Category Archives: Cookies & Bars

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies Print

Most everyone has their favorite Girl Scout cookie; I’ve certainly had my favorites over the years (frankly, I wouldn’t turn any of them down…), but the one that’s stood the test of time is the Do-si-do. Those yummy cookies with the creamy peanut butter filling sandwiched between tender oatmeal cookies somehow keep going in my mouth one after the other. These Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies are a copycat of those wonderful Do-si-dos, but they’ve been made without refined sugar; which, despite the abundance of butter and peanut butter, still makes them more healthful than the original version. When you’ve depleted your stash of Do-si-dos, this recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies will be waiting for you, calling your name….

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients

    For the cookies:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
  • 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of quick oatmeal
  • For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

    Preheat oven to 350⁰ F

    For the cookies:
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. With a stand or hand mixer cream together the 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup until well combined.
  3. Mix in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
  4. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a two-inch cookie cutter, cut out the cookies.
  5. Place cookies onto a baking sheet, about an inch apart, and chill on the sheets for about 20 minutes before baking.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while you make the peanut butter filling.
  7. For the filling:
  8. Add the butter, peanut butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup to a medium bowl and mix on medium speed until fully combined and fluffy.
  9. Pipe or use a spoon to spread a generous tablespoon of the filling on one of the cookies and top with another cookie to make the sandwiches.
  10. Makes: 12 Sandwich Cookies

    Adapted from: Dinner, then Dessert

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Chocolate Mint Ganache Brownies Print

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week and whether we’re Irish or not, it’s so much fun to celebrate any and all things “Irish”! My contribution to this most green of days are these Chocolate Mint Ganache Brownies. Leave off the minty-green piping and you can serve these amazing ganache-glazed brownies any time of the year… I found this Grasshopper Brownies recipe on a favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen and adapted it using my standard maple syrup sweetener. Doing so, slightly reduces the amount of butter and egg in the recipe, which, along with the use of an unrefined sweetener, helps to make these just a wee bit more healthful. I hope your St. Patrick’s day celebrations are filled with fun, some wearin’ o’ the green, and just maybe a chocolate mint ganache brownie…or two… Sláinte!

Ingredients

    For brownies:
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For chocolate mint ganache:
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • For mint piping, optional: (See note below)
  • 1/4 cup half & half (light cream)
  • 3/4 cup quality white chocolate chips (I used Guittard Choc-au-Lait)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • McCormick’s Color from Nature food coloring (see package on how to make the color green)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F

    Brownie layer:
  1. Spray Baker’s Joy spray oil (or similar) on a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lined with a sheet of heavy-duty foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the long side.
  2. Melt butter, chocolate, and maple syrup in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined. Don’t over stir; it makes for tough brownies!
  3. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake on the middle oven rack until set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Chocolate mint ganache:
  5. Bring light cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute; then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 20 minutes to cool and thicken.
  6. Spread chocolate mint ganache evenly over the top of cooled brownies. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove brownies from pan using the foil overhang. Cut the brownies into squares using a large sharp knife. (If you’re fussy like me and want all of your brownies to have tidy, clean edges, I’d recommend wiping the knife clean after each cut).
  7. Mint piping, optional: (See note below)
  8. Bring light cream to a simmer in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over white chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 15-20 minutes until it cools and thickens enough to pipe easily.
NOTE: The piping I put on these brownies was in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, obviously, but feel free to leave it off; they’ll still be completely scrumptious.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

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Maple Shortbread Cookies-Valentines

Maple Shortbread Cookies Print

Do I have any cookie monsters out there? How ’bout lovers of shortbread cookies? Shortbread is such a simple, classic cookie! Buttery, flaky, and with this version – maple-y! The easiness of these 4-ingredient Maple Shortbread Cookies make them even better, in my book. Most of the time in the recipes I bring you, you have the option of changing out the maple sugar for maple syrup or even regular granulated cane sugar, but these cookies, really need the maple sugar in them for the taste and texture to be just right. Also, I used cookie cutters this time (to celebrate the Valentines Day holiday), but they’re ready to serve in a flash if you just cut them into squares or rectangles. I hope you’ll give these maple shortbread cookies a try and see what you think; they could just turn out to be your new favorite cookie…. Hey, it could happen…. Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (NOT maple syrup)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F

