n. noun the act of expecting or foreseeing something; expectation or presentiment.
If you’ve been following this blog you are aware that I am, along with my colleagues, anticipating the #BlogBrûlée. Woo Hoo! We’ve been tweeting, blogging and instagraming for weeks now about this inaugrual event taking place over the weekend of Sept 12 in beautiful Vermont. Why? Because anticipation is half the fun! The same goes for eating. Love your food! Instead of settling for the easiest option (something straight out of a bag or box), add a little pizazz to the lunch or bento boxes of your loved ones with the promise of something homemade, fresh and flavorful. Maybe like this…I made these chocolate cookie bars with creamy filling in response to this month’s Recipe Redux challenge. The theme for August: Bars and Bites for Brown Bags, is timed just right for back to school.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid and carried a bagged lunch everyday, I always anticipated that one special surprise mom would tuck in. She loved to bake, so I had the best desserts. Well, thanks to Mom, I always had first draft picks when it came to bartering for food in the school cafeteria! One of the nicest thing about baking your own goodies is you can pack a little more nutrition into something homemade. Homemade items are also tastier. These cookie bars evolved from a chocolate drop cookie I made little healthier by substituting Greek yogurt for some of the butter (see the cheat sheet on the right for more ways to use Greek yogurt to reduce fat in baking), and boosting the fiber and phytonutrients by swapping white whole wheat for half of the all purpose flour. The filling is identical to the filling in my Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling, except I replaced the lemon zest with pistachios. The result was everything I had hoped for, moist, chocolatey with a sweet and salty middle. Please see the links at the bottom of this post for more nutritious ideas that will have your loved ones anticipating their bagged lunches like never before.
- 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the filling
- 16 oz part skim ricotta cheese or low fat cottage cheese, drained
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
3. In a large bowl sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. Cream yogurt, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
5. Beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well blended and smooth.
6. Set aside 1 cup of dough and refrigerate.
7. Spread the remainder of the dough into the prepared baking pan using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the dough into a even layer.
8 Make the filling by adding ricotta cheese, sugar, egg, honey to a medium bowl and stirring to combine.
9. Spread filling evenly over the bottom layer of dough.
10. Take out out the reserved dough from the refrigerator and using a grater, shred dough over top of filling creating third layer, or simply crumble reserved dough on top.
11. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Pack in lunch or bento boxes with a lunch box freezer pack or next to a bottle of frozen water.