Lemon Squares, French Style

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It was funny.  Lots of people were asking, “What is the next recipe?” and I would reply, “Lemon Squares, French Style”.  Every single person said, “What does French Style mean?” and at the time I said I had no idea what to say other than they had a type of streusel on top….but I saw the best comment when reading through our last blog roll.  The more I thought of it the more it cracked me up.  I wish I had paid better attention to whose blog it was at the time, so, sorry and thank you to whomever this comment belongs too….

She said something like, French Style just means made with lots of butter.  Now that I have made these lemon bars I think she was absolutely correct haha!

To say these use a lot of butter is an understatement, but the way I look at it, out of a 9×13 pan I had one lemon bar.  Who cares if there is a lot of butter if you have one and share the rest.  :)

These lemon bars were a total hit.  I think they were better than any lemon bars I have had and it seemed all of my tasters concurred.  Sometimes lemon bars can have a slight undercooked feeling and I liked that these were more cooked and set up.  Everyone also loved the addition of the streusel and almond topping.  These were decadent and over the top but boy were they delicious, like something you would buy at a bakery!  I could totally see myself making these for a summer party.  They would be so refreshing.

The only thing I thought was a little difficult was the timing of it all.  I made the lemon curd the night before so it had time to chill and then made the bars the following afternoon.  The recipes states the bars are to sit for 2-6 hours (which was odd I thought) but I let mine sit so they had a chance to firm up.  I was aiming for 2 hours but they ended up about 3 and it worked out just fine.

Just to give you an idea, here are a few “butter” pictures

Two sticks in the lemon curd…

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Two sticks in the crust

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We enjoyed the thickness of the lemon curd.  It was so delicious!

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(Fluted) Carrot-Tangerine Cake with Tangerine Glaze

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I am wondering if I am the only one that thought a carrot-tangerine cake sounded like a strange combination??  I mean, I would never put those two together…ever..but one thing I have learned from this blogging/baking experience is that everything in these cookbooks is worth a try…even if it sounds strange.

Basically, this is a butter cake with fresh tangerine flavoring and carrots for coloring.  I am not sure the carrots did anything else other than give the cake specs of color, but I could be wrong.  I opted to add the tangerine glaze, which was amazing.

My tasters and I were all in agreement that we were skeptical, but this was the tastiest, moistest cake we  could remember having in a long time.  It was so good I can see it being a requested dessert.  I am not sure I would go through the grating of the carrot again though.  I would probably just not add that in and call mine a Tangerine Cake. :)

 

 

Chocolate Chestnut Tart with Vanilla Chestnut Syrup

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This is going to have to be a quick one…both in writing and for you to read.  It is a busy week…barely got this one squeezed in.  :)

I was really excited to make this tart after hearing from those who chose to make this recipe first!  It seemed like everyone loved it.  Finding the chestnuts was a challenge, so I opted to order off of Amazon after the tip on our P&Q page…who knew!?

So here is my take-away:

  • I made the syrup since others said it was amazing…I did something wrong because mine seized up after pouring it into my jar…I mean totally solidified!!  I had such a hard time getting it out!
  • The tart was still delicious even without the syrup!
  • The crust gets too done cooking for so long at 400, I would lower it next time or lessen the time. (I even tented the crust!)
  • Having never had Chestnuts, they are weird!  More on the soft and chewy side..not what you would expect.
  • The actual tart is easy to make and so delicious and decadent
  • I used the tip and served this with Coffee Blast ice cream and we all have to say this was a perfect pair!!  Totally recommend!

That is all folks, gotta run!

Oh, one more thing…I have made our Chocolate Toffee Break-ups two more times…that recipe is a total hit!!

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Stained Glass Cookies

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Cue music…”It is the most..wonderful time..of the..year”…and the busiest too!  I love to bake…as we all do who are in this baking group.  :)

I anxiously await the “assignment” each month wondering what we will be cooking up.  Being pressed for time, these Stained Glass Cookies were an interesting one: basically sugar cookies with crushed up Lifesavers in the middle creating a “stained glass”.  They looked super cool when you hold them up to the light, but just on a plate; not so much.

To be honest, these were a bit messy, time consuming, tasty; although not as tasty as a regular sugar cookie with icing…and my tasters for the most part thought they were a weird combination.  I heard back from a few that it was either like eating a sticky, chewy cookie or that they ate around the candy part and sucked on that after eating the cookie…so what it the point?

