To my file of favorite mango recipes, I’ve added a new one: Mango Bars
Mangoes have taken over my life, and that’s just fine.
Dozens are heaped on my counters. My freezer is full of mango chutney and jars of mango jelly.
I’ve baked mango bread, mango cake and am about to make mango barbecue sauce, which I like on both pulled pork, ribs and grilled chicken.
The barbecue sauce has a long history. Twenty years ago I thought I could raise money for the Sun Sentinel Children’s Fund, which was part of my job at the Sun Sentinel at the time, by publishing a mango cookbook. I learned the economics didn’t work, but only after I had commissioned home economist Robyn Kalajian, a dear friend, to test a bunch of recipes I had collected. (Here’s Robyn’s wonderful website The Armenian Kitchen.)
She highly recommended this mango barbecue sauce, commenting it was delicious but didn’t really taste like mangoes. It took me 20 years to try it, but now that I’ve re-discovered it, I’m making jars and jars of it for my freezer.
New recipe! Mango Bars
After developing several go-to recipes for mangoes, I was thrilled this year to come across something new: A recipe for mango bars, adapted from the classic recipe for lemon bars. I’ve tinkered with it a bit to adapt it to my taste, and here’s the recipe I like best. (Thanks to BakingBites.com for the original and InspiredTaste.net for the crust recipe.) The bars are not intensely mango flavored, but they are delicious and a bit mellower than lemon bars.
For a crisp shortbread crust:
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mango puree (2-3 mangoes)
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, salt, lemon zest, and the vanilla extract. Add flour and melted butter and stir until a crumbly, stiff dough forms.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan (it may not look like enough dough at first, but it will cover the bottom nicely.) Place dough in freezer for 5 minutes.
Bake crust until lightly golden brown and set, 25 to 30 minutes.
While the crust bakes, make the filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. Beat in the eggs, followed by the mango puree, lemon juice and zest.
When the crust has baked to a golden brown, pour the filling over the hot crust and raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 22-24 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cool completely before slicing. Store bars in the refrigerator.
Makes 16 to 24 bars, depending on what size bar your create.
Robyn’s Mango BBQ Sauce
2 cups finely chopped or mashed ripe mangoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (I used three dashes of Cholula for a very mild heat)
Combine all ingredients and simmer 15 or 20 minutes to blend flavors. Alternately, you can apply the mixture without simmering directly to ribs, chicken or other meats on the grill. ***
Frozen Mango Daiquiri
I adapted this Mango Daiquiri recipe from Food.com. My key change: I don’t add ice cubes because I didn’t want to water down the intense mango flavor. You can add crushed ice or ice cubes if you prefer. My book club, however, proclaimed this the best thing ever.
6 ounces rum
3 cups cubed half-frozen mangoes (after about two hours in the freezer)
3 limes, juice of
1/4 cup triple sec
1/3 cup sugar
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. (If you want, you can add up to 4 cups ice cubes or 2 cups crushed ice to chill or for a thinner consistency.) ***
Bonnie’s Florida Mango Chutney recipe
Mango chutney allows me to bring a little mango joy into the rest of the year.
My maternal grandmother, Edna Hamilton, canned everything and my mom and her 12 brothers and sisters enjoyed all of their garden’s goodness all year in the jars and jars Grandma Hamilton “put up.” Her basement pantry, stocked with enough fruits and vegetables to last her huge family all winter was perhaps her greatest pride. (And there is no doubt winters in Ladysmith, Wis., were long.) Despite that tradition and my love of cooking, I have never learned to can. So when it comes to mangoes, I fill my freezer with jars of chutney and plastic bags of frozen mangoes. Over the years, I have gravitated to this method/recipe for mango chutney.
9 to 11 half-ripe mangoes (firm is better so that pieces of mango survive the simmering; I use mangoes that are at least half green)
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (more for green mangoes; less for ripe ones)
1 to 1 and 1 /2 cups cider vinegar (in proportion to sugar)
2 cloves garlic
2 onions (I used Vidalia onions this year to good results)
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced fine in the food processor (a chunk of ginger about 3 inches long)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and minced fine in the food processor (quantity depends on how hot you want it; I use one)
2 cups raisins
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Peel and cut the mangoes into small pieces. Combine everything in a large bowl. Cover and let stand overnight. (It’s fine if you let it stand for 2 hours; I like breaking it up into two days.)
The next morning, cover and cook slowly for 90 minutes to 3 hours, stirring from time to time. (I use an electric flying pan.) When done, chutney will be thick, flavors well-combined and all chunks of mango will be tender.
Pour into sterile jars and freeze any you won’t use in the next week. (Or do whatever you do to can them!)
Makes about 6 pints.
Options: You can add green peppers — lots if you like. Some recipe for chutney with 12 mangoes call for 6 green peppers! I decided I found the green pepper a little overpowering. Some people like to add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Some recipes use more cinnamon (1 tablespoon) and cloves (1 teaspoon.) Some recipes use 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno peppers. Others leave out the pepper and go with the milder cinnamon flavors. As you can see, chutney is one of those things you can alter to suit what you have and what you like.
Bonnie’s Mango Coconut Bread
Here’s a recipe I use over and over during mango season. The bread is great, but what drew me to the recipe is that it quickly uses up two cups of mangoes — and the more mangoes I use up the better. This recipe has no liquid added because of the juicy mangoes. I adapted this recipe from a 1988 mango-recipe contest from the Sun-Sentinel, where I worked for three decades, including a brief stint as food editor. This bread is very moist — so moist you want to be sure to bake this thoroughly — and freezes beautifully.
2 cups flour (I often use half whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar (Original recipe called for a cup; I am happy with the sweetness using 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 cups diced ripe mangoes
3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional; I often substitute a half cup raisins instead)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup oil (I’ve had good results doing half melted butter and half oil and I’ve also cut the oil to 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together, let sit for 20 minutes.
Pour into a 9-by-5 inch greased, floured loaf pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in preheated over, or until cake tester comes out clean. Makes 1 large loaf.
Note: I frequently leave out the nuts. The original recipe called for dates, but I substituted coconut or raisins. I have made this with very juicy ripe cut-up mangoes and with mango puree; I don’t think it would work as well with firm, green or half-green mangoes.
Also: Be sure to bake the bread thoroughly; it’s easy for such a moist batter to have a gooey middle. I tend to make the bread in three mini-loaf pans or muffin cups to ensure it bakes through and to reduce the baking time.