Baked Maple Bars

 Did you read that correctly….”baked” maple bars? YES! Don’t get me wrong, these will not fool you into thinking you’re eating a real doughnut in all of its deep-fried goodness, BUT, it will certainly hit your maple bar spot, if you have one like I do.  I love me some good doughnuts. In fact, for one of my birthday parties growing up, I requested doughnuts instead of birthday cake. Doughnuts and a piñata for my 12th birthday….strange kid, I know. 
After following the recipe on this blog (I halved the recipe, ate 2, and gave the rest away…too tempting to keep around), I still had extra maple glaze, which by the way, is DIVINE. So I whipped in some cream cheese, butter and additional powdered sugar to create a maple cream cheese frosting {recipe coming soon!}, which would be ridiculously good on cinnamon rolls. 
Back to the maple bars.
 I happen to think The Maple Bar is superior over all doughnuts.  Am I wrong? If you disagree, I’d actually be interested in hearing what your favorite doughnut is…Bearclaw? Apple Fritter, Boston Creme, glazed, old-fashioned cake style? Is it a little sad that my knowledge of doughnut nomenclature is this extensive? Maybe. But I am not ashamed.

    Maple Bars
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening 
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2  (1/4 ounce) envelopes yeast
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups flour 
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

    Maple Icing 
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mapleine or maple extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the dough:

  • In a medium saucepan scald milk; add shortening, 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • In a large mixer bowl, add the warm water and the yeast.  Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the yeast and water and whisk to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble and become foamy.
  • After the yeast is foamy and the milk mixture is lukewarm, add the eggs to the yeast and stir to combine, then add the milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk the cinnamon into the flour and gradually add to the yeast mixture. You may need to add more (you want the dough slightly sticky but not too sticky). Knead for 3 to 5 minutes by hand or using a mixer.
  • Spray another large bowl with non-stick spray, place dough in the bowl and let raise for an hour or until double in size.
  • Punch down and roll out into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick.
  • Cut into rectangles, I cut the rectangle in half, and then each half into 6 pieces to make 12 bars, then place on a greased baking sheet. Let raise for about 30 minutes.
I had to do a little patchwork to get acceptable rectangles at the right thickness
    • While bars are raising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    • Bake the bars for 7 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown (WATCH CAREFULLY). Remove from oven and let cool slightly before icing.
    Make the icing while the bars are raising:
    • In a small saucepan mix butter, brown sugar and milk. Bring to boil on medium heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Add the mapleine and powdered sugar and blend well with a hand mixer. Add a little more powdered sugar if needed. 
    When the icing is just right and the maple bars are cool enough…drizzle the icing on and you’ve got your perfectly *baked* maple bars 🙂

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