Sunday, July 27, 2014

Maple Chocolate Walnut Bars

At that same barbecue I told you about in my last post, I dropped my phone from all of 2 feet and shattered its screen. Ugh! So rude. So, my pictures were more limited in the next two bake fests. You can find the original recipe I worked from here.

But, anywho, this recipe was quite popular. Like, extremely so. These bars were popular to the point of church ladies asking me to scribble it down, then they made many copies, then had to make more copies because they ran out.

I believe "heaven on earth" was used.

I'm not sure I would go that far, but they definitely turned out delicious! It honestly tastes like really moist, well-flavored Thanksgiving pie. Seeing as how Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, it's definitely a huge A+ in my book!

Maple Chocolate Walnut Bars
1-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
2 large eggs
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1-1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) dark chocolate chips

1) Heat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1 egg. Press evenly into an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2) Bake 23 minutes. Beat sweetened condensed milk, remaining 1 egg and maple flavoring in medium bowl. Stir in walnuts. Remove crust from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over partially baked crust. Top with walnut mixture.
3) Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry Ginger Slab Pie

I had a barbecue at my father's to attend this past weekend where I was invited to bring a dish, so I've got an extra item to add in! I actually made two things, but one really didn't turn out well so I just saved that for Evan and I to nom on (if you'd like to make chorizo scotch eggs (sounds awesome, right) and let me know how they turned out and what the secret is, you can find the recipe here). 

I ended up making a blueberry slab pie which, I must say, turned out really well. It isn't very often that I take over sweets to their get togethers where they are excited about me leaving the extras. I got the recipe from Food52, which is an amazing resource for the at-home kitchen. Seriously, if you aren't on their newsletter list, I highly recommend it! Their recipe includes an awesome sounding rye dough recipe as well, which I forewent this round but definitely mean to try next time. You can find the original recipe here.

I was very liberal with measuring out the flavoring ingredients and I also grated everything with a very large grate setting. I like chunks of ingredients in my food. I don't think I've ever finely chopped anything in my life. 

Blueberry Ginger Slab Pie
1 package pastry dough
5 cups blueberries (about 2 1/2 pints)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 pinch salt
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg for egg wash

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get your pastry dough out to thaw a bit while you work.
2. Gently toss the blueberries, sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest, ginger, and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined. 
3. Place the first piece of dough on the prepared baking sheet and pour the blueberry mixture on top, leaving a generous border of at least 1 1/2 inches around the edges. Lay the second piece over the blueberry filling in one piece, and fold the bottom crust up over the top and seal the edges very well by pressing firmly with the tines of a fork. You could also, of course, cut the top pastry piece into strips and create a lattice. Cut a few vents in the top. Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and generously sprinkle it with sugar. 
4. Bake the pie until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Cake

So, I'm running behind. So? I'm still overly enjoying this indulgent project.

This is the best recipe I've done so far. Even with my haphazard style of combining ingredients (there are several ooooh's in the middle of every session when I realize what I was supposed to do . . . yes, I do read every recipe first) this recipe turned out just about perfectly. In fact there is only one piece of advice I have for you heading in to this: when you begin cutting the strips to roll the thing up, cut the strips much less wide at first, like maybe start at an inch wide and slowly work toward the two and a half inch wide strips the original recipe instructs you to do. 

Speaking of which, the original recipe can be found here, at The Baker Chick. 

Without further ado, here is the best cinnamon roll recipe you have ever tasted in your life. 

Cinnamon Roll Cake
For the dough
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
For the filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract if you don't have)
For the icing
1/2 a stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
a few drops of milk (if needed)

  • In a glass measuring cup, warm the milk and butter in the microwave until warm with the butter melted.
  • Whisk together 2 1/4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the milk mixture, egg and water, and mix until combined (dough will be very sticky.) Add the remaining cup of flour gradually, folding it in with a spatula (or gently kneading with your hands).
  • When the dough comes together in a soft ball, knead on a lightly-floured surface until smooth and elastic (when pressed with a finger tip the dough should bounce back).
  • Return the dough to your bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • For the filling:
  • Melt the butter and stir in the vanilla. 
  • Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • To assemble:
  • Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle measuring about 9x13. Brush the dough with almost all of the butter and pour the rest into the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish (or something similar.)
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough and gently press it in.
  • Using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter or knife cut the dough into [1 inch strips, working up to] 2 1/2 inch strips. Start with less thick strip and roll it from one end to the other forming a swirl. Set that roll onto the next strip with the seam-side down and roll the strip onto it.
  • Repeat for 2 more strips, at which point the roll is probably too large to continue forming this way. Gently place it in the middle of the pan. Carefully pick up the remaining strips and swirl them around the roll in the pan. The roll won't fill the whole pan but it will after rising and baking.
  • Cover the pan with your damp cloth, and proof in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Bake in a 350F oven for 20-24 minutes or until golden brown.
  • For the icing:
  • Cream the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and some milk if icing is too thick. Beat until light and creamy.
  • Spread on warm rolls and serve.

  • Notice how tall it got in the middle? All the weight of rolling the cake squished the middle out. Redoing this recipe, I would definitely cut the middle into smaller strips.

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Mini Pear Pies with Blue Cheese

    It has been a while since I actually made these, but I took a short hiatus to crank some important stuff out elsewhere. I found this recipe online, at You can see the original here.

    These were pretty darn simple to make and still left me feeling satisfied that I had actually put in work to make them so, unlike the times when I buy crescent dough and stick a slice of apple with butter and cinnamon in them. The pear pies were quite a satisfying dish to make, and even more so to eat. Although, I will say, blue cheese is apparently an acquired taste, which I found out the hard way (by piling it on in a huge mound atop my pear). To avoid the instinctual bodily reaction which I had in response to it, I advise you begin with just adding a little of the blue cheese mix, and go from there.

    Mini Pear Pies with Blue Cheese
    Serves 6 pies
    3 firm pears
    Lemon juice from half lemon
    Half box of ready made puff pastry, thawed
    2-3 tbsp milk
    80-100 g blue cheese
    1 tbsp bourbon
    50 g walnuts

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F
    2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
    3. Peel, half and seed the pears. Carve out a place for the topping with a teaspoon and save the carved pulp.
    4. Brush the pears all over with lemon juice.
    5. Place pears flat-side down on pan lined with parchment paper.
    6. Cut 6 rectangles just larger than the pears from the thawed puff pastry. Place a piece of pastry over each pear and cut away excess with a sharp knife. Using knife, poke holes in pastry. From the excess, shape leaves and stems to add to each pear.
    7. Brush pastry with milk.
    8. Bake for 15-20 min or until golden brown.
    9. Meanwhile, combine blue cheese, bourbon, and pureed (or smashed) peach pulp, stirring until well combined. Stir in half of walnuts.
    10. When the pears are slightly cooled remove from pan, spoon on blue cheese spread and enjoy!