Erin Gleeson, the author of The Forest Feast, is totally living a dream life. Imagine packing up your spouse and kiddos and traveling through the Mediterranean for three months in search of foodie inspiration. Yes, please! Honestly, this book is total eye-candy. From the gorgeous photos of the bluest beaches in Italy and France to the most adorably quaint cafes in Sicily and Portugal, it’s full of gorgeous landscape and architecture. And this book wouldn’t be a Forest Feast book without the undeniably adorable watercolor drawings that Erin includes of the ingredients and instructions for each recipe.
I chose to make this particular pistachio-honey bar recipe because I wanted to make something that my boyfriend’s family would enjoy. Honey, sugar and pistachios seemed right up their alley. The final verdict: they loved it. It was completely devoured within a few hours! Success 😉
This recipe was inspired by the local honey tasting that Erin and her family did at a lodge at the top of Mount Etna. I’m just like… I want to taste honey on the top of an active volcano in Sicily!! <3
These honey-pistachio bars are so freaking delicious. So delicious that they won me into the good graces of my boyfriend’s family 😉 They said it reminded them of an Iraqi dessert they love. And the following week, they [repeatedly] asked me to bring it again. They are sweet (both his family and these honey-pistachio bars), and the salt from the pistachios and the pinch of extra salt sprinkled on top makes it taste well-balanced and so addictive. It’s a struggle not to eat like seven bars in one sitting. Maybe that’s what you end up doing. No shame in that. Enjoy! And share these with anyone you want to impress!
Also, I was really curious why some recipes (like this one) call for cold butter while others call for room temperature butter and still others require melted butter. Like, what if I accidentally forgot to thaw the butter and I tried to soften it in the microwave but then forgot about it and now I have a puddle of melted butter instead of room temperature butter? Are my cookies going to explode in the oven? Are my brownies going to become cement? Let’s take a peek into some SCIENCE. When butter is at different temperatures, it actually creates different textures in your baked goods because of what happens to the water content in butter.
Cold Butter = You’ll create flaky layers because cold butter remains in pieces when you mix it in the dough, instead of getting fully incorporated. These butter pieces create pockets that release steam during baking which creates crispy, flaky layers.
Use cold butter to make crispy & crunchy cookies, scones, biscuits and pastries.
Soft Butter = You’ll create tenderness and lift because when butter and sugar are creamed together, air is incorporated into the batter or dough.
Use soft (room temperature) butter to make soft & chewy cookies and cupcakes.
Melted Butter = You’ll create soft and dense baked goods because when butter is melted, most of its water content gets released, so it doesn’t release much steam during baking to create layers or lift. Just dense yumminess.
Use melted butter to make brownies and loaves like banana or zucchini bread.
from The Forest Feast Mediterranean by Erin Gleeson
– 3/4 cup (95 g) roasted, salted, shelled pistachios
– 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
– 2 Tbsp honey, plus some extra to drizzle on top
– 2 cups (250 g) flour [I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour Blend]
– 1 cup (225 g) cold butter, cut into chunks
– pinch of salt
– Preheat the oven to 350 F.
– Pulse the pistachios in a food processor a few times.
– Remove 1/4 cup of the pistachios and set aside.
– Add the sugar, honey, flour and cold cubed butter to the food processor. Pulse until it’s all well combined.
– Pour out the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Pack the mixture down with your hands. Use a small cup as a rolling pin to flatten it.
– Bake for 30 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the remaining pistachios, a pinch of salt, then a drizzle of honey.
– Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut into squares and devour 🙂