Boom! And just like that it’s fall. A week ago we were in oppressive humidity, and now we’re looking for anything orange to wear. Not blaze orange just yet, but something subtler to ease our transition and go with all the pumpkin ale and pumpkin lattes they’ve been forcing on us since mid August. We’re supposed to be putting away the linen, and the white, but let’s do that slowly to ease the pain. How do we ease out foodwise?
First of all, we eat up all that watermelon in the fridge. If you need ideas, how about one more batch of watermelon lemonade, one ingredient watermelon sorbet , watermelon gazpacho or Joy the Baker’s groovy, spicy watermelon wedge salad that uses watermelon as the plate (it’s really good, but it was too much of a leap for my people).
What else? Keep eating corn like it’s your job. If you haven’t made the Colorado corn souper chowder please do so before I have to have a word with you in private. Charred and raw corn salad is also a good call as is this super quick and easy raw corn and radish salad from Food and Wine . And beets! We’ll be dealing much more with those soon, but in the meantime don’t forget this awesome beet salad. What else? Take that John Boy Peach Crostata recipe and substitute pears and walnuts for peaches and pecans. Transition, done!
If all that clicking and looking tired you out, you may need a salty, sweet, satisfying, easy-to-make snack that will hang out and wait patiently for your eventual cravings. Look no further. These sesame peanut bars (from Bon Appetit), remind me of the ones by the cash register at virtually every Korean deli in New York City…the same ones that taunted and tempted me at every transaction. These bars are softer (and easier on your dental work), healthier (they have coconut fergawdsakes), and do not require a trip to New York City, though that is another darned good thing to do in the fall.
One final note…ok three: I used maple syrup instead of honey for local flavor. An 8” pan makes thicker bars than what you’ll see at the deli counter. You may want to try adjusting pan size and reducing baking time for thinner bars. I haven’t tried it. Do use parchment paper like the recipe says. It may work without it but that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.
Servings: Makes about 16
- Unsalted butter (for pan)
- 1¼ cups white and/or black sesame seeds (slackers be assured, all white is fine)
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup or a mix of both. c’mon New England…show your stuff!)
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an 8×8″ glass baking dish (or larger you want thinner, crunchier bars); line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang (I mean it) 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. Use that generous overhang of parchment paper to really tamp down on the mix so it’s good and dense and holds together. 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.
Bringing it: Bars can be made 3 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature. They do just fine in the fridge too (and last longer).