Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cinnamon Crunches


Last night, as I was reluctantly cutting vegetables for my 15th salad this week (can anyone say Weight Watchers?), I was suddenly overtaken by the mantra: Stop the Madness!  Always one to listen to reason, I immediately put down my knife, and got to baking.  The result? These insanely delicious bar cookies, so good that my tasters here at work couldn't get enough of them.  (In fact, Ryan had three!)

Cinnamon Crunches (from Duckworth, according to the vintage recipe card) are the perfect treat when you're overcome at 10:30 p.m. with a desire to bake but not with the desire to go to the store for ingredients.  These call for common ingredients that most of us have in our kitchen:  eggs, milk, butter, flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and nuts.


Cinnamon Crunches are not a confection where all the ingredients are simply dumped in a bowl.  It requires making the bottom layer, and then pressing it into a baking pan.  The top layer is made by whipping an egg white, spreading it on the crust and topping it with a cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture. The extra work pays off nicely: Cinnamon Crunches are way more than the sum of their parts.  They are sweet, buttery, crunchy (from the top layer) and several people guessed apple was an ingredient.


Putting the bottom crust together is easy.  Just cream butter and sugar, and add an egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cinnamon) until well combined.  Press into the pan, or use  an offset spatula until the mixture covers the bottom completely.



Don't make the mistake I did and overbeat the egg white. (Pay attention, or add a pinch of cream of tartar during the beating.)  Even though it was dry, it was still spreadable, sort of. (See below.)


 Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon-nut mixture on the egg white and bake for 30 minutes.


These are very easy to transport, i.e., get out of the house, lest one be tempted to sabotage their Weight Watcher's efforts.


Some production notes:
This is an old recipe, calling for a 7 x 11 inch pan.  This size is no longer in use (don't know why), so I used an 8 x 8 square pan.  A 9 x 9 pan would also work beautifully.  As always, I substituted butter for shortening.  Sorry Duckworth.




And I did finish the salad -- while the Cinnamon Crunches were in the oven.


Update at 3:16 p.m.


11 comments:

  1. What a fun post -- the cookies look great. The salad doesn't look bad either. And I love the very empty cookie container.

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    1. Thanks, Pamela. The salad was good, but was only a prelude to the cookies!

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  2. This is a must do recipe. Looks delicious and I think I will eat almost anything with cinnamon. Now I have noticed that people I work with---EAT ANYTHING!! So can't always use that as a barometer of something tasty. The salad is just delightful. . . I am on the road, but will be home soon, to my home grown veges. Thank you for your recipes. They are so enjoyable.

    XOXOXO

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    1. Thanks so much, Kevel. I guess you're right about co-workers eating anything, but I still love the gratitude and compliments, real or "enhanced."

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  3. PS. Just made the Lemon Cake Pie for the umpteenth time. This time for my camp host here in BC,Canada. . . . Wow! They totally demolished it and licked the pan. It is so easy (did take a little longer with a hand whisk!!) and so delicious. I cut the sugar in half, but may even more the next time. I am grateful to you for posting that in your blog!!??!?!?

    KJJ

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    1. Thrilled that you like the recipe so much (and shocked that it works with such limited sugar). You must be extra sweet yourself.

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  4. This is very similar to a favorite family recipe we call "Cinnamon Squares." I made them once for a bakesale at my daughter's elementary school. When she got home she informed me that they were a dud--none of the kids wanted to buy cookies with nuts on them. Then she handed me the empty container and said, "so the teachers took them into their breakroom."

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    1. Funny! Those teachers were lucky!

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  5. I always like baking cinnamon recipes, especially since I dragged bottles of `Vietnamese Cinnamon´ all the way from DC (can you believe?). These bars look fantastic, similar to a recipe I was given years ago but didn´t have directions so I never got them right. I should try these!

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    1. Paula -- I would go to the ends of the earth for my Saigon Cinnamon. But luckily, I can get it at the local Fairway market here in Brooklyn. If you need a cinnamon connection in the future, just let me know!

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  6. This recipe sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it. I'm glad I came across your blog, can't wait to subscribe! :)

    Would love for you to stop by my blog sometime. New blog friends are the best!

    http://sugarlyeverafter.blogspot.com/

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