  1. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed for a minute or two until it softens slightly. Add the flour and the salt and mix until the ingredients come together and forms an irregular ball.
  3. Place the dough on a piece of waxed paper, press it into a rectangle shape; then place another piece of waxed paper on top of the dough. Refrigerate until lightly chilled, about 30-40 minutes.
  4. When the dough is cool remove it from the refrigerator and roll it to about 1/4″ thickness with a rolling pin. To avoid making a mess on your counter, just leave the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper when you roll it flat.
  5. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter or slice the dough into rectangles or squares with a sharp knife.
  6. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet pan and bake until they are set, and barely browned, 25-30 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Barely adapted from: The Cookbook Reader

Makes: 10-12 Cookies (Depending on the size of your cutters or how large you want to slice them)

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salted chocolate pecan sandies

Salted Chocolate Dipped Pecan Sandies Print

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but in my house, holiday treats begin and end with cookies and candy (usually chocolate…). For some, favorite Christmas cakes or fruit-filled stollens are what make their holidays bright; and of course, that’s awesome, but I look forward to this special time of the year when I can pull out the fun and festive cutters and indulge in traditional, as well as new recipes that I’ve been dying to try. These Salted Chocolate Dipped Pecan Sandies are a wonderful way to get the celebrations off to a sweet start. Plus, these little gems ship really well if you mail holiday treat packages to friends and family. I promise Salted Chocolate Dipped Pecan Sandies will be a welcome addition to any cookie tray!

Salted Chocolate Pecan Sandies

Salted Chocolate Pecan Sandies

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (I used Fleur de Sel)

Directions

    Preheat oven to 325º F

    For cookie dough:
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Carefully pour the dough onto a 2 1/2 foot long piece of plastic wrap, forming the dough into a rough 6-7” roll shape with your hands. Wrap the plastic around the dough, sealing it and roll it back and forth until it’s shaped into a smooth, round roll.
  4. Chill dough for an hour.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into approximate ½” slices.
  6. Place slices on parchment-lined baking sheets about an inch or so apart.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from baking sheets to cooling racks. Let cool completely.
  9. For chocolate dip:
  10. Heat chocolate and shortening in the microwave at 50% power, stirring after every 30 seconds; it usually takes about a minute and a half. If you have a few unmelted chips, just stir until they’re melted by the hotter chocolate.
  11. Dip the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate until one half of the cookie is covered with chocolate. Return to cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. When the chocolate is still soft and barely warm, sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt.
  12. Place in the fridge to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container.
Yields: 14 cookies

Adapted from: She Wears Many Hats

NOTE: If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you can substitute milk chocolate with delicious results.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Print

When I want a cookie, my first choice is that most classic of cookies: the Chocolate Chip Cookie! Whether its chewy or soft, with nuts or without, chocolate chips or chunks, or flat or rounded – it doesn’t really matter because while we all may have our absolute favorite, let’s face it – they’re all pretty easy to love.

I knew going in that making refined-sugar-free chocolate chip cookies would be a bit of a challenge; and sure enough, by the fourth batch, I was feeling like I needed to go back to school to take a chemistry class. Persistence paid off, though, and the end result was a slightly rounded, nicely sweet, golden-brown cookie studded with delicious chocolate morsels. Mmmm, just barely out of the oven, all melt-y and gooey-that’s cookie heaven!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard. So good!)
    • Directions

      Preheat oven to 350°F

      1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
      2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
      3. In a large bowl combine the butter and maple syrup, adding syrup a little at a time and beating on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating well to combine. Beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
      4. Scoop heaping 1 tablespoon-sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheets.
      5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
        1. Makes: 30-36 cookies

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Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Brownies Print

It’s hard to beat a good brownie. If I have a chocolate craving, most of the time it’s the brownie I turn to for sweet satisfaction. When you add toasted hazelnuts, creamy chocolate mousse, and decadent chocolate ganache to all of that gooey, chewy, chocolate-y goodness, you’ve reached a new pinnacle in brownie deliciousness! Oh yeah!! As usual, I’ve used maple syrup as the sweetener, but if you prefer you can substitute an equal amount of cane sugar. You might consider these brownies a bit over-the-top, and perhaps you’re right, but there are those times that call for indulgence, so maybe they’re something you’ll make for special occasions. You know, like…Mondays.

Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Brownies

Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Brownies

Ingredients

      Preheat Oven to 325ºF

      BROWNIES:
    • 3/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup coffee, cooled
    • 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 3/4 cup flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
    • MOUSSE:
    • 1 ¼ cup semisweet chocolate
    • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
    • 2 Tablespoons cool water
    • 3 Tablespoons Hazelnut Liqueur (optional)
    • GANACHE:
    • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
    • 3/4 cup cream
      • Directions

          BROWNIES:
        1. Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl; add maple syrup and cooled coffee, mixing well. Set aside.
        2. Put chocolate and butter in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly over very low heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and cool until warm.
        3. Pour chocolate mixture into egg-syrup-coffee mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined.
        4. In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until the flour is absorbed and you can’t see any in the bottom of the bowl.
        5. Bake in a buttered and floured 10″ springform pan for 30-35 minutes at 325 degrees F.
        6. Let brownies sit on a cooling rack until room temperature.
        7. MOUSSE:
        8. Place 1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips in a large glass mixing bowl.
        9. In a small cup, soften 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in 2 tablespoons cool water. Set aside.
        10. Bring 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate chips, stir until smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. (Microwave on high at one or two 30-second intervals if the chocolate isn’t entirely melted and smooth).
        11. Heat softened gelatine on low heat, stirring to dissolve. When it’s completely free of lumps, stir melted gelatin into the melted chocolate.
        12. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream just until soft peaks form.
        13. Chocolate mixture should be smooth and the temperature should be about 80 degrees F (you want the chocolate to set up, but if it’s too hot, the whipped cream will melt).
        14. Add about half of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk gently until combined, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
        15. Spread the mousse over the top of the cooled cake in the ring and smooth it with a spatula. Place the brownies back in the fridge until the the mousse sets (about 30-40 minutes).
        16. GANACHE:
        17. Place chocolate chips in a large bowl.
        18. Heat cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for a minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so, then pour over the set mousse.
        19. Place brownies back in the fridge until ready to serve.
        20. Serves: 10-12

          Adapted from: The Sticky Spatula
          NOTE: If you are allergic to nuts, you can easily leave the hazelnuts out; it’s still wonderfully delicious!

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Chocolate Mint Bars Print

They say that everyone is a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t you love that we’re all included in the fun?! My celebration of the day comes in these irrestible Chocolate Mint Bars that taste a lot like Andes mint candies or Girl Scout’s thin mint cookies. I’ve added a little green food coloring to the minty middle layer, but you can totally leave it out. This recipe comes from a friend’s Mom, who got it from a home-grown Colorado cookbook by the name of Colorado Cache Cookbook. I have a couple of these community/neighborhood cookbooks; they’re one’s that I’ve returned to time and time again, evidenced by the number of spots and splatters on the pages… I hope you’ll try these oh so yummy chocolate mint treats! Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Chocolate Mint Bars

Chocolate Mint Bars

Ingredients

      Bottom Chocolate Layer
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup (13.7g) butter, melted and cooled
    • 1/2 cup (191g) maple sugar*
    • ½ tsp (2.5g) peppermint extract
    • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
    • ½ cup (49g) flour, optional
    • Middle Mint Layer
    • 2 Tbsp (28g) butter, softened
    • 2 Tbsp (15g) cream
    • 1 1/4 tsp (5g) peppermint extract
    • 1 cup (130g) maple powdered sugar*
    • Green food coloring, optional
    • Top Chocolate Layer
    • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
    • 2 Tbsp (28g) butter, melted
      • Directions

