I have had this recipe bookmarked in the back of my mind for almost a year now. I first had these cookies at a “bring a side dish or dessert” housewarming party for someone in John’s department. I took Mocha Truffle cookies. The secretary for John’s department, who was unable to be at the party, sent these cookies. I don’t remember if I instantly asked John to ask for the recipe or if I waited until she had asked for a recipe for another cookie I made, but I know I instantly wanted it.
You guys already know I like bar cookies, especially crumble ones. Just look at my Labels. And on one level, these are typical of the genre, which is to say wonderful and what you would expect.
Except for the fact that they have zucchini in them.
I am not sure what Trish’s experience has been, but so far everyone who has tried the ones I made has guessed Granny Smith apples. Something about simmering the zucchini slices in the lime juice brings out the sweetness in the squash. They even almost smell like apples! But the bars also taste like citrus bars, of course, because of all of that lime juice.
In short, these are an excellent and unique way to use up some of that overflowing squash in the markets right now. And because she calls for the squash to be peeled, I went ahead and used up one of those honkin’ huge squashes that always take over everyone’s gardens and that no one ever wants to use. I just scraped the seeds out and cut it into long wedges before slicing them thinly.
I labeled these under lemon baked goods because Trish called for lemon juice but I decided to use lime.
For the topping and base:
4 cups AP flour
1/2 t salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
For the zucchini:
4 cups sliced zucchini, peeled
2/3 cup lemon or lime juice
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 11X17 jelly roll pan and set aside.
Simmer the peeled, sliced zucchini in the lemon juice until tender, being careful not to overcook. For me this was around 15 minutes. Add the sugar and spices and cook another 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Then whisk together the flour and salt and add it in. This will create a crumbly mixture. Measure out 1/2 cup of this mixture and stir it into the zucchini mix to thicken it.
Trish says to pat 1/2 of the remaining dry mixture into the bottom of the prepared jelly roll pan–for me it was more like 2/3 of the remaining dough. Bake for 10 minutes in the 350 F oven.
Spread the cooked zucchini mixture onto the baked crust. Crumble the remaining dry mixture over the filling and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
Let the cookies cool completely before slicing. For me, it helped to let them stand an additional hour or so–it helped them firm up.
Don’t you hate it when you have recipes in the back of your mind that just keep gnawing at you and gnawing at you until you finally decide to make them??!!
These look great. The whole zucchini title is deceptful (is that the right word…) since you can’t spy any of the green stuff. Good one to pull over on the kids!
now i’m totally confused. You know when you work a word over and over in your head and it starts sounding weird????
That Girl says
I would have thought these were lemon bars if I hadn’t kept reading!
What an inventive way to use zucchini. I never would have guessed that these weren’t lemon bars!
Lori- you seriously made me laugh out loud 🙂 🙂
Count me as one of the people who thought these tasted like apples at first bite…
i’ve heard of people making faux apple pies using zucchini, so i don’t see why it wouldn’t work for a bar too. i haven’t tried it myself, but i have to admit that i’m skeptical. eh, it’s mostly about the crust and crumble and topping-type part for me, anyway. 🙂
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I'm SO going to try these!!! They look amazing.
Tamara Green says
Oh honey. I was interested in your recipe because we have waaaay too much Zucchini right now. And I was looking for alternatives. But, as usual, for me…I didn’t have everything so I improvised. And I wanted to share it with you because it used your recipe as the base and WOW’d everyone that has tried it.
Ok – I didn’t have lime/lemon juice – but I had two huge oranges – used their juice. I think cardamon and ginger go great with orange…so I added about a 1t of cinnamon and 1t ginger and about a 1/4 to 1/2 of cardamon/cloves/nutmeg to the sugar mixture. I don’t know if my Zucchini (because I used the giant one) was super moist…but I thought there was way too much liquid in, so I cooked it down to where when I stirred I could see the bottom of the pan for a moment / about half (after adding in the sugar – it was easily about 10-15 min more) – and then I threw in a handful of raisins (it was smelling like a good cutney – so I went with that idea). With the crust mixture, I easily doubled the cinnamon and added in a handful of pecans. Holy moly…this was good. We, here, THANK YOU for this inspiration. This will be coming out at Holidays and we are already planning to use it a birthday party soon. Thank you thank you thank you.
Thanks for sharing! I LOVE those changes! Now I want to try!