert. I love cranberries and decided to make some kind of dessert using them. I didn’t really follow a recipe, I just looked at some recipes I had for fruit crisps, cobblers, and crumbles and kind of combined some of them to make this. It turned out so tasty. I wish I would’ve have made some whipped cream or bought some ice cream for topping, that would have made it even better.

Cranberry Apple Walnut Crunch
Printer-friendly version

10 oz bag cranberries (I used frozen)
2 apples, cored and diced (I used Gala)
~2 Tbsp orange juice (I just added a couple splashes)
1-2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 c rolled oats (I used an oat multi-grain cereal)
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c sugar
1/3 c whole wheat flour (all purpose is fine, too)
~¼ tsp cinnamon
a bit of freshly grated nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter, cut up and chilled
~¼ c chopped walnuts
1 Tbl ground flaxseed meal (opt)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8×8 (or similar) baking dish.

In medium bowl combine cranberries, apples, orange juice, sugar and cornstarch; toss to combine. Spread fruit mixture evenly in baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, both sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. With pastry blender (or two knives) cut butter pieces into dry ingredients until pea-sized clumps form. Stir in walnuts. Add ground flaxseed if using. Sprinkle mixture evenly over fruit.

Place baking dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until apples have cooked down and begun to caramelize. Topping should be golden brown and liquid bubbling around the edges.

Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in airtight container.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bars


What is it about dark chocolate and espresso that is so magical when the two are paired? And why do I find myself craving chocolate more and more, the older I get? I have been craving chocolate espresso desserts recently. Since I haven’t been feeling well, I thought I could get away with buying some coffee flavored ice cream with dark chocolate chunks (specifically, Starbucks Java Frappuccino ice cream). It helped a little, but didn’t satiate my craving. Finally, I broke down and decided to make a simple dessert. While debating what kind of tasty treat to make, I remembered these bars. They are one of Mr. Surly’s favorite chocolate desserts. He’s not opposed to chocolate, but he’s not as into it as I am. “Perfect,” I thought, “I will make something Mr. Surly really likes, then I won’t be stuck eating the majority of the batch.” I’m pleased to say it worked–within days I watched, delighted, as these bars quickly disappeared. And I’m happy to report that I was not the one who ate more than half the batch.

These bars are dark, dense, and delicious, and the next day become even more fudgy. I cut mine into ~2 inch squares, which yields 16 bite-sized servings. Feel free to make your slices bigger. I love these plain, but they would be incredible with a small scoop of ice cream. Don’t feel guilty if you eat more than one at a time, I know I don’t.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bars
Printer-friendly version
Makes 8-16 bars, depending on how you cut them

For the bars:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
3 Tbs. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch of salt

8-16 chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional) (I love the Trader Joe’s Dark chocolate ones)
Preheat an oven to 350F. Generously grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.

Combine the butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 sec intervals until melted, stirring well between each interval.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until blended. Gradually stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the vanilla, then add the flour mixture and stir until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Bake until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is springy to the touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a microwave safe bowl combine the glaze ingredients. Microwave in 30 sec intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring well between each interval. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a small offset spatula, spread the cooled glaze over the bars in a thin layer. Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars or squares. Top each bar with a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Store in airtight container.

Source: slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma