Pecan Pie Cookies

It is a well-known fact that I will try any kind of “pecan pie” anything. Pecan pie muffins – so there. Pecan pie cookies, hell, even pecan sandies ^ of all sorts of varieties. I just cannot help myself. I am not a huge ice cream person, but the one thing in the ice cream world I do love is butter pecan ice cream, as long as the pecans have a bit of salt on them. dd_1798

If I were not so cheap, I would buy an ice cream machine and figure out how to make the best butter pecan ice cream, but then I might just end up being as big as a house and that serves one well in the grand scheme of things.

So here we have a new pecan pie cookie. One I really like. I also make my pecan pie muffins the same week – do we see a theme? Yep.

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 (12 Tbs) cup unsalted butter, softened
1  large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Filling
1 cup chopped pecans (Renfroes *)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all cookie ingredients except flour and baking powder in bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Sift together flour,  baking powder, and salt and beat in at low speed until well mixed. Chill 2 hours.

Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Make indentation in each cookie with a measuring teaspoon; rotate to hollow out slightly

Combine all filling ingredients in bowl; fill each cookie with 1 rounded teaspoon filling. Bake 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.

Source: Modified from Land o’ Lakes

* Having local fresh pecans is just an absolute joy. I guess simple things make me happy.

^Make these. No really, do this.

Lemon Bars – again

Yep! One more time, but this time I will take some to the office too. Share the love as it were –   or as my office says I’m just trying to make them fat – not really. But I made these for a friend for her birthday which is tomorrow. She will be 21.

But it is nice to make things that make people happy. And that is what I try to do.

When I used this recipe for the first time I was expecting the same kind of big failure that I have had before with this idea  – many times. But these were an amazingly pleasant surprise. dd_1599

Sometimes you just have to keep trying to see what will happen. In this case, this recipe is just golden. I do not think I will ever try another one for this favorite lemon bar cookie of mine. The crust and curd ratio is damn near perfect.

Right now I am trying (not very hard) to talk myself out of ordering lots of Meyer Lemons on-line since my little (Charlie Brown Christmas Tree version) of a Meyer Lemon did nothing for me this year. I think I have to pot it up*, but I am so not sure what time of year to do that because now it is blooming – and it smells like orange blossoms – because the Meyer is a cross between a lemon and an orange – it is just heavenly. There never seems to be a good time to pot it up and I will NOT plant this in the ground. It has spent 10 years with me and while not very promising, usually I get a couple Meyer lemons or maybe three. I always want it to be with me. Sounds strange, but when you invest yourself in something – well, there it is.  I may be reduced to ordering from California since our Palafox Market seems bereft of Meyer Lemons. Sad since it has been not such a terrible “winter” (and I use that word very loosely) for us so far.
We already have pollen on the vehicles and azaleas are blooming. This is not going to make an easy spring for us, um, at. all.

* That means putting it in a different (larger) pot. You weirdos.

So here, again, are lemon bars.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 – 2 tsp ice water

5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbs lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment with an overhang on the long sides. Or all the sides really.

In the bowl of a food processor, mix all purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water as needed to bring dough together. Press dough into prepared pan, pressing firmly against the inside edges. Bake crust for 20 – 25 minutes until lightly golden. Set pan on wire rack to cool slightly. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined and paler in color. Stir in zest, lemon juice, 1/4 cup flour and a pinch of salt. Carefully pour topping over warm crust. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, or until set.

Set the pan on a rack to cool completely. Remove squares using parchment. Cut into bars. Dust with 3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar. Or more if you want. I use way more confectioners’ sugar than that. Just me.

