Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 2011

Chocolatey Raspberry Shortbread Bars

by cillefish

A friend of mine makes these; I had some this weekend and they are SO GOOD. Shortbread-y crust topped with soft fudgelike goodness, topped with MORE shortbread, topped with raspberry jam & chocolate chips. Adapted from the “Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars” in a joint Land O Lakes / Nestlé-sponsored recipe; click the link for the photo source and original recipe.
Nestle Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars

Chocolatey Raspberry Shortbread Crumb Bars

(Makes 3 dozen bars)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12-oz pkg) semi-sweet
    chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups (14-oz can)
    sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts/pecans chopped fine (OR 3/4 c of ground almonds; ground before measuring) (optional)
  • About 9 oz (1/2 an 18-oz jar) seedless raspberry jam (the original recipe called for 1/3 cup)

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cream butter, then cream together with sugar, flour, then salt. Lightly flour fingers and press 1 3/4 c (not all!) of the shortbread crumb mixture into pan, reserving the rest of the crumb mix. Bake 10–12 min (edges will be golden brown).

In a small, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, combine 1 c (not all!) chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth. Pour evenly onto hot baked crust.

Combine remaining shortbread-crumb mix and nuts (if using). Sprinkle evenly over chocolate-fudgy layer. Top with teaspoonsful of raspberry jam, then remaining chips. Bake for another 25–30 min. Cool before slicing.

May 23, 2011

“The Math” – The 3 Rules of a Perfect Cake

by cillefish

I went to the library and found this baking cookbook that’s pretty wildly informative. So far I’ve learned a few things — like that over-leavening a cake deflates it, that Dutch process cocoa can mess up a recipe designed for the normal type because it’s more alkaline, and that you can darken up normal cocoa by heating it up in a saucepan with a little baking soda. Fun, science-experiment stuff.

Orange Cornmeal Olive-Oil CakeThis cookbook explained some basic guidelines (“The Math”) for putting together a good cake using today’s fancypants flour, which holds more sugar and fat than old-style flour. By weight, the rules go:

  • sugar must ≥ flour
  • eggs must ≥ fat
    (butter, shortening, & oil)
  • liquid (eggs, milk, water)
    must ≥ sugar

Not remembering what a tedious pain in the butt unit conversions are (4th grade was a while ago), I decided to use this to tackle an orange olive oil cornmeal cake recipe that had great flavor and a lovely crunchy top, but a too-dry texture—I decided to try The Math on it.

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