secret recipe club: vanilla peach bars

for this, my last and final secret recipe club choice, i first chose this upside down peach cake from amanda at dancing veggies. amanda's blog is full of vegetarian recipes and i had never made a cake without eggs before. but i had a different, major problem. the last few cakes i've made, i've thought they were done, taken them out of the oven, just to cut into them later to find them gooey inside. this time, my cake wasn't even close to being done. and just like the other times, i didn't know until after i had turned it out, let it cool, and took out the first slice. what a bummer. the two inches around the outside edge were cooked & delicious. my advice to those of you want to make it: make sure it's really done. and if you aren't sure, bake it another five minutes. oh, and let it cool in the pan about 15 minutes before turning it out.

that mess led me to these bars. buttery shortbread bottom, layered with sweetened vanilla spiked fresh peaches, and topped with buttery, oatey, shortbread crumbles. how can you go wrong?!

for more information on the secret recipe club, including the list of participating bloggers, featured recipes from members, and instructions on how to join, visit the secret recipe club website!

check out my previous secret recipe club posts: one hour cinnamon swirl bread, peanut butter ice cream pie with homemade hot fudge, salted totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies, mexican mac & cheese and bakewell tart, breakfast pizza two ways, old fashioned sour cream donuts, italian sloppy joes, hard cider baked chicken & mushrooms, mini cinnamon roll cakes, double chocolate zucchini muffins with chocolate butter, butterscotch M&M oatmeal cookies, 30 minute baked tortellini, snickerdoodle bars & slow cooker chicken fajitas, meyer lemon iced raspberry yogurt cake & slow cooker chicken cacciatore, almond strawberry jam thumbprints, almond butter cookies, enfrijoladas, chocolate snack cake, bacon topped maple french toast cupcakes, cherry sorbet, slow cooker beans & mushrooms, mojito chicken tacos, maple glazed whole wheat spiced apple pizza, pig out cookies, pasta with blistered tomatoes & arugula and iced grapefruit cookies, mushroom barley soup, scalloped ham and potato bake & andes mint cake, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki, asian pork chops, lemon lime meltaways, blueberry peach crisp, minted lemon ice, white chocolate macadamia nut blondies, raspberry cream filled eclairs, jam swirled cheesecake, whole wheat grapefruit cake, chewy no bake granola bars & carrot cinnamon waffles, cannoli, gingerbread muffins, double chocolate peanut butter chip oatmeal cookies, butterscotch peach cake, whole wheat honey pancakes, minted pineapple lime agua fresca, breakfast tacos, simple almond sandwich cookies, & roasted banana rum cake.

vanilla peach bars
adapted from dancing veggies
1hr 15min, makes 12 generous bars

for the base:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold & cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold water

for the peach layer:
4 peaches, peeled, pitted & sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (substitute granulated sugar)

for the topping:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (substitute granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. line the bottom of a 9x13" pan with parchment paper, leaving the sides hanging so the entire pan of bars can be lifted out once baked & cooled. set aside.
  2. make the base. combine the flour, sugars, and salt. add the butter and mix with your hands, pastry blender, or low speed on an electric mixer until the butter is the size of coarse crumbs. add the water and mix until the dough just comes together. press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. leave the oven on & let the base cool for 10 minutes.
  3. while the base is cooking & cooling, make the peach layer & topping. for the peaches, combine the peaches with the vanilla until combined. add the flour and sugar and mix until combined. set aside until ready to use. 
  4. to make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, and oats. add the butter and mix with your hands, pastry blender, or low speed on an electric mixer until the butter is the size of coarse crumbs. add the vanilla extract and mix until the dough just comes together. 
  5. once the base has cooked & cooled for about 10 minutes, spread the peaches out evenly on top of it. then, using your fingers, sprinkle the topping over the peaches. bake 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. let cool completely in the pan before removing via the parchment paper, cut into squares, and serve. 

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  1. Last post? Sorry you're leaving! Your bars look delicious! My Dad would go crazy for them (so I'm pinning them for later.)

  2. What Erin said! The SRC will miss you.

    I had your same problem with the last cake I baked. It was chocolate, so it ended up being kind of like ooey gooey brownies, and it was really good with some ice cream and chocolate sauce on top. But it wasn't right, and that was frustrating. So I feel your pain.

    However - these bars! Oh wow. These look amazing, and I'm going to have to try them ASAP.

  3. And I triple what Erin and Anna said about you leaving SRC....I am so sad but of course understand that sometimes change is necessary.
    I enjoyed every minute of being assigned to your blog for this month's post. Your blog is simply delicious and beautiful beyond words (and taste buds!) :-)

  4. Cannot wait for peaches to come back in season here in Australia - what a great way to use them!

  5. Kate - I just recently joined the Secret Recipe Club and I'm sad that I didn't get a chance to make something from your blog for the monthly rotation, but now that we've met, I'm hoping to see you around the blogosphere. I love this version of peach bars - peaches are no longer in season here in the MidAtlantic US, but hopefully I'll remember to come look for it here for next year.


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