Sesame-Peanut Bars

For those of you who told me I would love Portland, Maine, you were right! For those of you who haven’t been there yet, go ahead and go. You’ll love it.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon after taking a red eye from Los Angeles (that connected in Chicago where we missed our connection by 15 minutes), and instead of crashing in our hotel room when we finally got there, we decided to eat lunch. It was a good decision. Matt’s sister and then fiancé, now husband (Hi, Jonny!) took us to Miyake, a beautiful sushi restaurant in downtown Portland. And though Miyake isn’t exactly kid-friendly, the staff was very kind to us anyway. (Also, Teddy loved the miso soup, the blueberries in their house salad, and the pork belly Matt ordered.) (Don’t worry. Teddy’s not a total food snob, yet. A lot of his dinners are two string cheeses and fruit.)

Afterward, on our walk back to the hotel, we picked up something I eternally crave in the summer and something that is borderline impossible to find here in Los Angeles: a soft-serve chocolate and vanilla twist cone. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we swung by Standard Baking Co. and picked up some pastries—just, you know, to have in our room in case we got hungry. One of the items we picked up was their granola bar. It would be the first of many granola bars that I purchased from them during our five days in Portland. These granola bars are also what I wanted to eat this Sunday back in Los Angeles though the craving wasn’t strong enough to get me to go to the store for the missing ingredients to actually make them. Instead, I decided to settle for the above sesame-peanut bars—the ingredients for which I did have on hand. And honestly, these managed to fit the bill…for now.
Other highlights of the trip, apart from spending time with family at the rehearsal (lobster) dinner and gorgeous wedding right there on the water, were our lunches at Eventide and Central Provisions
Also, while we were away, mom.me aired the first two videos we did with them. Both feature simple recipes (and Teddy), which is kind of the Bon Appétempt normal these days, wouldn’t you say? (You may recognize the famous plum cake.) Point being, I’m obsessed with simple recipes, e.g., these sesame-peanut bars. And if you have any you want to share with me, please do! I’ve recently realized that most of my go-to simple recipes revolve around starch, cheese, and sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I think we could stand to mix it up a little.

In the mean time, I’ll be bringing the pasta water to boil.

Sesame-Peanut Bars via Bon Appétit

unsalted butter (for pan)
1¼ cups white and/or black sesame seeds
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts (I used cashews.)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an 8x8" glass baking dish; line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on all sides. Mix sesame seeds, coconut, peanuts, and salt in a large bowl. Mix honey, peanut butter, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to sesame seed mixture and mix well. 

Scrape mixture into prepared baking dish; press firmly into an even layer. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm, 30–40 minutes. Lift out of baking dish (if it starts to crumble, let cool longer) and cut into 16 bars. Let cool completely. 

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Matthew said...

kinda want to go back to portland already xoxoxo

Mark and Marsha said...

These bars look fantastic. They would make Standard Baking proud. We want to go back and eat our way through Portland (Portland Lobster Company, Fore Street, Eventide, Thirsty Pig, etc., etc., etc.). What a great and fun place!

Caryn Crasnick-Maloney said...

So glad you loved Portland. It's my favorite place in the world.

Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) said...

been wanting to go standard baking co. ever since molly wizenberg talked about their scones; no one wants to go with me, however, so i might have to do some more big name places (compared to portland) before finally going.

so how were the bars? bookmarked them when this issue came out, but you don't sound very enthused about them (;

Mary Anne said...

Hey this is a great snack for a gestational diabetic!! Since I can't have those twist cones.... (sob, sob)

Amelia Morris said...

@Heather The bars are totally a great snack and super easy to make. And I would definitely make them again. They just aren't as indulgent (or delicious) as the ones I'd been snacking on the previous week, ya know?

HAILEY said...

I have a good friend in Portland, Maine but have never made it for a visit. I live in the other Portland (which was named after Portland, ME!) Either way, I love a good homemade granola bar!

The mom.me series is adorable. Will there be more? I remember this plum cake from when you posted it last year and still haven't tried it! Seeing you make it a second time is making it rise to the top of my to-do list now that the weather is cooling and I'm itching to bake! Thanks!

Eileen said...

Wow, these bars sound so good! I don't think I've ever made anything with such a high proportion of sesame seeds before (well, besides gomasio). Super intriguing.

andre said...

Standard Baking is so so good! As are the other places you visited. But had you asked, I'd have told you to go to Lolita!

Lindsey Gideon said...

those videos are the best! Teddy is soooooo cute! He's a little mini chef in training. I wonder at what age he'll start to remember all his time with you in the kitchen :)