Saturday, December 29, 2012

Almond mocha bars - chewy, chocolatey bars for the holidays

How have you all been? I disappeared for the past week as we had family visiting. It has been loads of chitchatting, catching up, eating, outings and movies. DD had a blast with her 2 cousins and they all had long faces as we said 'bye' to them yesterday. It was a nice wrap up of 2012 and we are back again to the 3 of us at home with a couple of days left before the New Year begins. It is time now to take stock of how well and fast 2012 went by and get ready for another exciting year and unlimited opportunities.

As the girls got together for Christmas, there was obviously lot of anticipation and excitement starting with decorating the tree, we decided to get a small fresh one this time unlike the previous years where we have stood up the pre-lit plastic tree. The small tree actually looked beautiful and smelled fresh after all the ornaments went on it. The girls were very considerate to respect the potential, future diabetic Santas at home and instead of cookies, left crackers and milk by the fireplace :-). I baked a batch of these warm almond mocha bars for the girls and they enjoyed the slightly chewy texture of the bars loaded with roasted almonds and a hint of coffee to keep them awake through the night (they didn't need it as each other's company was intoxicating enough for them :-)).
We adults at home got treated to a dinner cooked by the girls one of the nights. The two sets of parents and one set of grandparents were all banished away from the kitchen, kitchen was cordoned off and draped by sheets so we don't even get a peep into the happenings. Amma was only consulted when it was critical and there was no other way out and she was allowed only once in the kitchen with eyes blinded on the sides to dig out the yogurt from the refrigerator. We were very pleasantly surprised when they served us with appetizers containing a very creative ritzies (Ritz crackers topped with onion, tomato, cilantro, chat masala and such), baked samosas followed by a full course of methi paranthas, rice, mutter paneer, raita and subzi and rounded off with brownies. Although they took the help of some semi prepared food, we were all extremely proud and happy about the well orchestrated effort that went off smoothly with no fights, no walkouts but a very mature and calm execution. They were completely tired by the end of dinner and moms & dads had to pamper them by feeding them their dinner :-). I wanted to share a few pictures of the dinner we had to give a glimpse of the girls efforts. Very proud of you S,K & N.

This is another recipe I got from Michael's cookie books I mentioned in my previous post, doesn't have eggs but we all loved the subtle coffee taste as you bite into the rich bars loaded with almonds and chocolate pieces. I am sure you can replace almonds with other nuts of your choice and I want to try with some roasted coconut flakes next time I bake these as I like the flavor it gives to the cookies.

What do you need to make Almond mocha bars?
Makes about 24 bars of 1.5inch X 2.5 inch
1/2 cup butter or 1 stick (US measure) - at room temperature
1/2 cupfirmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Tsp almond extract
1 cup AP flour
1 Tblsp instant coffee granules
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1/8 Tsp salt
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds
How do you make Almond mocha bars?
  • Toast almond on medium heat until you can smell the toasted nuts (takes about 5-7 minutes on stove top), chop into small pieces and keep aside. 
  • Cream butter, brown sugar and almond extract until fluffy - I used my hand electric blender for 3 minutes
  • In a small bowl sieve together AP flour, coffee granules, baking powder and salt. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and stir to form a soft dough. 
  • Add the chocolate chips and chopped almonds.
  • Press the mixture into baking pan (I used 8X11 and the dough covered about 3/4 of the pan), keep the thickness of the pressed dough to about an inch. 
  • Bake in a 350F pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top turns light golden. 
  • Let it stand for 5 minutes and make markings with a sharp knife for desired size. 
  • Let the bars cool completely in the pan before cutting them out. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

good mocha bars for vacations. wishing a very very happy new year to Sattvaa readers

kitchen queen said...

awesome cute crunchy bars.

Priya said...

Even my daughter said bye to her two cousins,she is still missing them. They enjoyed late nite chitchatting and loved shopping.Thats really wonderful that they cooked and treated you all with their wonderful foods.Kudos to them.

Bars looks seriously fantastic, cant resist to them.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Looks perfect Nagashree...Happy new year to you