Thursday, February 22, 2018

RASBERRY SHORTBREAD BARS

Everyone loves these raspberry bars, they have an ultra-buttery shortbread crust topped with cooked raspberries and a streusel topping. They are very sweet, buttery, tender AND they cut nicely...perfect for gift giving.



Raspberries grow well in Alaska, so if you are lucky enough to have some in the freezer, this is a wonderful recipe for them; I'm not so lucky, so I used a 12 ounce bag of frozen raspberries.

NOTE: You can skip this step if you want to use raspberry (or ANY flavor) jam.

Put the berries (no need to thaw) in a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup of water and one cup of white sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium high and simmer the berries until thick (I turn mine down to a medium low heat for a gentle boil and cook them for about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while). Set aside to cool (they will thicken even more as they cool).


SHORTBREAD CRUST
21 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
This seems like a lot of butter, but it makes an 
upper AND lower crust
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 large egg yolks
3 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything in a stand mixer: it will make a very stiff dough. Remove TWO CUPS of this dough and pat it evenly into a parchment (or foil) lined 9 x 13 pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Remove and prick the dough with a fork.



Bake the 9 x 13 chilled pan of dough, on the middle rack of your oven, for 20 minutes at 325°After 20 minutes, the dough will still be very pale in color and will not have any golden color on the edges. Remove it from the oven and spread the cooled raspberry filling (or jam) evenly over it.


To the reserved shortbread dough(that you set aside), add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Use a fork to break up the dough into crumbs.


Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the raspberry layer and press ever so lightly. Bake on the TOP rack of a 350° oven for 25 minutes (my electric oven takes 32 minutes). The topping should be a golden color (watch the crumbles towards the end of the baking time so they don't get dark). 

Cool baked bars (in the pan) on a wire rack for at least an hour or until completely firm. When the bottom of the pan is completely cool to the touch, lift the bars out of the pan by pulling on the flap ends of the foil. Cut into 2" bars. These will keep at room temperature for a week.




 NOTE: The butter measurement of 21 tablespoons is not a typing error.

NOTE: Line  your 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment (or foil) and leave the ends of the foil a little long, so you can use them as handles to lift the cooled bars out of the pan. You don't have to grease the bottom of the pan because there's so much butter in the shortbread, but DO spray the sides of the pan/foil with cooking spray so the jam doesn't stick to the sides.

NOTE: Pay attention to baking temperatures. The first crust pre-bake is on the middle rack at 325°. The final bake is on the TOP rack at 350° so that the bottom of the crust doesn't get too dark.


NOTE: You can use any flavor jam you like.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SUPER EASY LEMON CREAM PIE

This has to be the easiest pie ever and my picky-picky husband gives it two thumbs up (which is rare)!!  It is quick to make and oh so yummy.



GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup of sugar

Mix everything and press into a pie plate. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes, then set aside to cool while you make the filling.

FILLING
(2) 14 ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk (NOT EVAPORATED)
3 egg YOLKS   (yolks only)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Beat the filling ingredients with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Pour into baked crust.  Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes, then put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
After chilled, top with whipped cream and serve.

Any whipped cream will work, but this is my "go to" whipped cream recipe because it doesn't deflate, even after a couple days in the fridge, it stays nice and fluffy.

STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM
8 ounces of cream cheese.....room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Whip room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar vanilla and about 1/2 cup of the whipping cream. Beat until very smooth. Add the rest of the whipping cream and beat until you get stiff peaks.



ENJOY !!!


Friday, January 19, 2018

BEST ONION DIP EVER

A lot of chip dips are made with all sour cream. I've wanted to try this dip recipe, made with sour cream AND cream cheese, for a long time.....today was the day. It went together well and now the recipe says I have to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to mellow the flavors.......are they crazy?? If you know me at all......I am NOT a patient girl!!!



This recipe calls for 1 cup of caramelized onion's which might concern some new cooks. It is VERY easy to do and the flavor it gives the dip is fabulous!! Here's a couple pointers: 

To get 1 cup of caramelized onions, it's going to take about two medium size onions or one huge one.  Peel it, and slice it (into about 1/4" slices...maybe a little thinner) and cook them in a heavy pan with a couple tablespoons of butter.

Start out at medium high heat until you hear the onions sizzling, then turn the burner WAY, WAY down and just let them simmer. My electric stove burner settings range from 2-10....I simmer the onion on about #2, for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. They should look like this:



Remove onions from the pan and let them cool while you mix everything else together:

1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese  (room temperature)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)
1/2 teaspoon onion  powder (not salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (less if you use table salt)
1   tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Beat the cream cheese until smooth and soft, add sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, kosher salt and parsley. Mix well.

Run your knife over the caramelized onions, so they are in smaller pieces. Stir into dip. Decorate with snipped chives (optional).




Cover and chill for at least a few hours to mellow out the garlic and onion powder (overnight is even better).....Oh who am I kidding?

The cream cheese gives this dip a wonderful consistency and rich creamy taste.  Your family and friends will love it....if you care to share.




Enjoy !!!