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Tag Archives: baking

Site Update!

8 Jul

I’ve finally launched my re-designed site! ¬†You’ll still find our best recipes at http://www.chewoutloud.com, and you can follow me there now ūüôā

Happy looking, cooking, and… chewing!!

-Amy

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Strawberry Icebox Cake (No Bake!)

10 Jun

I must have been hiding under a rock all these years, because I’ve only become familiar with icebox cakes this year. ¬†I may be a late bloomer to this cool no-bake cake, but I’ve totally been making up for lost time.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 4

Yes, this yummy cake is absolutely bake-free.  The kitchen gets to stay cool for those warm summer days.  The time is ripe for sweet strawberries, and we are loving them right now.  We just had this delish Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and now this. This Strawberry Icebox Cake comes together beautifully, making for an impressive looking dessert for get-togethers.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

I love how easy this cake is to pull off! ¬†Some assembly required. ¬†Six ingredients. ¬†That’s all it takes to wow your family and friends with this light, refreshing cake that has just the right amount of sweetness to it. ¬†Not too sweet nor heavy. ¬†Which means you can eat more of it.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 2

Yes.  You will totally eat more than just once slice.  This Strawberry Icebox Cake boasts two pounds of fresh strawberries, freshly whipped cream, and graham crackers that soften into an airy, cake-like texture as it rests overnight in the fridge.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 3

That’s another thing. ¬†I’m the biggest fan of make-ahead food. ¬†If I can make it ahead of time, it’s a done deal. ¬†Less fuss on the day of the party is always, always a very good thing. ¬†I’m already planning my next icebox cake flavor.

Enjoy this while fresh strawberries abound.

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STRAWBERRY ICEBOX CAKE (NO BAKE) 
Serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs fresh, sweet strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz graham crackers (about 24-28 whole crackers or 4 sleeves)

Simple ganache:
2 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

In a large metal bowl, combine 3 cups heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  Place entire bowl, plus beaters of electric mixer, into fridge for 10 minutes to chill.  On medium-high, beat heavy cream mixture until stiff peaks appear.

Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan. ¬†Lay six graham crackers down evenly. ¬†Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the graham crackers, followed by a single layer of closely-placed strawberries. ¬†Repeat layers (graham crackers, whipped cream, strawberries) 3 more times. ¬†You will have 4 layers total of graham crackers when finished. ¬†Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top of entire dessert, and add rest of strawberries for garnish.

Heat 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. ¬†Once it bubbles, turn off the heat. ¬†Add chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. ¬†Whisk mixture until it’s thick and glossy. ¬†Let it cool to lukewarm and drizzle ganache over dessert (I use a plastic baggie with tiny bit of tip cut off.)

Cover loosely with tented foil and chill in fridge overnight, for crackers to soften.  Keep cold until ready to serve.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from theKitchn

Stabilized Whipped Cream

7 Jun

Whipped cream is arguably the best dessert accompaniment ever. ¬†In fact, I had plans to write a different post tonight, but that game plan was derailed by the realization that my favorite whipped cream still doesn’t have its own post. ¬†It’s finally time to set things right. ¬†Stabilized whipped cream is awesome stuff, and it couldn’t be easier to make or more adaptable to use.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 4

If you make your own whipped cream, you know there is absolutely no equal in store-bought tubs or cans.  No packaged whipped cream holds a candle to the real deal.

Since it only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to whip together, there’s no reason not to whip out that whisk. ¬†I always “stabilize” my whipped cream, which creates whipped cream that is more resilient and won’t get runny as it sits. ¬† Stabilized whipped cream holds together beautifully and keeps its shape for many days. ¬†I love using stabilized whipped cream in lieu of heavy ¬†frostings whenever possible.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 5

When you’re in the mood for a light, fluffy frosting, use stabilized whipped cream to frost cakes or pipe long-lasting swirls onto almost any dessert. ¬†You’ll love the fact that you can make stabilized whipped cream ahead of time, keep it in the fridge without worries of it melting away, and use it when you’re ready to go. ¬†You can frost or pipe onto desserts and safely keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 2

