Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blueberry Hazelnut Bars

An easy combination of a coffeecake and a tea bar, this is super easy to put together and packs a big flavor punch. The fruit gives this treat an amazing depth of flavor and the hazelnuts provide a lovely crunch in this yummy bar.

This recipe works great for the blueberries I bought on sale during the summer and popped in my freezer. Keep the berries frozen and just rinse before adding to the batter. I've also scored several 1 lb. containers of chopped hazelnuts for $1.99 lb. at my favorite grocery store - and over the past 2 months, I grabbed about 5-6 pounds of chopped hazelnuts. I plan to make some killer biscotti next month, but now, I just love the flavor combination of blueberries and hazelnuts - the perfect blend of tart, tangy fruit and sweet, crunchy nuts. Since I'm all about using what you can afford, this recipe fits well - especially when I'm short on time, it comes together in just a few minutes.

1 box French vanilla cake mix ($.50)
1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce ($.20)
1/3 C. dark brown sugar ($.10)
2 eggs ($.10)
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1/4 C. hazelnut coffee creamer ($.20)
1 tsp. almond extract ($.10)
3/4 C. blueberries (frozen works great) ($.40)
1/2 C. chopped hazelnuts ($.25)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all but the final two ingredients. Fold in half the hazelnuts.

Heat oven to 375.

Grease a 13x9" baking dish and spread batter in prepared baking dish - batter will be thick. Rinse frozen blueberries, lightly pat dry, and sprinkle them over the batter, lightly pushing them into the batter. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts.

Bake at 375 for 25-28 minutes, bars are done when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Yields = 24 bars
Cost: $1.85
Cost per bar: $.08

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