Tuesday, April 10, 2018

RASPBERRY SHORTBREAD BARS

This is the best recipe I've tried in a long time. I found it over on "The Domestic Rebel"....my picky-picky husband is in love with this sweet treat!!!

The bottom crust is a deliciously TENDER shortbread, then there is a simple layer of raspberry jam, nuts and more shortbread pieces on top. It couldn't be easier!!! The original recipe didn't have a frosting, but I think every cookie bar needs a drizzle, don't you? (My tweaks to this recipe are in blue).


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3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1   teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond  extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup raspberry jam (I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup slivered almonds (I used 3/4 cup of toasted pecans, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8"x 8" pan with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray. (I lined an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper and used NO spray. Leave the parchment ends long, so you can grab onto them to lift the bars out of the pan after they are cooked and cooled.)

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In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) beat the room temperature butter, powdered sugar and extracts until creamy (about 2 minutes).

Add the flour and beat until it all comes together. The dough may be a little crumbly but that's OK. (Dough comes together perfectly using a stand mixer....a smaller mixer might leave it a little crumbly).

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Remove 1/2 cup of this dough, wrap it in plastic and freeze for 10 minutes. (I patted the 1/2 cup reserved dough into a thin disk and then put it in the freezer)

Pat the rest of the dough into the foil (or parchment) lined pan, in an even layer. Top with 1/2 cup of slivered almonds and jam, spreading almost to edge of dough. I put toasted pecans UNDER the layer of jam.

Crumble the remaining dough on top and finish with remaining slivered almonds. (I cut up the frozen dough into very thin slivers with my pastry cutter and sprinkled evenly over the jam layer, then I topped that layer with the final 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans.)

Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F or until the top is light golden brown and center is set. Cool completely. My electric oven took exactly 45 minutes to get nice and golden on top. The original recipe said "bake until center is set", but there is nothing in the center to 'set' in this recipe, so I would ignore that idea.

The original recipe didn't have a frosting, but I thought it needed some, so I just mixed a little melted butter with some powdered sugar and vanilla and a couple tablespoons of milk (sorry, I never measure my frosting's). Just mix it well and drizzle over the cooked bars....you can't go wrong.

Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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ENJOY !!!





Monday, April 9, 2018

PINEAPPLE PECAN SNACKING CAKE

When I was a kid, a million years ago, "snaking cakes" were all the rage. They were simple recipes you mixed up by hand, with a bowl and a spoon. This is one of those great recipes.

It is moist, sweet, fruity, nutty......and snack-o-licious !!


PINEAPPLE PECAN SNACKING CAKE

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 (20 ounce) can crushed  pineapple including juice
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted at 350° for 5 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Mix the crushed pineapple and juice with the eggs, extracts and sugar. Mix well.

Add the flour and baking soda and mix until fully incorporated, but don't over-mix. Stir in toasted (cooled) pecans. 

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking pan and bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. My electric oven takes 30 minutes.  If you are using a glass baking dish, reduce the heat to 325°F. Test for done-ness with a toothpick.

Cool baked cake in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out.  Frost when cake is completely cool.

Frosting
4 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
4 ounces of butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Beat frosting ingredients until creamy then spread on cooled cake.





ENJOY !!!

Friday, March 30, 2018

MEAT-LESS SPAGHETTI

My picky-picky husband is a "meat and potatoes" man through and through. If a meal doesn't center around meat.....well, he doesn't call it a real meal. 

That's why I came up with this "Meat-less Spaghetti" (for myself) to counter hubby's "steak night". It is total COMFORT FOOD !!!


1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium sweet onion (chopped)
(2) 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (Italian style)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
pinch of cayenne pepper  (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (see note below)
2 teaspoons dry basil leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces button mushrooms
12 ounces spaghetti noodles


Saute chopped onion in the olive oil until they look sort of transparent and smell "sweet-ish". Put cooked onions (don't drain) in a large Crockpot (I think mine is a 7 quart size?). Add the diced Italian style tomatoes, garlic powder, cayenne, basil, kosher salt, black pepper and sugar; mix well. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

After 3 hours, clean the mushrooms and take the stems off. Chop the stems in the food processor and slice the mushroom caps (nice and thick), then put them in the sauce to cook for about 30 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, boil the spaghetti noodles (in salted water) until they are HALF WAY DONE (important).

Strain the noodles and turn the Crockpot down to LOW. Add the noodles to the sauce and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. Stir and serve.


I like mine with Parmesan!!


ENJOY !!!

NOTE: Remember, kosher salt measures differently than table salt because the tiny grains (in table salt) pack together much closer. The measurement in this recipe is for kosher salt. If you only have table salt......use less.

NOTE: Cayenne pepper is pretty spicy. I have measuring spoons that go down to 1/16th of a teaspoon, so that's what I use......it is basically a "pinch" of cayenne. You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for the cayenne.

NOTE: Make sure you only boil the spaghetti noodles half way. This is an important step since they pick up a ton of flavor from the sauce as they cook the rest of the way in the Crockpot.

NOTE: You will have to cut this recipe in half if you only have a small Crockpot.