Hello Dolly Bars

16 03 2009

Ok, there’s a bit of flaxseed in here but otherwise it’s all sweet and gooey – so not the snack of choice for a light weekend. 

2 cups toasted (unsweetened if you can find it) dried, shredded coconut

2 cups of finely ground graham cracker crumbs (this took about 20 crackers)

1 1/2 stick of butter, melted

1/2 ground flaxseed

Combine these in a bowl, mix and press into a butter-greased 9″ x 13″ pan – pack down with bottom of meauring cup to get flat. Put in fridge for 15 mins. Then bake at 300F for 10 mins or until brown. Take out and cool.

Then get ready:

1 1/2 cup toasted nuts (mixed, walnuts, pecans, whatever you like best)

1 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup butterscotch chips

2 small cans (26 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk

Once crust has been removed from oven and cooled. Speard out nuts, then choc chips, then butterscotch. Pour milk oer all of it. Put back into the oven for 40 mins at 325F, rotate every 10 mins or at least twice if you can’t be bothered with 4 times… crust will be browned and bubbly. Cool, cut and serve. These will keep well wrapped tightly in fridge for a week.

gooey scrumptiousness

gooey scrumptiousness


Peanut Butter Apple Pie

19 02 2009

img_100937-8 tart apples (ie granny smiths) You might need more or less depending on the size of your pan

1/3 cup brown sugar

spices (more or less depending on how “spicy” you like it): 3 tablespoons of cinammon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used up 1 small jar of Smucker’s Natural, simplest ingredient list so prefer the taste)

1 tablespoon melted butter

pinch salt

Crust: 1 batch of pate brisee (see other pie recipe post), rolled out into pan, put into fridge to cool.

Topping: 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter. Cut until crumbly and put aside in fridge.

Slice apples into thick slices/ chunks – mix with sugar and spices.

Mix butter, honey, peanut butter, salt: pour over apples.

Bake 45 minutes at 375F.


Create Your Own 10-Grain Muffins

28 01 2009

Mix into a bowl: 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal plus 1 1/4 cup buttermil (I use the reduced fat version and its fine). Let sit in one bowl while you assemble other ingredients in another bowl, namely:

1 egg

1 cup whole dates blended/ chopped finely (this substitutes for sugar)

1 cup of whole ground flaxseed (substitutes for oil)

1/4 cup of canola oil (optional – this prevents the paper from sticking on the muffins and gives a richer mouthfeel – and you can omit, just expect a bit of sticking with the paper)

1 cup flour

1 tsp each of salt, baking powder, baking soda

At this point, you can get creative – in a couple of the last batches I’ve added:

1 cup of dried cranberries

chopped peel from one navel orange

2 mashed bananas

chocolate chips

whole or chopped mixed nuts/ chopped pecans/ chopped almonds

You can also make them chocolate by adding 4-6 oz of melted dark/ baking chocolate PLUS 1/2 cup of cocoa powder – either one by itself leaves it looking chocolate but not tasting chocolate. 

Then add whatever you choose from the list above to the cereal/ buttermilk mix – put in baking cups/ cupcake tray and bake at 350F for 20 mins. In my oven, I need to broil for an additional 2 or 3 minutes – I’ve experimented to get to this as each oven is slightly different.

That’s it!

Flowers from the Farmer’s Market

4 05 2008

The lilacs smell wonderful, and pP=ink peonies arrived this week!

Rhubarb Pie

4 05 2008


with latticeSo exciting, rhubarb just arrived at the farmer’s market. I was so excited the guy selling me the rhubarb was a bit taken aback. Poor thing. And if you’re not into pie, here’s a great recipe for rhubarb and strawberries that’s super easy.

This uses the same crust recipe as the Tarte Tatin (pate brisee which you can do in a food processor, for that recipe, click here) in an earlier post, and you can bake in anything you’ve got – springform cake pan, pie pan, etc… Pictured here is in a tarte pan.

Put in a medium bowl:butter and flour 2 1/2 c flour (about 11 ounces if you’re weighing)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks of very cold unsalted butter cut up into pretty thin slices (as many as you have patience for)

It helps if you’re in a room that’s cool to cold (ie. NOT hot) and your hands are also not hot… what you do is mix up the flour with the butter, and start pinching the butter between your thumb and forefinger and middle finger. The idea is to be quick about it, so you’re only mixing the butter, not melting it. You do this until the mixture is crumbly and further pinching just starts to stick together big clumps of already mixed butter and flour (like this).

I added chopped pecans to this dough which is a nice addition to any fruit filling… about half a cup unchopped… add this after you finish pinching, and before you add water so you can mix more easily throughout the dough.

Then have 5 tablespoons of iced water handy… sprinkle that on this mixture. Dump it out onto a long (2 ft) sheet of plastic wrap – and mold quickly into a ball or as close as you can get to one.

before you put it back in the fridge
with cling filmabout half way thereMash it down with a rolling pin until it starts to resemble a thick pancake. Put in the fridge for at least 1 hour, more if you have a bar fridge like me. This gives the dough a chance to rest, otherwise it will shrink a lot during baking – and no one dies but your tarte is not as pretty. 


