Monday, December 16, 2013

A Holidays Twist on the 7 Layer Bar and a Giveaway!

I started running again  the other really running a long distance.  I was calling it my test run to see where I was at as I prepare for a marathon in March again.  This  post however is not meant to be a humble brag.  It really more about that feeling you get when you are running by yourself, or well doing anything you really enjoy, that requires a little extra effort.  Running for me is my time to be "alone" while surrounded by others.  I get to observe, while never having to speak to anyone.  I might do a slight nod of the head to acknowledge and say "hi" to another runner, but once we pass, its back to being just my time.  It is my time to choose whatever path I want to take that day, to go for however long I want to...or well can that day.  A time to either think intently about something or maybe not really think about anything at all.  

We kind of all need an activity that allows us to do this, whether its cooking, baking, biking, crafting, doesn't really matter what the activity is.  It is much more about the way it makes you feel.  So this past Saturday the activity was running, while other days its more about baking.  For some, like my friend Michelle, its experimenting with new things.  This past weekend that just happened to be making Almond Joy body butter for the holidays which she is giving away along with body scrup!  You can check out her blog here: Mrs. Alexandria & Ms. Jax enter to win or enter the win at the bottom of this post.  Most days though, outside of her "real" job, Michelle is baking and selling dog treats.   What is this "thing" for you?

The other week instead of running, it was all about the baking.  With the help of my co-worker Amanda who came up with the idea, and a little tweaking by me, I made "holiday" seven layer bars.  So here is the break down...gluten-free ginger snap crust, pumpkin spice sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet and butterscotch chips, cinnamon walnuts and crumbled bacon!  You might be thinking...umm that sounds weird.  But the combination actually worked, and these bars turned out to be co-worker approved!  So if you are up for trying something a little different this holiday season, give these a try.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Walnuts.  Make these first so you are ready to assemble when its time.  Not like me who was sitting around and waiting for the walnuts to be done.

Pumpkin spice and sweetened condensed milk here.

Gluten-free gingersnap crust.  The gluten-free gingersnaps become a little chewy but still delicious.

There is nothing wrong with a bowl of semi-sweet and butterscotch chips...there just might be a few missing in this picture because...well...I might have eaten a couple.

Oh and last but certainly not least...the bacon!  

P.S. just look at all of those toppings...Yum!

"Holiday" Seven Layer Bars:
8 oz whole gluten-free gingersnap, crushed
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup cinnamon walnuts(recipe below)
3 strips crispy bacon, crumbled (I micowaved mine until crispy.

1.  Preheat oven 350°F. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Combine gluten-free gingernsnap crumbs and butter; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until bubbling almost all over.  Let cool for a couple of minutes and then using a paper towel pat the top to remove the excess butter.

3.  Next, pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. 

4.  Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with fork.

5.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm.  The finish cooling completely and then cut into bars or diamonds.

Cinnamon Walnuts:
1 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line baking dish with foil and spread out walnuts.

3. Pour oil/melted butter over nuts and add cinnamon, sugar, and salt.  Toss to coat.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool completely.

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