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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zucchini Crunch Bars

It's been way too long since I've posted anything, but vacations and relocating with two boys, a husband, and a dog will excuse the blogging absence, I hope.

This recipe is great for summer when zucchini is abundant, and it's perfect for those prodigious specimens that escape picking until they're the size of a caveman's club. I pieced together several recipes and, with some tweaking, came up with Zucchini Crunch Bars (a spin-off of my Cranberry Crunch Bars). I don't have a picture since I gave most of it away and the piece I ate was one that fell apart, but I'll be making more. I bet once you take a bit you won't be able to tell there's squash in this dessert.

Zucchini Crunch Bars

20 oz. (~ 8 cups) peeled, seeded zucchini, cut into small chunks to look like apples
2/3 cup lemon juice (bottled is fine)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
2 pinches salt

1 Tbsp. ice
2 tsp. cornstarch

Combine zucchini, lemon juice, sugars, and spices in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini becomes translucent but not soft. (A knife should be able to pierce the zucchini, but there should be some resistance.) There should be a good amount of juice in the pan. Remove 3-4 Tbsp. liquid from the pan into a cup or bowl; stir in the cornstarch and ice until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook a bit longer, until the juices become thick. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Make the crumb topping/crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Melt the butter in a large bowl; then add the sugar, oats, and flour. Mix well. Sprinkle 2/3 mixture into a prepared 9x13 baking dish. Pour the zucchini mixture over the crumb topping/crust. Sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture over the top of the zucchini. Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and caramelized and the center is bubbling. Cool completely, cut into squares, and serve.

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