          Preheat oven to 325ºF

          Bottom Chocolate Layer:
        1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
        2. Add the cooled, melted butter and maple sugar.
        3. Mix in the peppermint and melted chocolate.
        4. Stir in the flour.
        5. Pour the chocolate batter into a greased 9-inch, square pan.
        6. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven off and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
        7. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. (They will set as they cool).
        8. Middle Mint Layer:
        9. Blend all of the ingredients well.
        10. If desired, stir in several drops of green food coloring.
        11. Spread the mint layer on the cooled, baked chocolate layer.
        12. Place in the refrigerator to chill for five minutes.
        13. Top Chocolate Layer:
        14. Whisk the melted chocolate and butter together until combined.
        15. Once the middle mint layer is firm, spread the butter-chocolate mixture over the top.
        16. Place in the refrigerator to chill for five minutes.
        17. Cut the chocolate mint bars into strips or squares.
        18. Store these treats in the frig until ready to serve.
        19. Serves: 16

          Adapted from: The Colorado Cache Cookbook, Chocolate Peppermint Bars recipe.

          *NOTES: The maple sugar used in this recipe can be substituted with granulated sugar and confectioners sugar in equal amounts.

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Raspberry Shortbread Cookies Print

Ah, cookies! In any shape, flavor, or form, they’re pretty much always welcome whenever I make them. Which, I’ll admit isn’t all that often because I’m kind of a lazy cookie baker. Shocking, I know…. Making the batter is fine and preparing the first couple of trays for the oven is okay too, but after that I tend to lose enthusiasm for the process. Enter…Raspberry Shortbread Cookies. Easy, small-batch, delicious and pretty to boot!
These were made with maple sugar for those of you reducing your refined sugar consumption, but they can easily be made with granulated sugar. When you’re having a cookie craving but aren’t feeling all that energetic, these little morsels will satisfy.

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

      Preheat Oven to 350

    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup maple sugar (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • Seedless, fruit juice-sweetened raspberry jam
    • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, if you prefer)
    • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable shortening
    • Directions

          For the cookies:
        1. Beat butter and whichever sugar you choose with an electric mixer until blended.
        2. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt; beat until smooth.
        3. Using a spoon, stir in the flour to form a stiff dough.
        4. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a rough cylinder. Wrap each dough cylinder in waxed paper; rolling back and forth on countertop until it the dough smooths out and forms a round, smooth 1 ½-inch diameter roll.
        5. Refrigerate dough until firm.
        6. Cut dough into ¼-inch slices. Roll each slice into a ball. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb or use the back of a ¼ teaspoon (the round part) to make a more uniform indentation and fill with ¼ teaspoon raspberry jam.
        7. Arrange cookies about 2-inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Place sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. The cookies should be lightly brown on the bottom.
        8. For the chocolate drizzle:
        9. Measure chocolate chips and shortening into a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power for 45 seconds or until the chocolate is completely smooth when stirred (be careful not to overheat the chocolate – only microwave for additional 10 second intervals if needed to fully melt the chocolate).
        10. Dip a fork into the melted chocolate and drizzle each cookie. (I poured the chocolate into a squeeze bottle and then drizzled it, which gives more uniform results, but the fork method is a little faster and easier.)
        11. After cooling on a wire rack, place in an air-tight container until ready to serve.
        Yield: 24-30 cookies

        NOTE: These cookies freeze well for about a month or so.

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Chocolate Dipped Palmiers Print

You may have heard it said that chocolate makes everything better, and (big surprise!) you’ll get no argument from this corner. Case in point: Palmiers (you know, those lovely, buttery cookies with the crispy layers) were served at a recent work event, but were obviously the least favorite of the goodies offered. So I’m looking at them, wondering why that would be, and it came to me. Chocolate! Of course, they need chocolate! What else immediately turns a relatively modest cookie into an irresistible delight?! And so I took the leftover Palmiers and turned them into chocolate dipped Palmiers. Just call me the chocolate fairy! From the perspective of a chocolate lover…soooo much better! Fair warning though, chocolate dipping is habit-forming, because there are just so many things that are made more yummy with the addition of a chocolate coating – the list is a long one. Here are a few more options to get you started: Nutter Butter cookies, Oreos, piroulines, peanut butter filled pretzels, oatmeal cookies, Bing cherries, orange slices, shortbread cookies (of course!) and many more. Any of these dipped in chocolate are great for a gotta-have-something-in-a-hurry chocolate treat. I think most of them are elegant enough for a dinner party too. I got my palmiers at Costco, but I’m sure you can find them in bakeries most everywhere. If you are feeling a bit more energetic, try this palmier recipe from the Food Network.

