It has been an awfully long time since my last blog, but I swear I have a good excuse! I’ve been in transition and then in transit for the last month or so. We’ve been in the process of packing up our northeastern home and setting out for the beginning of a bicoastal living situation: 6 months in LA, 6 in NY. And now here we are in Hollywood, and rather than being dazzled by big screen celebrities and stars around every corner, what I’m mostly impressed by is the unobstructed access to all kinds of fresh produce.
Southern California is known especially for their citrus (i.e. Orange County, etc.) and some of my friends even have fresh lemons and grapefruits just dangling from trees right outside their front porch, begging to be a part of some baking project or refreshing cocktail.
With that as inspiration, I took a stab at creating some Mint Grapefruit Bars. Lemon bars are among my favorite desserts and I thought a little twist would be a welcome change. And while fresh blueberries are just as bountiful, I opted for the freeze dried version because I really enjoy their texture in the finished product. Plus it’s just fun to snack on astronaut food, am I right? I got these at our friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s, but if you can’t get your hands on them then fresh will work just fine as well.
In place of a traditional crust, I used rolled oats and a dash of cinnamon and honey. I like the way that the little bit of spice creeps up on you when you think you’ve counted all the flavors (grapefruit, mint, blueberry…what’s that now?) and believe it or not it gets along nicely with both of the fruits.
For a first go at whipping up a new snack on the west coast, I feel pretty good about these. They are a little bit tart, a little bit sweet, and really packed with a lot of different flavors that compliment each other rather than compete. The grapefruit itself was so fresh and perfect; I would say you can definitely expect a few more experiments with Cali citrus in the coming months!
For the Crust:
1 Cup Oats
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Honey
3 Tbsp Butter (melted)
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Sea Salt
Mix together the ingredients; a few pulses in a few processor works well but you can also just do this by hand.
Set aside a small handful of the mixture to sprinkle over the top of the filling before baking. Press remaining mixture into a 9 x 9 greased pan and bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until golden-brown.
For the Bars:
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Flour
Juice of 1 large grapefruit (about 1 cup)
Zest of 1 large grapefruit (about 2 Tbsp)
1 to 1.5 oz. freeze dried blueberries (fresh also works)
8 Mint Leaves
In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, flour, juice, and zest. Once well combined, add in the mint leaves and beat them into the mixture gently. Allow the leaves to sit in the mixture for about 5 minutes, and then remove.
Gently fold in the freeze dried blueberries and pour on top of the crust. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the filling and bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the filling has set.
Cut into squares and serve cool.