Just whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla (or other flavored extract) until those pretty soft peaks show up.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

Steadily pour in the gelatin/water mixture, while continuing to whip all the way to stiff peaks.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 3

Viola! ¬†The whipped cream takes on a sturdier texture, while remaining light and airy when you taste it. ¬†I’ve done various flavors, with Kahlua whipped cream being my fave. ¬†I used Kahlua whipped cream for this unbelievable Double Chocolate Cake, which was seriously over-the-top-of-the-entire-moon. ¬†Deeelicious.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 6

Such a long post for such an easy little recipe. ¬†It was long overdue, so I’m overcompensating ūüôā

Happy whisking!

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STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM (about 4 cups)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
4 TB powdered sugar
2 TB vanilla extract (or Kahlua or other flavored extract)
2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder (Knox)
2 TB water

DIRECTIONS

Pour cold heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large metal bowl.  Place bowl and whisks of electric mixer in fridge for 5-10 minutes to make everything cold.

Meanwhile, combine gelatin powder and 2 TB water in a small glass bowl.  Once water has been fully soaked up by the gelatin, microwave the mixture for 15-20 seconds.  It should become a thick, hot liquid.  Stir well and let sit at room temp.

Remove the bowl from fridge. ¬†Beat on medium-high until soft peaks just start to form. ¬†Set whipped cream aside and check the gelatin mixture. ¬†(If it has re-coagulated, microwave a few seconds at a time until it turns liquid again.) ¬†If it’s hot, stir until it cools down to lukewarm. ¬†It should be a slightly warm liquid, but not hot. ¬†Resume beating whipped cream, while steadily pouring liquid gelatin right where the whisks are beating, to ensure it is being fully incorporated.

Beat whipped cream to stiff peaks. ¬†Try to stop beating right at stiff peaks, but if you accidentally over-beat it a little bit, don’t worry. ¬†It will still frost and pipe fine.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Homemade Nutter Butters – Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

3 Jun

Our family keeps peanut butter in business. ¬†The first time I heard peanut butter was banned in preschool years ago, I panicked. ¬†Stood there and racked my brain for alternative lunch box ideas my then-three-year-old would eat without cajoling. ¬†Since then, we’ve settled into many nut-free lunch options. ¬†But at home, we do peanut butter. ¬†Lots of it.

Homemade Nutter Butters

From Peanut Butter Muffins¬†for breakfast to Peanut Butter Brownie Cups for dessert, we’ve got it covered. ¬†Peanut butter cookies are a hands-down winner around here. ¬†Especially if they resemble the nostalgic Nutter Butters my mom used to bring home, back in the day.

Homemade Nutter Butters 2

These Homemade Nutter Butters are unquestionably the ace of sandwich cookies.  They are the boss of all peanut butter cookies.  The cookie part is addictive all on its own, but when that famous nutter butter filling gets slathered on, these become out of this world.

Homemade Nutter Butters 3

Homemade Nutter Butters taste just like the packaged ones, except these are softer, with an deliciously toothsome bite.  The peanutty filling is fluffy, soft, and reminds me exactly of the store-bought cookie filling.  Without any tongue-twisting ingredients.  You just have to make these cookies yourself to grasp how tasty they are.

Homemade Nutter Butters 4

The cookie shape is all up to you. ¬†Make it a nut, make it round, make them big, make ’em small. ¬†My later batches went towards bite-size sandwich cookies, and they were my favorite. ¬†Sorry, my camera was out of the picture by then ūüėČ ¬†The bite-size cookies were super cute, easier to fill, and less likely to break apart when smashing the little sandwich together.

Any shape or size, these Homemade Nutter Butters are a hit.  Enjoy!