Chocolate covered palmiers and more-M

Ingredients

  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tsp. vegetable shortening, divided
  • Peanut butter stuffed pretzels nuggets
  • Pirouline rolled wafers (various flavored fillings)
  • Palmiers
  • Directions

    1. Divide chocolate chips into two microwave safe containers (1 ½ cups in each container). Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening to each container. If dipping rolled wafers or pretzel rods, you will want a sturdy water glass or other similar cylindrical container to melt your chocolate in so you can dip the wafers at least half way up. I used a large soup bowl in which to melt the chocolate for dipping the palmiers.
    2. Melt chocolate in the microwave. It’s important to melt the chocolate slowly so it doesn’t get too hot; microwave at 50% power, stirring the chocolate every 30 seconds. Depending on your microwave, the chocolate usually melts in about a minute and a half total. If your chocolate isn’t fully melted and a few chips remain, stir until they’ve all been melted by the hot chocolate. If you feel the chocolate still needs more melting, microwave for an additional 15 seconds at 50% power. It’s also very important to not get any water in the chocolate – moisture will cause the chocolate to seize and become lumpy and unusable for dipping.
    3. For the palmiers: using your fingers dip one side of the cookie in chocolate until half is covered. Shake excess chocolate off the cookie and place on waxed paper lined baking sheet.
    4. For the pirouline wafers: again, use your fingers to dip the roll wafers into the melted chocolate in the cylindrical container until about half to three-quarters up the wafer, shaking the excess off and place on waxed paper.
    5. For the pretzel nuggets: use some small prongs to dip nugget in chocolate until fully covered, shake excess chocolate off and place on waxed paper lined baking sheet.
    6. You can leave your chocolate dipped delights at room temperature to harden or if you’re in a hurry, place them, still on the wax paper-lined sheets, in the frig until they set up. Store in an airtight plastic container until you’re ready to serve them.
Servings: I made 25 palmiers, 20 piroulines, and 20 peanut butter pretzel nuggets with just a little chocolate left over.
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Lemon Bars Print

Almost all of the desserts I make for this blog are shared with my co-workers and a week or so ago one of them requested Lemon Bars. I was happy to oblige, kind of excited because it was my first request (it’s the little things…), and a little relieved too because sometimes I think that without intervention, most of the desserts I would make and share here would be made of chocolate or have chocolate in them somewhere. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but as strange as it may seem to us chocolate lovers/addicts, there are people out there who really don’t care for chocolate (they say it tastes bitter). To the rescue…Lemon Bars! I’ve tried a number of recipes over the years with varying degrees of success, but just recently I discovered Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s perfect Lemon Bar recipe. It has just the right ratio of tender, buttery crust to creamy, tangy, lemon custard filling. Look no further Lemon Bar fans!  Oh, there will be some lip smackin’ goin’ on.
Lemon Bars Prep Grid
Lemon Bars

Ingredients

For the Crust:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour:
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, (plus additional to sprinkle on bars):
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch:
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt:
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), (dice small and put back in frig until ready to process):
For the Filling:
      • 4 large eggs:
      • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar:
      • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour:
      • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest:
      • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons):
      • 1/3 cup milk:
      • Pinch of salt:
Directions

Preheat oven to 350º

        1. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.
        2. Mix together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt (I used a food processor but you can also use a large bowl and a whisk to mix by hand). Add diced, cold butter and process in the food processor for 15-20 seconds; then a couple times more (the butter should be the size of small crumbs). (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender).
        3. Sprinkle the crust mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers, press into an even layer on the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. On the middle rack of your oven, bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
        4. For the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and flour in a medium bowl; add in the lemon zest, juice, and milk, whisking until combined.
        5. Pour the filling onto the warm crust. Lower the oven temperature to 325º. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the middle of the filling jiggles slightly when lightly shaken.
        6. On a wire rack, cool the bars to room temperature, dust with more powdered sugar and cut into squares or bars.

        Adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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