Okay, so I know according to my poll (you can still vote here!!) the majority of people want to read about my additional preparations for France, but I’ve been holding off because I’m hoping to have an apartment locked down soon. So I’ll write about it once that happens! Cross your fingers that I’ll have it figured out this week sometime.
In the meantime, I figured I’d do my first cooking/baking post. I’ve made several different things lately–guacamole twice, mango salsa once, and fruit bars once–but I’m not used to blogging yet so I didn’t take any photos! However I decided to make the fruit bars again today, so I documented the process.
I decided to make these fruit bars for the CouchSurfing potluck that I was going to (which apparently some of you are also interested in hearing about, so maybe I’ll write about that soon too). My wonderful mother found the recipe here on AllRecipes.com for me, and it turned out to definitely be a keeper!
The bottom layer of the fruit bars is a mixture of crushed pretzels, sugar, and butter. It calls for 1 1/4 cups of butter, which is 2 sticks + 4 T. The first time I made the fruit bars I used 2 sticks and it was more than enough; this time I used a stick and a half and it was plenty. I thought maybe it was a mistake on the recipe, but none of the commenters on the website have said anything about that, so maybe it’s just supposed to be really buttery? Just make sure you use enough to make the pretzels stick together. When it’s all mixed together, it should look like this.
When it’s all mixed together, pat it in the bottom of a 14 inch pizza pan (or a 9 x 13 glass pan, if you, like me, don’t have a 14 inch pizza pan). No need to grease the bottom- there’s plenty of butter for that! When you’re done, it’ll look like this.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. I set it for 10 minutes then took it out, since the pan is smaller than the pizza pan it calls for. When it’s done, it should look like this and will set as it cools. You want it hard enough to stick together, but not so hard that it’s impossible to cut.
Let the bottom cool completely so that the next layer doesn’t melt when you put it on. While you’re waiting, you can work on washing and cutting up your fruit. You can basically use whatever you want, but this time I used strawberries, purple grapes, kiwi, and canned mandarin oranges. The last time I used raspberries too but they’re SO expensive compared to strawberries, and they’re fragile so they don’t hold up very well to mixing with the other fruit. Blueberries would be good but I don’t like them (it’s like biting into a tiny water balloon. GROSS.) so I left them out.
The middle layer is comprised of sweetened condensed milk, Cool Whip, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix the milk, lime juice, and lime zest (I don’t measure it, just get as must zest off one lime as I can). The recipe calls for a quarter cup of lime juice, and I got almost that much out of one small lime. Some hints for getting more juice out of a lime, especially if you don’t have one of those nifty squeezer things: microwave the lime for about 10 seconds and then roll it on the counter under your hand a few times before cutting it in half. Then take your knife and stab into the cut size of the lime a few times before squeezing.
After mixing the milk, lime juice, and lime zest, fold in the Cool Whip. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping, which is about half of a 8 oz. container of Cool Whip. Don’t mix too vigorously or the Cool Whip would lose all the air in it. When it’s all mixed together. smooth it on top of the cooled pretzel layer.
At this point, I like to stick the pan in the fridge for awhile to set up the creamy layer, but it’s not necessary. If your fruit is all cut up, you can go ahead and add it on top, so that it looks something like this! It calls for 7 cups but don’t measure it; I just use however much I happen to have bought.
Make sure the fruit is completely drained before putting it on top. Then go ahead and cut it into pieces! I would suggest taking the first piece for yourself– you know, to make sure it’s good and to make getting the other pieces out easier. 🙂
- 3 cups finely crushed pretzels
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups cold butter or margarine
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lime peel
- 1 1/2 cups whipped topping
- 7 cups assorted fresh fruit
- In a bowl, combine pretzels and sugar; mix well. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into a 14-in. pizza pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine milk, lime juice and peel. Fold in whipped topping; spread over crust. Cover and chill. Top with fruit just before serving.