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HOMEMADE NUTTER BUTTERS (PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH COOKIES)
(makes roughly 30 larger cookies or 60 smaller ones)

INGREDIENTS
For the Cookies:
1 cup salted butter, room temp (just slightly soft, not melty at all)
1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

For the Filling:
1 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temp
3 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 TB whole milk

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high.  At medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time and vanilla, mixing until well incorporated.  At low speed, slowly mix in the dry flour mixture.  When dough is combined, wrap tightly in cling wrap, and place in fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. ¬†To make peanut shape, form cookie dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a long oval shape (1″ x 2″) about 2 inches apart. ¬† Use a fork to make criss cross pattern, and pinch center gently to create peanut shape. ¬†Keep rest of dough cold while you make one batch at a time. ¬†(To make round cookies, flatten 1 inch dough balls into circles about 1/2 inch thick, and use a fork to press pattern on them.)

Bake 8-9 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Pinch cookie centers again, if needed, to keep peanut shape.  Sprinkle hot cookies with granulated sugar.  Cool a few minutes on baking sheet and finish cooling on wire rack.  Once cookies are completely cooled, they can be filled.

To make the filling: ¬†In a large bowl, beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. ¬†Gradually add in powdered sugar and beat until filling is smooth. ¬†Add 1 TB milk at a time, until desired consistency. ¬†Fill to your heart’s content!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from cookiesandcups.com

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

28 May

There’s quite possibly nothing more classic than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. ¬†It’s the sandwich each of my boys packed into their very first school lunch boxes. ¬†Peanut butter is one of the few things I would eat as a picky kid. ¬†It’s the thing I eat still eat by the spoonful today.

Peanut Butter Jelly Muffins

Peanut butter is my superfood. ¬†Everyone knows it’s a lunch favorite. ¬†Most of us know it makes to-die-for desserts. ¬†As in ooey gooey peanut butter brownie cups. ¬†And now, peanut butter has become one of my breakfast addictions.

The boys and I made these on a rainy spring morning. ¬†My little guy took a bite and exclaimed, “Mmm! ¬†These taste like peanut butter!” ¬†My guys were extra spoiled because I even let them scrape the jar clean at the end. ūüôā

Peanut Butter jelly Muffins 2

These peanut butter and jelly muffins are a major breakfast treat.  Loaded with protein and real fruit preserves, they pack a nutritional punch to start your day with.

Peanut Butter Jelly Muffins 3

These peanut butter and jelly muffins are remarkably hearty and delish. ¬†It’s a super satisfying breakfast on the go, as Hubby will attest to. ¬†These are not dainty; rather, they are dense and moist. ¬†Just the way you’d expect peanut butter muffins to be. ¬†The fruit preserves are wonderfully sweet and flavorful in the muffins. ¬†I use real preserves rather than jelly, but jelly sounds better for a title.

If you love big peanutty flavor, you’ll enjoy this one. ¬†Happy baking!

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PEANUT BUTTER and JELLY MUFFINS (12 large muffins)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 TB cold, salted butter
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup whole milk, sit out for 10-15 min
jar of fruit preserves or jelly
powder sugar for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

Set oven to 350F and line muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the peanut butter and cold butter, using a pastry cutter, until entire mixture becomes well incorporated.  In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and milk.  Stir egg/milk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened.  Fill lined muffin cups halfway.  Drop in about a tablespoon of fruit preserves/jelly over each muffin cup.  Fill rest of muffin cups to the top with the rest of the batter, smoothing the tops evenly.

Bake for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few tender crumbs attached.  Cool muffins completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar upon serving, if desired.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Taste of Home

Very Berry Pie Bars

24 May

Memorial weekend signals the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to celebrate the sunshine than picnics, BBQ’s, and lots of ripe berries?

Very Berry Pie Bars 5

Can’t decide if you crave pies vs. dessert bars? ¬†No problem. ¬†We can go hybrid and do it BOGO style. ¬†Two in one. ¬†Bargain hunters, this one’s for you.

It’s a win-win combination. ¬†Think of it: ¬†a buttery and toothsome crust, plus crumbly topping with hints of zesty lemon strewn throughout. ¬†Creamy, thick filling bursting with sweet, juicy berries.

Very Berry Pie Bars

These fresh berry pie bars are the best of both worlds, with tasty pie crust, crumble topping, and plummy filling. ¬† Minus the fuss of actually making a pie. ¬†This “pie” comes in the form of ¬†an easygoing, happy-go-lucky pie bar that’s easily made ahead of time and even easier to dig into.

