In Which One Bakes a Bit of Sunshine…

It all starts with dried mangoes.

It all starts with dried mangoes.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like dried mangoes.  There is just something irresistible about the taste, aroma, and texture that has made them a popular snack imported straight out of Cebu in the southern part of the country.  While dried mangoes are great for noshing on their own, they can also add a little oomph to desserts and can also throw in some extra nutrition for the benefit of those who are more fitness-inclined.

That said, I hit upon the idea of tweaking one of my blondie-bar recipes, giving it a healthy twist through the addition of dried mangoes, nuts, and some honey-roasted sunflower seeds..  The end result was a brightly-flavoured, snackable bar-cookie that was definitely on the wholesome side.

Note that these are flavoured with lemon extract and spiced up with ginger and cardamom, two spices traditionally used in mango-centric desserts in Indian cookery.  If spices aren’t your thing, feel free not to use them.  Nevertheless, spices or no spices at all, these are great for toting along on hikes and picnics, as well as nibbling alongside your afternoon cup of tea.

Healthier than most bar cookies...and that's not a bad thing at all.

Healthier than most bar cookies…and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Sunshine Blondies

  • 1 – 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 1/2 cups rolled or quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts
  • 1 packet honey-roasted sunflower kernels
  • 200 grams dried mango, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon flavouring
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Cream together the butter, margarine, and sugars  Add the eggs, lemon flavouring, spices (if you’re using them), and baking soda; mix till well blended.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line a large rectangular cake tin and evenly press in the dough.

Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes approximately 64 bars.

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