Whenever I’m feeling kind of meh, I have a few options. A nap isn’t usually possible (there are small children about), so I can either try to sneak episodes of whatever TLC show is new on Netflix without the li’l ones noticing, or I can make a pie. It’s hard to hide what my iPad is doing, so I think the pie wins this one.
My middle daughter is quite a diva. At age four, she is already demanding in ways I never remember being.
I was doing her hair the other day and she asked for me to do it “just like Elsa’s.” I swear to all the powers above, Frozen is doing me in. My hair is turning gray from that movie alone and how addicted my kids are to it. Anyway, no matter what I did to her hair, she continued to insist that it didn’t look right. I mean, duh. She has shoulder-length dirty blonde curly hair. Elsa has waist-length platinum flowy masses of Pantene commercial hair.
But try explaining that to a preschooler. To say she threw a tantrum would be an understatement.
She’s also been planning her fourth birthday party with way too much intricate detail. Have I mentioned she has two themes? Hello Kitty and (duh again) Frozen. Luckily, when it comes to party prep, I actually bake enough to satisfy her. And these cinnamon crunch bars are all part of the pre-party baking binge!
They’re really decadent. Buttery and crumbly and nutty and loaded with cinnamon. They’re a bit of extra work because you have to make two different layers, but the end result is pretty worth it.
For those of you with nut allergies, leave out the pecans. It’ll still taste good! But if you have no objections to having them stay, they toast very nicely in the oven and provide a great contrast for all the cinnamon sweetness.
On the bottom of these lovelies is a cinnamon sugar cookie dough layer. Kind of like a Snickerdoodle, actually, but better. And then the top is crumbs. Lots and lots of crumbs! And when they bake, they get all crunchy and crumbly. Nothing to hate here!
And nothing for my daughter to object to, I hope. As demanding as she is, my little girl doesn’t complain about dessert! She takes after her mommy that way.
Enjoy this party sampling!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Start with the crust layer. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Using the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and mix again. Gradually, mix in the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
Press the dough onto the cookie sheet. Bake for ten minutes.
While the crust layer is baking, clean out your mixer parts and make the topping. Combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add the pieces of cold butter an beat until crumbs form. Stir in the pecans gently.
Crumble the topping layer over the crust layer and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool completely.
When the bars are cool, mix the glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the bars. When the glaze has solidified, cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.