Very Berry Pie Bars 3

These berry pie bars can happily be made the night before, chilled in fridge, and sliced when ready to devour. ¬†I sliced mine into smaller squares to feed a crowd, and there was plenty to go around. ¬†For easy serving plus cute factor, just house the individual squares in pretty cupcake liners. ¬†These are best served chilled, so keep ’em cold until dessert time. ¬†They won’t sit around long once you bring them out.

Enjoy, and happy Memorial weekend!

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VERRY BERRY PIE BARS (makes one 9×13)

For the crust and topping:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup white sugar
Zest of one large lemon
1 1/2 cups salted butter, cold

For the filling:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups white sugar
1 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Juice of one large lemon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
30 oz any mixture of fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. ¬†Generously grease a 9×13 pan along bottom and sides. ¬†Set aside.

In bowl of a food processor, lightly pulse together the flour, sugar, and lemon zest just until blended. ¬†Cut cold butter into slices and add to bowl. ¬†With a few short pulses, cut the butter into flour mixture just until mixture is crumbly. ¬†Small bits of butter remaining is fine. ¬†(Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor.)

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the flour/butter mixture for the topping. ¬†Pour the rest of the mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan. ¬†Press firmly for an even layer of crust on bottom of pan. ¬†(It’s easy to press evenly with the flat bottom of a water glass or ramekin.) ¬†Bake crust about 15 minutes or until golden. ¬†Remove baked crust from oven, but keep oven on.

Combine eggs, sugar, Greek yogurt, flour, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Carefully fold in the berries with rubber spatula.  Gently spread filling over the baked crust.  Sprinkle reserved topping over the filling, to make an even layer of crumble topping.

Bake about 75 min to 90 min or until topping turns golden and bars are set.  Cool completely at room temp before putting in fridge to chill.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Cut and serve cold.

Source: ¬†Chew Out Loud, adapted from Annie’s Eats, via the Pastry Queen

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

28 Mar

Whoever thought to make a dessert out of carrots was sort of genius.  Who would have thought that shredded carrots would be yummy in birthday cakes or cupcakes?  Carrot cake is one of the most beloved flavors today, and for good reason.  Armed with a great recipe, anyone can bake up a superbly moist, tender, and addictive carrot cake.

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My kids know this yummy treat is called carrot cake, but I doubt they realize there is an abundance of freshly shredded carrots in their dessert. ¬†Lots of good-for-you carrots. ¬†Plenty of plump raisins. ¬†Walnuts, if you like them. ¬†Extra raisins if you don’t.

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Over the years, I have made carrot cake in the form of bundts, loaves, and cupcakes. ¬†This time, I opted for a simple sheet cake. ¬†Easy and fail-proof deliciousness. ¬†This fabulous carrot cake recipe is one I’ve loved ever since an old friend shared it with me ages ago. ¬†It’s one of those well-loved recipes that has years’ worth of chicken scratch written all over the margins and is fraying along the edges.

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

This carrot cake is perfect for Easter, birthdays, or just whenever. ¬†With or without cream cheese frosting, it’s delish for dessert or even breakfast. ¬† It can double up as a morning coffee cake, right? ¬†After all, carrots and raisins are totally good for you. ¬†Enjoy ūüôā

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RECIPE (one 13×9 pan)
Easy one-bowl method for simple cleanup

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cup olive oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups grated raw, peeled carrots
1 can (8-10 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cups softened butter
16 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. ¬†Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. ¬†Press a long sheet of foil into a 9×13 pan, with extra foil hanging over edges for easy cake removal. ¬†Grease the foil.

