Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baking GALS Round 15 - Vanilla Cinnamon Bars

Cornbread meets cinnamon muffins – that’s how I’d describe this one.  I was reading through the tons of recipes I’ve flagged to try recently and discovered the stand-out ingredient in these bars…cornmeal – huh?!  I’ve had polenta cake, in fact I’ve made polenta cake in a cooking class once, but anytime I’ve seen recipes for that they generally include lemon and poppy seeds.  I’ve never seen one that includes my favorite spice.  Obvs, I had to make it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good lemon poppy seed muffin or cake, but vanilla and cinnamon are much more fall-like.  And just for those who may not know, cornmeal and polenta are the same exact thing – most definitely interchangeable in a recipe.  The only difference is the packaging they come in at the store and the name on the label.

This recipe comes together really quickly – no mixing dry ingredients separately then adding alternatively with liquids….its super simple.  Mix the wet ingredients, add all the dry into the bowl, stir, pour into a pan and bake.  Done.  Well except for the glaze.  Glazes are like my signature by this point – one I’m quite proud of too!

The texture of these bars is really interesting.  They’re definitely a little crumbly like cornbread, but have enough flour to still keep them cakey enough not to fall apart.  Without the glaze I think they’d be a little dry, but with it – perfect.  These won’t become a staple for me, but they are definitely worth a try when you want something a little off the beaten path.

Recipe adapted from www.pastryaffair.com  - Vanilla Bean Cinnamon Bars


1 cup dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup milk – I used 1%
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-3 tsp milk (or more, if you want a runnier consistency)
Couple shakes of cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease 8x8” pan.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, milk, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in the cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool before glazing.

For the glazing, mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  Cut the bars into even pieces and using a spoon drizzle the glaze on each piece.  Let the glaze set before serving, assuming you can wait that long.