This is what I learned:

  • You can use a hammer, ziplock baggie, and cutting board in place of a mortar and pestle
  • Your arm can get quite tired pulverizing 5 different colors of Lifesavers
  • The pulverized Lifesavers are sticky and messy

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  • I did like the dough, it was easy to work with!
  • Filling in the cutouts with the pulverized candy was a messy job!
  • The cookies look best when held up to a light
  • For the most part, my tasters thought they were an odd combination

I had higher hopes for these than what they actually came through to be.  Like always, the new recipe was fun to try out, but for this one, I won’t be repeating it. I will just stick to my Grandma’s iced sugar cookie recipe.  :)

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Pear-Cranberry Roll-Up Tart

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This one got rave reviews from my tasters but I am not so sure I would make it again…

I feel like I should have known…especially when there is a section in the recipe called,

“A word on construction”…

It tells us we are bound to have tears and cracks and that they are easily patched, but come on.  This was not easy dough to work with/roll and I didn’t expect it since we have used this Galette Dough before on other recipes.  My roll was sticking and cracking all over the place…had to take out some of the filling to pull the dough back together to patch it up.  I was feeling like I was on a sinking boat…no kidding.  Every time I patched one place another popped up.  Ugh!  Anyway, did the best I could and hoped that once it was baked, it would look and taste alright. :)

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It ended up ok and like I said, everyone thought it was delicious.  For me, I prefer the Danish Braid we made awhile back from BWJ.  Same idea but MUCH easier dough to work with…I have actually re-made that one many times it was such a hit.

Bottom line: yay for trying something new and everyone liking it, but not thinking I will make this one again.

Chocolate-Covered Toffee Breakups

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Our recipe on this one starts out, “This Chocolate-Covered, Nut-Studded Toffee might be as close as you can get to a Heath Bar without being sued for some kind of trademark infringement”.  I told this to my husband and I could tell he was skeptical; after all he is a Heath Bar lover.  I was thinking to myself though, every single recipe we have made from our Baking Chez Moi Cookbook has been a homerun so I was betting on success.

I was encouraged that this toffee does not require that I am a pro candy maker, only that I have a candy thermometer. Check!

There are only a few steps to this recipe which is always a good thing!

  • Cook up the toffee, add the coarsely chopped almonds and spread on a buttered parchment paper lined pan.

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  • Cool
  • Melt your chocolate.  I used dark chocolate since I thought that would pair well with the sea salt.
  • Pour half of your chocolate on one side of the toffee and spread.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds and flip.
  • Pour the remaining melted chocolate on the toffee and spread.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds and sea salt.
  • Chill for 30 minutes and then break apart.

We didn’t get to taste this the night I made it, so instead my husband took a few pieces with him to work the next morning.  I get a text…and I quote:

“That recipe is unbelievable.  Way better than a Heath Bar!  Definitely a keeper!”

Yes, that made my day! :)

Everyone that has tried these has LOVED them!…like…raved about them!  I have already been asked to make them again for the upcoming holidays.

Yay, for great recipes that are also easy!!

Apple Pielettes

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Aren’t these the cutest things!?

Our recipe has an introduction that tells us these were created as a bring-along for a potluck…I see them as an easy bring-along for a picnic too. Super easy to transport and eat…no utensils or plates necessary.

This is one of those recipes that has a base but you are able to change it around…any combination of fruit for the filling would work and while this recipe uses a galette dough, you could easily use your favorite pie crust dough as well.

I changed up the filling from the recipe and omitted the raisins and apricots and just went with my tried and true apple pie filling..why mess with it right? :)  I was also happy I got the “accident to be wished for” as the recipe states as my juice bubbled over into a caramel coating of drips.  It also gives them a bit of character! :)

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The one thing I did find a bit hard was the sizing of the dough.  I measured for what the recipe called for, but if I was to make these again, I would increase the size of both the tops and bottoms, that way you would have more room for filling.  As it was, the 3 inch bottoms didn’t seem really big and then the filling cooked down so some of them had gaps of air inside.  I would rather have packed in the apple filling with extra space and used up the full muffin tin.

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All in all, I would say these were a hit…especially with those of my tasters who love pie crust since there is such a big crust to filling ratio here…for me…the odd one… I would prefer a french apple topping but that would defeat the purpose of a “pielette” haha!

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