Meanwhile, chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch thick or 3/4 inch slices until you have 4 cups worth. Add to a bowl with 3T flour, 1 cup raw sugar, 1 egg and a pinch of salt. Mix until the rhubarb is coated. 

between cling film or wax paperNow that your crust dough has had time to shrink/ rest in the fridge. Take it back out and start rolling out. If you either turn your dough or the rolling pin slightly to the left after each time, you’ll get a more even crust. Once your dough is rolled out, I put the pan on top just to make sure I have enough dough for the edges.

Pictured here on the left is nearly done, I rolled a bit more just to be sure. Then take away the cling film from one side and carefully flip the dough into the pan.

You want to position the dough so it’s evenly on top of the pan, with enough for the sides, before you start pushing down the dough into the corners of the pan (where the bottom meets the sides). At this point, you can put back in the fridge to let it settle for another 20-30 mins. 


Once back out, you can push back the edges so they hang over the edge of the pan. Then, run the rolling pin across the top of the pan – which gives you a nice even edge. Pre-heat the oven at this point to 350F.

If you collect the excess dough, you generally will have enough to make thin lattices across the top of the pie – just ball up, put between two sheets of cling film and roll out again (if you have time, refrigerate for 20 mins, it’ll make the dough easier to handle). Cut the small piece of flat dough you have, peel off each strip, and lay on top of the pie. That’s your lattice.

If you don’t feel like making a lattice or don’t like how it looks/ tastes, you can also make a crumble topping with oatmeal: melt 1/3 cup of butter. Then mix with: 1/2 cup of flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 cup of raw or brown sugar. Sprinkle this on top of the pie.

Dot the pie with 2 Tablespoons of butter (cut up into little pieces). I forgot to dot before the lattice, so rather than taking it off and making a mess, I just dotted in the open spaces.with dots of butter

Bake for 40 mins… if the lattice or crumble is not brown enough, you can broil for 2 or 2 1/2 minutes until you get the desired browness. Serve warm or cold… with ice cream or as is. 


Rockin Key Lime Pie

1 05 2008

This is a really easy recipe, what’s a pain are getting the juice out of a lot of fairly small key limes and crushing the graham crackers… if you have something amusing to do while you’re getting those done (or can get someone else to help you), then this recipe is a breeze.

It doesn’t taste nearly as good with regular limes (or god forbid some kind of plastic bottled substitute). Personally, I’d either make ’em with key limes or buy it from the store. (if they’re about lemon sized, they’re regular limes – see pic). 

Wash and grate the key limes first. Harder to grate after juicing. I usually grate 5-6, so get a pile going (the stronger you want the key lime taste, the more zest – if you just want a bit, save for tossing on top of the whipped cream upon serving). If mixing in, chop a bit. If garnish only, no need. If mixing, toss zest into the bottom of a medium sized mixing bowl.

Next is the juicing. If you put a sieve or colander inside a bigger bowl, and just juice directly into that, it’ll catch the seeds for easy disposal. To juice, I use a canvas stretcher which I happened to have laying around. If you have an easier way, lemme know. I found the hand-held wooden ones, manual juicers are too big for key limes.

for a fabulous key lime pie The canvas stretcher is like pliers, except with rectangular pieces at the end, which is actually the perfect shape and size for relative

ly easy juicing. I get a whole bag of about 20, and juice em all.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Okay, so now you’ve got the zest, juice. Add 4 whole eggs instead of separating out yolks and whites (so far no one has complained).

Then open a can of sweetened condensed milk, add and mix. Take 12-16 double sheets of regular graham crackers and pulverize. Pictured here is my erstwhile assistant Patricia with a meat tenderizing hammer being multi-purposed.

nearly done It’s easier to make the crust with finer crumbs.

Melt half a stick of unsalted butter in a loosely covered microwave safe dish (big dish so the butter doesn’t overflow… I’d do it minute by minute). When completely liquid, add the butter to the graham cracker crumbs along with 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar or raw sugar.

key lime pie crustMix and pour into your baking container (if you don’t have a special pie tin, you can use a sprinform cake tin, it’s easier to get the pie out). Press down and out towards the sides. For this pan, it’s important to get the crust up to about 2 inches so the custard won’t overflow… press down into the space between the pan bottom and side so the crust doesn’t get too thick there.

Pour the custard into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.custard will set The custard will have set, and will wiggle if shaken lightly. Cool at room temperature, and then remove the side if it’s a spring form before refrigerating for at least a couple of hours until chilled through. (if you forget, it’s just harder to get the side of the pan off).

Serve as is, with whipped cream… traditional recipes call for sour cream which I’ve never been tempted to try.



Union Square Farmer’s Market

26 04 2008

Pic of Ramp bunchOak Grove Plantation and Oak Grove Mills are a great supplier of locally grown and ground flours (oat, buckwheat, rye, whole wheat, unbleached white plus oat bran and wheat bran). To order by mail 908-782-9618 – they’re in Pittstown NJ which I don’t actually know where that is… easier to go to the Union Square market :).

Ramps season has officially begun (saw one vendor last week and multiple ones this week – $2.50 per bunch was the best price I noticed). They’re only grown in this region and make a nice addition to omelettes, soup, anything stir-fried… kind of a cross between onion and garlic and leek, pretty mild cooked.