2.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, mixing well.  Form a well in the center.  Add sugar, oil, and eggs into the well and mix wet ingredients by hand.  Fold into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

3.  Fold in carrots, pineapple, raisins, and optional walnuts.

4.  Bake in greased, foil-lined pan about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean.  Cool and remove with foil sling.  Frost as desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add sugar gradually and beat well.  If too thick, add small amount of milk.  If too thin, add small amounts of sugar until desired consistency is reached.  Frosting naturally thickens and firms up as it sits.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from my old friend Naomi

Honey Pear Bread

22 Mar

Quick breads are one of my fave things to bake for breakfast. ¬†Now, I don’t wake up extra early to bake. ¬†I’m a bear if awoken too early. ¬†I don’t even try to pretend I’m Miss Sunshine at the crack of dawn. ¬†Instead, my happy night-owl self prefers to strut around the kitchen in the evening, baking something yummy for tomorrow’s breakfast. ¬†Honey Pear Bread makes an awesome breakfast, particularly if it was baked the day before ūüôā

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I often bake various quick breads on the weekends so the family has something extra yummy for breakfast when they wake up.  They love this moist, tender, pear-filled bread with the perfect balance of sweetness, thanks to honey and brown sugar.  Honey Pear Bread is loaded with healthful ingredients, making it a no-brainer for both flavor and nutrition.  One loaf lasts about one day in our household.

Honey Pear Bread 3

This Honey Pear Bread is a tasty alternative to apple breads, when you’re looking to deviate from the norm. ¬†I love that this bread uses firm pears, because pears are almost always firm at the store when I buy them, and I don’t have to wait for them to soften! ¬†A bit of immediate gratification.

Honey Pear Bread 4

This recipe makes extra batter, which is perfect for tender muffins – bonus! ¬†Dense, moist, chock-full of goodness, and superbly satisfying. ¬†Make some Honey Pear Bread, and sit back to enjoy it with your morning coffee. ¬†Or afternoon ¬†snack with tea. ¬†Or dessert with ice-cream on top ūüôā

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Honey Pear Bread (or muffins) keeps really well. ¬†Both texture and flavor are much better the day after it’s baked.

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RECIPE (one large 9×5 loaf + ten muffins, OR 2 smaller loaves)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TB vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 TB ground flax meal (dry)
5 cups of very firm pears, peeled and diced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle position.  Generously grease one large loaf pan and line a muffin pan (or grease two loaf pans for two smaller loaves.)

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, olive oil, applesauce, and honey.  Stir together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir to incorporate.

In another large bowl, combine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, all-purpose and wheat flours, and flax meal.  Mix dry ingredients well.  Gently fold honey mixture into dry ingredients, just until completely moistened.  Gently fold in pears, distributing evenly.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and/or muffin tin.

For single large loaf, filled almost to the top, bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean, with few moist crumbs attached.

If splitting batter between two loaf pans, bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

For muffins filled almost to the top, bake 20-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by allrecipes

Lemony Lemon Bars

19 Mar

Spring officially debuts on March 20, like right now. ¬†If you’re living it up in a warm climate, you’re feelin’ the spring. ¬†If you live where the snow is still knee-deep, well… we can surely pretend, right? ¬†It stretches the imagination when I walk into a Target store and see the beach shorts and flip flops front and center. ¬†Because just beyond the doors is a snow storm. ¬†I’m all for letting the imagination fly.

Luscious Lemon Bars

Even though winter is citrus time in much of the country, fresh lemons seem to scream spring. ¬†The pretty bright yellow just makes you happy. ¬†These super lemony lemon bars are like spring’s mascot. ¬†If it doesn’t feel springy, at least it will taste like it!

Luscious Lemon Bars 3

Both Hubby’s parents and my parents live in sunny So. Cal., and they are blessed with all sorts of lush fruit trees thriving in their backyard. ¬†Whenever I get my hands on a bunch of fresh lemons, I think of my father in law’s lemon tree on steroids. ¬†It produces lemons that resemble little grapefruits. ¬†Wish I had a picture of those for you.

Luscious Lemon Bars 2

These lemon bars are ultra lemony. ¬†Superbly lemonish. ¬†The juice of three big lemons plus lotsa zest creates an amazingly tangy + sweet filling that is a burst of happiness in your mouth. ¬†The smooth lemon filling rests atop a tender yet crisp butter crust that is a taste of perfection. ¬†My family adores lemon bars. ¬†My kids beg me not to give them all away when I make them. ¬†Hubby used to buy them from a gourmet pastry shop for me when we were dating. ¬†These are by far the most perfect lemon bars we’ve inhaled, and we think you’ll love ’em too.

