Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars – A New Southern Classic | Cupcake Project

Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars – A New Southern Classic

Grits Bars

Think of these sweet and savory Parmesan grits bars as a hand-held Southern grits breakfast.  Although this is a recipe I developed, it feels like it should have been around when the massive oak trees I saw in Charleston providing Sunday supper shade were just saplings.   Both the bars’ base and topping contain cooked grits – the bottom being just solid enough to support the looser top (think cheesecake consistency here).  Parmesan cheese covers the top of the bars like a field of cotton, adding tang to the rich, buttery grits.  Serve warm with milk, sweet tea, or, better still, sweet tea cupcakes.

Before I share the recipe, I must share how these bars were born.

The Back Story / Food Blog Prop Swap

As a food blogger, I’ve become a food photography prop collector: barn wood in many colors, plates and bowls galore, single forks, knives, and spoons long lost from their peers, and enough fabric swatches that someone might mistake me for an interior decorator.  When I heard that Alyssa of Everyday Maven and Faith of An Edible Mosaic were hosting a food blogger prop swap, I was all over it!  I entered my name in the pool, and I was told to send my box to Faith (I got paired with one of the hosts – no pressure there!).  Everyone participating in the swap is posting today, so if you head to An Edible Mosaic, you’ll see her post about what I sent her way.  Also, since she is the event host, she’ll be sharing links to everyone who participated in the swap.

If you’ve never been to An Edible Mosaic before, you’ll be impressed by Faith’s artful food photos and appealing recipes.  I’ve got my eye on her Savory Rosemary Shortbread Cookies + Creamy Whipped Feta with Rosemary (I didn’t even know you could whip feta!).

An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair

She's also written a book on Middle Eastern cuisine and just announced that she has a new smoothie book coming soon!

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Faith, however, was not the person who sent me my box; it wasn’t a simple trade.  I wouldn’t know who my box was coming from until it arrived in the mail.  It turned out Jennifer at Kitchy Cooking sent props my way.  I adore blogs that introduce me to new ingredients and Jennifer’s blog has done just that.  I’m totally fascinated by her post on Gomme Syrup (who’s heard of it?).

Small Hand Foods, Gum Syrup 8.5oz.

Gomme syrup or gum syrup is a sweetener that was used in cocktails throughout the nineteenth century instead of simple syrup.  "While simple syrup sweetens up the drink quite nicely, the gomme acts as an emulsifier and adds a silky texture that makes the drink so smooth and velvety."

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Jennifer is a huge fan of vintage and she even choose to send me some vintage magazines along with my prop box.  So fun!

Here are the complete contents of the box she sent me.

Food Blog Prop Swap Box

It was so sweet of Jennifer to think to include cupcake liners!  Surprisingly, they weren’t the first prop I decided to use.  Do you recognize the plate from the photo at the top of this post?

Betty Crocker Sphere Magazine April 1973 (Vol. 2 No. 4)

The grits bars were inspired by page 52 in the magazine on top of the pile - the April 1973 edition of Sphere, The Betty Crocker Magazine.  The version I received must have lost its cover over the years, but it was otherwise intact.

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Betty Crocker Magazine

Sphere’s homage to the kernel inspired me to try my hand at baking with grits.  In case you wondering, my best guess from the list of recipes that follows is that the items in the photo are: skillet egg bread (made with cornmeal), Virginia spoon bread (made with grits), Bacon-fried grits, and my personal favorite, grits ring with creamed chicken.

Vintage Betty Crocker Cupcakes

Although I didn’t choose to do the project, the same magazine also had a whole spread on baking a cupcake garden.

Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make

It's just this sort of idea that later made Hello, Cupcake! such a wildly successful book.

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Products Related to Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars Recipe

Bob's Red Mill Southern Style White Corn Grits -- 24 oz

These are the grits that I used.  Bob's Red Mill actually has two different products that they call grits.  I went with the ones that they call "Southern-style".

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Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars – A New Southern Classic

Yield: 12.8" x 9.5" x 2" baking pan of bars

Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars – A New Southern Classic

Ingredients

    Grits Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grits
  • Bottom Layer Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cooked grits (from above)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Top Layer Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Remaining cooked grits (from above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese

Instructions

    Grits Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.
  2. Lower heat to medium low.
  3. Add grits and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is fully absorbed into the grits (about five minutes).
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let sit for another five minutes.
  5. Remove lid, give one final stir to fluff a little, and set aside.
  6. Bottom Layer Instructions
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  8. Use your hands to mix all bottom layer ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. The result will be a sticky dough.
  9. Lightly grease a 12.8" x 9.5" x 2" baking pan.
  10. Press the entire mixture into the pan.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes. While baking, work on the top layer.
  12. Top Layer Instructions
  13. Add butter to the pot of remaining grits and return the pot to the stove.
  14. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until all of the butter is melted.
  15. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  16. In a small mixing bowl, mix together sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  17. Add contents of mixing bowl to buttery grits and stir to combine.
  18. Spread grits mixture evenly over bottom layer.
  19. Bake (still at 350 F) for thirty minutes or until top layer fully sets.
  20. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the top of the bars.
  21. Bake for another fifteen minutes.
  22. Cool slightly, cut into squares or bars, and enjoy.
http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2013/06/sweet-and-savory-parmesan-grits-bars-a-new-southern-classic.html

 

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14 Responses to Sweet and Savory Parmesan Grits Bars – A New Southern Classic

  1. Nicole Underwood June 17, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Yum, these sound like something I could TOTALLY get on board with! Adding them to my “must try” list for sure!!

  2. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) June 17, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Thanks so much for the box of props you sent me! Your box looks like a lot of fun – I also love vintage magazines so I’d have fun poring over them (loved the Homage to the Kernel!). And that plate is really beautiful!

  3. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog June 17, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Ooh, you got some great stuff! I love those vintage magazines. What a clever idea.

  4. Abbe@This is How I Cook June 17, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I’ve only recently gotten into grits, but I’m definitely sold now. These look fabulous and can’t wait to try them!

  5. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious June 17, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    The plate is gorgeous, and your two-layer recipe is intriguing!

  6. Anne@FromMySweetHeart June 17, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Such a great box of props that you received! I love the pretty little plate. I love all things vintage and so those magazines are pretty cool! Great grits bars! And your photography is just beautiful! So glad to have found your blog through this event! : )

  7. Nessa June 17, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    These look delicious!

  8. Tara June 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Such a great box! I love the vintage magazines and linens!

  9. Jennifer June 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Those bars look amazing and I’m so excited that you were able to find a cool recipe in the old magazines. Can’t wait to see what else you cook up.

  10. Alyssa (Everyday Maven) June 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Very cool – that plate is gorgeous! Thanks for participating :)

  11. Alanna June 18, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    There are grits and then there are “grits” … did you use just yellow grits, the plain de-germed ones so easily found? I’m guessing that stone-ground grits would be too coarse for the bars. I’m intrigued!

  12. Cindys Recipes and Writings June 19, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    What a cool and colorful box!

  13. Julia June 20, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Wow, these sound (and look) incredible! I’m still in awe that you invented this recipe yourself. I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, but none of my creations have ever turned out as pretty as these cupcakes look. Perhaps to make this dish more authentic, you can vary the type of cheese you use. Regardless, I can’t wait to try this!

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