Have Too Many Bunnies? Bake Some Bunny Bars
Yes, I have bunnies--lots of bunnies--in my garden. They eat almost everything and are particularly fond of tulips and hostas. Daffodils contain substances that are toxic, so, although the bunny chomped on some of them, Bun Bun subsequently spit the blossoms out. I would have preferred that Bun Bun leave the daffodils completely alone, but, alas, no luck. Because I have significant areas of vegetation in my back garden--that is, lots of trees, wood hyacinths, vinca vines, and bushes--Bun Bun apparently has decided to make its home with me and, probably, to work on raising baby Bun Buns. The baby bunnies are quite cute, but, really, can't they go eat somewhere else? Our neighbor has some nice ferns and azaleas that probably are tasty.
Because I'm irritated with the bunnies, I decided to bake some bunny bars. No, I haven't done in the bunnies. I'm talking symbolism, here. Although if the bunnies eat my Stargazer and Casablanca lilies again this year.... So, instead of catching Bun Bun, I decided it was time to break up the chocolate bunny I'd bought for Easter for my son, who didn't come home to claim it. The chocolate bunny has been sitting, staring at me, on the kitchen counter for weeks now. Yes, I could have just unwrapped the bunny, bitten off the ears, and then devoured the whole thing. But, no, I didn't want a sugar high or to have to do more time on the StairMaster than I already have to do. So, I decided Bunny Bars were in order. Bunny Bars are easy to share.
The bars are simple, easy, and great to make when you need a sweet treat and are in a hurry. And yes, if you are without a chocolate bunny, you can substitute 3/4 cup of broken milk chocolate or chocolate chips. If you use milk chocolate, it will melt into the batter as it bakes. The chocolate chips will remain mostly intact. The bars are full of rolled oats, walnuts, and coconut and, if you have any left over, actually improve in flavor over the course of a few days. Keep in mind that the bars are quite sweet, so cut them into small pieces. Oh, and if you'd rather, just leave out the chocolate. The bars are less sweet and quite good without bunnies--just like my garden would be...
Bunny Bars (Caramel-Coconut Oat Bars) -- Makes 12+
1/2 cup of butter or Smart Balance
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon of caramel extract
2 cups of rolled oats (old fashioned)
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1 large chocolate bunny (about 6 ounces), broken into small pieces (or 3/4 cup of milk chocolate,
broken, or 3/4 cup of chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup together until the butter melts and the mixture is hot. Stir the mixture well and add the extracts. Then stir in the oats, coconut, and walnuts until everything is well blended. Add the chopped bunny (chocolate) last. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press it in evenly and firmly with a spatula or your wet hands. Bake the bars for about 30 minutes or until they are firm and golden brown. Let the bars cool completely. Lift the bars out of the pan, using the aluminum foil. Peel back the foil from the edges and cut the bars into smallish squares.