Sunday, February 6, 2011

Butterscotch Bars

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – June 22, 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Cooking Light, April 2009.

One of the monthly features of the magazine, Cooking Light, is when they take a fat, calorie and generally unhealthy food favorite and make it a light meal/treat.  I’ve tried several of these recipes and have never been disappointed.  I was giddy with excitement when they decided to re-make butterscotch bars.  See, I love bar cookies.  I love butterscotch.  I love streusel.  This recipe has them all.

My finished product:

Picture published with recipe:

© Cooking Light

Looking at the two pictures, here’s a couple things I would do different
  • I’d run the dry ingredients of my streusel base & topping through a mini-chop or a food processor.
  • I’d make sure my butterscotch layer was a little more melted so it would spread easier.
  • I’d try to evenly distribute the topping over the top layer.
Now mine isn’t as pretty, but it tasted delicious and ultimately that is what matters most.
for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – But it would definitely be a SIGH if I went with what I would do the next time.  There are a lot of bowls, spoons, spatulas to clean and of course you’re pressing the initial crust with your hands.  Add in having to clean up a food processor and that might just be a royal mess.

Start-to-Finish Time: About an hour – The bake time (assuming you don’t have to bake any extra) is 30 minutes, so between the prep and assembly, you’ll probably need close to an hour.

Prep Work: LOSS OF FINGER POSSIBLE – Nothing extravagant in terms of technique, but there is a lot of work to do before assembling.  Roasting the walnuts makes a slight mess in itself and if you don’t have a mini-chop… let’s just say that I’ve literally almost lost finger trying to chop nuts on a chopping board.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – I was tempted to give it THE BASICS, but the truth is, there is nothing difficult about any of the steps.  There may be a lot of them, but nothing out of the ordinary.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – Other than the butterscotch chips, I always have everything in this recipe on hand and they are DELICIOUS.  If I need a quick, light and absolutely delicious treat, this is the recipe I’d pull out.

Recipe Information:
Servings: 36

Nutritional Information (1 bar)
  • Calories 148
  • Total Fat 5.1g (Saturated Fat 2.7g)
  • Cholesterol 11mg
  • Sodium 87mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 23.4g
  • Fiber 0.8g
  • Protein 2.6g
  • Iron 0.8mg
  • Calcium 31mg
Can you believe the calorie count on this?!?!  Delicious and not diet busting.

Changes denoted by red text

1 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2½ cups quick-cooking oats
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Cooking spray
¾ cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1¼ cups butterscotch morsels (about 8 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Ingredient Notes:
Walnuts – you’ll need to toast the walnuts yourself.  In the equipment listing, you’ll see the small skillet and wooden spoon to do this.  You should toast them prior to chopping.

Equipment Needed:
Kitchen Scale
Small skillet
Wooden spoon
Small bowl (2 - beating eggs & melting butter)
Fork (2 - beating eggs & mixing)
Large bowl
Medium bowl
Spoon - mixing (3)
13x9" Baking pan
Microwave-safe bowl
Plastic spatula
Cooling rack

Equipment Notes:
Kitchen Scale – This doesn’t have to be one of the fancy electronic ones.  You can get a regular scale from any discount retailer for under $20.  If you are trying to lose weight, a scale is useful beyond baking.

Mini-Chop – It isn’t NECESSARY, but it certainly makes chopping nuts incredibly easy.  You can also use a table-top manual chopper if you’ve got one.  Again, you can find a mini-chop for  under $20 at any discount retailer.

Baking pan – a baking pan is made of metal and can be used for nicely browned baked goods.  If you are using a glass baking dish instead, reduce the temperature for baking to 350°F.

(1)  In a small skillet, toast the walnuts, stirring often.  Using a mini-chop, finely chop them.

(2)  Preheat oven to 350°F.

(3)  Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Stir in vanilla and egg.

(4)  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. 

Weighing is the best option when it comes to baking.  You can buy an inexpensive scale at any discount retailer.  If you choose the dry measuring cups, do not pack the flour when spooning it into the cup.

(5)  Combine flour, oats, ½ teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

(6)  Add oat mixture to sugar mixture; stir with a fork until combined (mixture will be crumbly).

(7)  Place 3 cups oat mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; press into bottom of pan. Set aside.

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