 

 

“Meyer” Lemon Bars

I have this habit of asking people what they would like me to bake or cook for them. It keeps me interested in baking and cooking and pushes me outside of what I typically do. I do it at work, “what do you guys want me to make for the pot-luck?” and I do the same thing at my favorite restaurants. I think restaurant staff is not appreciated enough. Guess that comes from being a server ages ago. I hope they appreciate it, but it is more to get me to try to do different things.dd_1599

So I asked Berta, at my beach local, to tell me what she would like in the baking department, and she said my baking nemesis – lemon bars. I have not had good luck with these in the past – at all. That said, I was going to give it another go – it is a challenge after all. And I never back down from a challenge.

This is a recipe on my little USB drive of recipes that I have been working on for ages and I just sort of picked it out of the two I had. It was daunting – I have to admit that I was not comfortable trying this idea again. I did this on a Thursday because I figured if I fucked it up, I would have Friday to try again. And I am really not scared in the baking department, but you never know if things are going to go pear-shaped.

I have to say, I just cut a corner out of this and just got stupid over how good it was. That is, indeed, a good sign. I guess when I get silly about something in the kitchen, that makes me happy and pleased with myself. And that makes me think it will be something other people will like too.

Personally, I would like to keep the entire pan of these lemon bars to myself, but I won’t. But I will damn sure to make this recipe again. The original called for Meyer lemons, but I only have those when my (precious) little tree produces Meyer lemons and this is totally the wrong time of year, so I just used regular lemons. It was amazing. Stupidly so. Yeah me! yep.

Meyer Lemon Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 – 2 tsp ice water

5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbs Meyer lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment with an overhang on the long sides. Or all the sides really.

In the bowl of a food processor, mix all purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water as needed to bring dough together. Press dough into prepared pan, pressing firmly against the inside edges. Bake crust for 20 – 25 minutes until lightly golden. Set pan on wire rack to cool slightly. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined and paler in color. Stir in zest, lemon juice, 1/4 cup flour and a pinch of salt. Carefully pour topping over warm crust. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, or until set.

Set the pan on a rack to cool completely. Remove squares using parchment. Cut into bars. Dust with 3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar. Or more if you want. I use way more confectioners’ sugar than that. Just me.

I think I made a few friends with these – at least I really hope so. Berta loved them and her daughter asked for them on her birthday at the end of November. I guess there are more lemon people than I had imagined. I shared one of my favorite lemon things ever – lemon, white chocolate chip cookies – they sound slightly weird, but they are stupid good.

And then in my head – lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for another person that is a lemon person. I think we have to stick together. There just are not that many of us. Lemon People Unite – or something?  No, that just does not work. I guess you chocolate people have us outnumbered. Again.

Brownie Cakes or something like that…

I am not a chocolate person, but this is one of those recipes that I love to make. I have everything on hand – do love this kind of recipe – no grocery store – woo hoo. Also I do like to make the people in my life who like chocolate-things happy. I did try one of these muffins (if you can call them that) and it totally has a great brownie thing going on. I really made these for the Boy and I think he liked it, at least I hope so. I shared a few at our beach local now that we can get out there again – Shaggy’s.

It is kind of funny. I am not much of a sweet person. I guess that is not entirely true. I will try a new recipe, once, and then I am done. Now the MotH is not into sweets at all, but he will try something if I press on him a bit. I do want his opinion – it is important to me. So my “test subjects” are my office, the Boy, and Shaggy’s. I really think they mostly do not mind too much. At least it seems that way to me.  Although I do seem to get blamed for people gaining weight, but ……

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1 cup unsalted butter, 16 Tbs.
1 cup chocolate chips, Ghiradelli is my favorite and my go to.
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and chocolate chips over a low heat on the stove. I do not think this is a place for the microwave. Nope not at all.

Line your cupcake pan with paper liners. This makes 18 cupcakes which to my mind is really kind of annoying. I have a 12 cupcake pan – then had to wait till the pan cooled down to do the last six. Fine – I can do it, but I just do not want to. Guess I am just being fussy – but really?

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Beat eggs and sugar together. Sift flour over the egg mixture and add vanilla (I am very liberal with the vanilla – just saying). Fold in the chocolate – butter mixture and there we are – ready to make brownie cakes. Fill cupcake pan wells about 1/2 full.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Just like a brownie will do.