Enjoy a little flavor of spring, wherever you happen to be!

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
12 TB regular butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch pieces

For the Filling:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup white sugar
3 TB all purpose flour
Juice of 3 large lemons (2/3 cup)
Zest of 2 lemons
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp table salt

DIRECTIONS

For the Crust: ¬†Preheat oven to 350F with oven rack at middle position. ¬†Press a long piece of foil into 13×9 baking dish, so that the ends hang over the dish (helps with removal of bars.) ¬†Grease the foil and set aside.

Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor until fully combined, about 15 seconds. ¬†Add butter and process to blend, about 10 seconds. ¬†Then pulse until the mixture looks pale yellow, resembling a coarse meal. ¬†(If you’re doing it by hand, mix the dry ingredients together in large bowl. ¬†Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of a grater, into the bowl and toss pieces to coat with flour mixture. ¬†Rub the bits with fingers until flour turns pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.) ¬†Sprinkle crust mixture into prepared pan and firmly press into an even layer over bottom of pan. ¬†Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes. ¬†Then bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For the Filling:  Whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in large bowl.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, milk, and salt to incorporate.  Reduce oven temp to 325F.  Stir filling mixture well, and pour into warm crust.  Bake until filling feels firm upon a very light touch, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely to room temp.  Tightly cover and  chill in fridge before serving.  Once chilled, remove entire dessert with foil sling, and cut into squares.

Dust with powdered sugar upon serving, if desired.  Bars will keep well in fridge, covered.

Source: ¬†Chew Out Loud, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

10 Mar

We’re getting into that silly time of year. ¬†Did anyone else miss that all-important hour of lost sleep for daylight savings like I did? ¬†March equals rain and slush around here, with some days stuck in winter and other days hinting at the upcoming spring. ¬†Warmer, cooler, sunshine, snowstorm… March cannot make up its mind, and it’s all wishy-washy this time of season.

Thank goodness we can depend on the yumminess of brownies when we need something consistently satisfying!

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 3

These sweeties aren’t just any brownies, either. ¬†They are Mint Chocolate Brownies, adapted from my all time favorite chewy brownie recipe.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

St. Patty’s Day is March 17, which is only a week away. ¬†These deliciously chewy, rich Mint Chocolate Brownies are perfect if you’re looking for something with a little bit of green.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 2

These mint chocolate brownies are chewy, fudgy, and refreshingly minty.  I used a bit of peppermint extract to enhance the minty flavor, and it turned out nicely subtle, which I like.  If you want to up your minty-ness, just add more peppermint extract to your batter.

Enjoy!

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup (1 oz) Dutch processed cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 cup + 2 TB boiling water
2 oz unsweetened, good quality solid chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 2 TB olive oil
4 TB regular butter, melted
2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose, sifted flour
3/4 tsp table salt
1 1o-oz bag mint-chocolate morsels, or dark chocolate/mint chocolate combo

DIRECTIONS

Bring kettle of water to boil.  Adjust oven rack to second-to-lowest position and preheat to 350F.

Insert 2 long sheets of foil perpendicular to one another in baking pan, long enough to hang over edges.  Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil against pan.  Grease foil sling and set aside.

Whisk cocoa and boiling water (measure out correct amount from kettle of boiling water) together in large bowl until smooth.  Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.  Whisk in oil and melted butter.  Whisk in eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and peppermint extracts.  Continue to whisk until smooth.  Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.  Sprinkle salt and sifted flour into batter and mix with rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in 1 cup of the mint/chocolate morsels.

Transfer batter into prepared pan, spreading into corners and smoothing the surface. ¬†Sprinkle with remaining chocolate/mint morsels. ¬†Bake about 30-33 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. ¬†It’s done when toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached; should not come out completely clean. ¬†It may seem underdone, but it will set upon cooling. ¬†Do not over bake, or brownies will be dry.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove brownies from pan using foil sling.  Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.  Can be stored in airtight container at room temp for a couple of days.

By:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Cooks Illustrated

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