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Archive for October, 2010

Bars are such an easy thing to make and serve. Rather than dropping dozens of cookies onto several baking sheets and switching pans in and out of the oven, you can spread the batter into one large pan and bake it in one batch. Once they are done and cool, you just slice and serve. Pieces can be as big or small as you want.

Since I have a ton of baking to do over the next month or so, I have found a few recipes that are less time consuming to mix in with the more complicated desserts. Besides, as it turns out, sometimes the easiest desserts are the most popular! I am really excited about the recipes I will be making over the next several weeks, and I think you will enjoy them as well. This recipe is a good start to the holiday baking season but can be used year round. I was excited when I found it because it uses almond butter as a main ingredient. I haven’t baked with almond butter before, I am more of a die-hard peanut butter lover, but I do enjoy it for variety. This Food &Wine cookbook actually has a ton of great recipes and this recipe for Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Bars is one of the more simple that I found.

cookbook

For a change, I didn’t make any tweaks, and I don’t think it needs any. These crispy and chewy bars would be terrific with a glass of milk, but I’ll be serving them among a selection of many other desserts.

The details to the recipe can be found here.

For this recipe you will need a food processor and just a few ingredients

all ingredients

Side note: the hardest part of making these was getting my food processor down from the back corner of my top kitchen shelf

Chop your nuts and set aside

chopped almonds

 

Then mix up the dough in the food processor (you don’t need to clean it between these steps)

food processor 1

food processor 2

food processor 3

food processor 4

dough 1

Stir in chocolate chips (I used chunks) and chopped almonds.

dough 2

dough 3

Spread it out in your baking pan

dough 4

Bake

done 1

Crispy, chewy, delicious

done 3

done 2

Have you baked with almond butter before?

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Weekend Dessert

I call this a weekend dessert because it won’t last you more than 2 days.  Whether you live alone or with a significant other, or especially if you have kids, this dessert will be eaten in less than 2 days.  I speak the truth because I baked mine last night and now there is none left.

plated 1

One week after a trip to Costco, we still had a ton of apples and pears left uneaten.  The apples wouldn’t go bad, but I knew the pears would be browned and bruised in a few days.  Obviously the only solution is baking:-)  Since I have seen so many apple crisps in the blogworld lately, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make one of my own.

Yesterday was an amazing day.  I had no real agenda and was able to take advantage of the cloudless sky and perfect temperatures with a walk along the west side of Manhattan.  It was my first weekend in MONTHS without an event or travelling.  It was amazing!  And really, there aren’t many things better than a perfect fall day that ends with a warm Apple and Pear Crisp topped with vanilla ice cream.

I used 3 bartlett pears and 3 honeycrisp apples (great deal on those at Costco, fyi) to make a crisp that should serve 6.  We got 4 servings…

apples and pears

You want to thinly slice your fruit so that it will cook to a nice tender texture

You can peel the skin if you want, but I actually prefer it on and it saves a ton of time

cutting fruit

Get out your largest mixing bowl and pour in all of your apples and pearscut up fruit

Top with flour (I used whole wheat)

pouring flour

And sugar

pouring sugar

Of course some cinnamon and a dash of salt

fruit with flour etc

Mix well enough to coat all of the pieces of fruit

fruit mixed

Lay out the filling in a 9×9 pan or baking dish

fruit in pan

Now make your topping with butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon

ingredients for topping

Unless you have fancy pastry tools, use a knife to cut the butter into your dry ingredients

mixing topping

Cut until the mixture is full of small lumps and pour it over the apples

fruit with topping

Cook for about an hour when your apples will be tender and the topping is browned

cooked

Serve warm with ice cream, obviously

plated 2

Sidenote, any dessert served warm with ice cream is a winner in my book

plated 3

Apple and Pear Crisp

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Filling:

3 large apples*

3 ripe medium pears**

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

Topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Thinly slice your fruit, peeling optional

Pour all of your apples and pears into your largest mixing bowl

Stir in the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt until all fruit is coated

Lay out the filling in a 9×9 pan or baking dish

Now make your topping

Cut your butter into the mixture of brown sugar, flour and cinnamon

Keep cutting until the mixture is full of small lumps and pour it over the apples

Bake for about an hour or until your fruit is tender and the topping is browned

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve topped with ice cream and or whipped cream

Notes:

*honeycrisp worked really well, a mixture of braeburn and granny smith would be good for a sweet and tart combination

**I used bartlett but bosc would also work

Next time I am buying pumpkin ice cream to have with this!

What is your favorite warm dessert?

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I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with these for a while now.

bag of candy

This is sort of my vice (well, I may have a lot of food vices), but this is one that the husband tries not to support (he tries to save room for my desserts instead).

One of my big memories from growing up is making trips to CVS with my mom and sister every time we were at the mall.  Our visit was solely to seek out candy on sale.  M&Ms, chocolate bars, skittles, you name it we’d buy it (oh, unless it had coconut in it).  I grew up with multiple filled candy dishes around the house.  As kids, our friends ALWAYS liked coming over for that reason.  Actually, I think they still like it as grown-ups:-)  Anyway, now after every holiday, I make a trip to CVS to check out what candy is on sale.  There is always a use for Hershey Kisses and Reeses Peanut Butter cups in my opinion, even if the candy is orange and brown, pink and red, or red and green.  Luckily, if stored well and you can’t decide what to do with it for 10 months, your candy will still be in good shape.

chocolate bars wrapped

Then, a few days ago, I started thinking about chewy chocolate cookies.  Not chocolate chip cookies, but the chocolate chocolate kind that is almost brownie like in flavor and texture.  I thought, now this is the perfect use for the mint chocolate bars.  Who needs plain chips when you can have minty chocolate chunks instead?  I made Chewy Chocolaty Cookies with Mint with this cookie dough recipe.

cookies baked 3

These cookies are rich, sweet, chocolaty, chewy and really melt in your mouth.  They also have a good deal of mint from the candy melting into them when you bake them.  The recipe is pretty basic as far as cookies go and the hardest part is just chopping up your chocolates.chocolate bars unwrapped

Here are the steps:

Chop candy bars into chunks (no precision needed)

chopped chocolate

Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside

dry ingred

Now, cream your butter and sugar.  There is a lot of it, that is why they are so good:-)

creaming butter sugar

Beat in the sugar, eggs and vanilla

batter with eggs

Gradually add your dry ingredients with mixer on low.  Then mix at medium speed until well-combined

Stir in your candy bar chunks

batter with chunks

Drop dough in heaping tablespoons on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 for 8 minutes

cookie dough on sheet 2

They will come out with only a slight puff (this cookie isn’t meant to be fat and puffy)

cookies baked 1

cookies baked 4

Chewy Chocolaty Cookies with Mint

Makes ~4 dozen large cookies

Ingredients:

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 ¼ cup unsalted butter (2 ½ stick) at room temperature

2 cups granulated Sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups chopped mint flavored candy bars (I used an entire 10 ounce bag)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375

Chop candy bars into chunks and set aside

Mix together the dry ingredients, except for sugar, and set aside

Cream your butter and sugar

Beat in the, eggs and vanilla

Gradually add your dry ingredients with mixer on low;  then mix at medium speed until well-combined

Stir in chopped candy

Drop dough in heaping tablespoons on baking sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until cookies are slightly puffy

Let cool on cooling rack

cookies baked 2

Do you have any surprising vices to share?

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