Beating the No-Baked-Good Blues

Blueberry Almond Bars

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You know that feeling when you ABSOLUTELY NEED something sweet, homemade, cakey, and delicious, but all you have around are carrots, yogurt, and some weird “healthy” snacks that seemed like a good idea at the time?  Yeah, THAT feeling.  Well, I had a bad case of the No-Baked-Good Blues when I got home from school today, so I dreamed up these babies as a side-effect-free (yes, I like to hyphenate things) homeopathic antidepressant.

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The main problem:  all of my mixing bowls were chilling in the dishwasher (dirty, of course) in my time of need.  The solution:  pot.
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Pre-bake…
No, not the Colorado kind…the Cuisinart kind!  I mean, how different are mixing bowls and pots anyway?  I figured that as long as I used my silicone whisk — so as not to scratch the Teflon — all would be fine!  And it was…better than fine, actually.  My only mistake was forgetting that I had put a yeast dough in the oven the night before for a draft-free rise spot prior to preheating the oven.  The smell of burning plastic wrap really is acrid…definitely not a fragrance coming to a Yankee Candle store near you any time soon.
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…post-bake!
These bars are yet another iteration of my quick and easy pudding mix “brownie” recipe.  Just in case you didn’t believe me before, this recipe really is limitless!  With a moist, tender texture, which only improves when stored in the fridge, this recipe is the perfect thing when you need dessert in a hurry.

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Blueberry Almond Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup blueberry syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit, and grease a large (REEEEAALLLLY grease it), rectangular baking dish.  In a small mixing bowl or large measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and oil, until smooth.  Beat in pudding mix and almond extract.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in dry ingredients, just until combined.  Fold in 1/4 cup of the white chocolate chips, and transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Drizzle blueberry syrup over the batter, trying to avoid letting syrup spread to the edges of the pan (facilitates extraction of bars from pan).  Sprinkle remaining white chocolate chips over the top.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until middle appears set and edges are just starting to brown.  Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then transfer pan to refrigerator.  Chill 1 hour prior to slicing.  For maximum freshness (i.e. minimum dryness) store cut bars in pan, covered TIGHTLY with plastic wrap, in refrigerator, for up to 5 days.

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