This reminds me of the brownie cookies. They are like small brownies with lots of crusty edges, which to my mind are the best part of a brownie. I am a brownie edge person, not a brownie middle person. Guess it is a personal preference, but I do like a little bit of crunch.

Source: All Recipes and love that this is a Grandma recipe. Old recipes are my favorite kind.

 

 

Butterscotch Brownies – basically, Blondies

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Butterscotch Chocolate Blondies

I have always had an affinity for blondies. I guess it is because it is a nice mix of cookie dough w/chips and, honestly, it is dead simple – no batches of cookies, only turning the pan once – simple and done. Now the Boy is a blondie fan so I try to make things for him that I think he will enjoy and – again – dead simple. I guess that may mean I am kind of lazy.

I do love butterscotch. I am well aware the butterscotch chips are, truth be told, not real, but as America’s Test Kitchen says – sometimes you just need a butterscotch chip to have the right butterscotch flavor. Improving the world through chemicals – sounds so 70’s and slightly mostly creepy, but this recipe is pretty much, um, great.

This time I made them, I added a few semi-sweet chocolate chips just … well, just because I had some left from another recipe and it seems to work pretty dang well.

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened (16 Tbs)
1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar – I always use light brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla – yeah! Not may recipes call for this much, but I never measure strictly. More is better. Kind of like chocolate or cheese.
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13” baking pan. I still have a preference for William-Sonoma (RIP Chuck Williams) gold-touch baking pans. They are beyond words my favorites and I am slowly replacing everything I have with them.

Sift together, over a piece of waxed paper, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy (someone needs to define “fluffy”). Add eggs, one at a time and then mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of butterscotch chips and all chocolate chips.

Spread dough in pan and smooth. Top with finally 1/4 cup butterscotch chips (and a handful of chocolate chips if you are so inclined). Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until they begin to pull away from the edge of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

24 December 2009

15 February 2014 – for Em. vg not too dense – try adding a bit of chocolate

19 December 2015 – for sharing at the holidays with friends.

I think this may be my new favorite Blondie. It is really good. And I think that may be the mix of the chips, but it is probably it is the tablespoon of vanilla. Yep, that may be it.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars

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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bites

A friend from work sent me this recipe in an email that said, “Please make these next.” So I looked at it, and realized I had everything at home to make it, asked the Man of the House to take out my baking bowl (bowl with butter and eggs in it – usually two of each), and made them that very night. I brought them into the office the next day – surprise! They seem to be accepted rather well – that would be understatement since I do not do a lot of chocolate anything.  I cut them in bite-sized pieces because that just made a lot of sense.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar, only ever have light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1 cup crushed salted pretzels, divided – just crush them with your hand, it is easy
2 teaspoons canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square glass baking dish (Pyrex) with parchment paper,  and do the sling thing which will help you get the bars out of the pan. Spray with cooking spray. Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour and salt.

In a stand mixer, mix together the melted butter with the sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time,  and vanilla and mix until combined.

Stir in the dry mix until just incorporated. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1/2 a cup of the crushed pretzels.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed pretzels on top, pressing them into the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove the cookie bites from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan and then remove the bites using the parchment sling. Melt the 1/2 cup chips with vegetable oil in the microwave until smooth – for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Drizzle the cookie bars with the melted chocolate and allow them to cool until the chocolate hardens. Cut the cookie bars into bite-sized squares.

Notes: These keep exceptionally well in the fridge, though not necessary. Here in the Gulf Coast, it is warm even in November, so I used that as my insurance as it were.

Next time I will work to make the top layer – pretzels and chocolate – look better, but it was a Thursday night thing this time and the result was still pretty damn tasty.  Next time, I my try adding some toasted nuts. I always love nuts with chocolate chip things – bars, cookies, blondies, whatever.

Recipe source: Just a Taste.