Bars Archive

Monday, January 7, 2008

lemon bars

lemon bars

January is always the time of year when most of us get caught up in the winter produce doldrums, fueled by the dearth of flavorful fruit and the overabundance of hard, starchy vegetables. But I find if I set my mind on citrus, I can carefully sidestep most bouts of Farmers Market Mourning. There are few things teeming with more promise of a sunnier tomorrow than sour-sweet piercing members of the rutaceae family, and I’ve got an archive full of margarita cookies, lemon bundts, orange chocolate chunks, grapefruit loaves and key lime tartlets that should assure you that you need not feel that you are missing out just because the peaches and berries have gone into hibernation.

scrubbedlemon zest

But I haven’t had a lemon bar in there before now, despite repeated requests and, heck, even pleading for one by various people inside my computer. You’d think it is because I’m stubborn but it actually that my bar (ha) for lemon bars has been set very high by my mother, who has an award-winning recipe somewhere in her files. Upon request, she sent it to me a couple years ago, but when they didn’t come out the way I had remembered, her response was “oh, I must have sent you the wrong one.” Tell me, if you had a recipe for lemon bars that you had won you a cooking contest, why would you have a second version in your box that wasn’t as good? Perhaps if you ask her, you’ll get further than I did.

lemon macroemptied lemon halves

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

austrian raspberry shortbread

austrian raspberry shortbread

If there is anything I am always on the prowl for–besides artichokes, cookie cutters and green anything–it is variations on classic recipes. It’s a sticky thing, of course, because the originals earned their prized state for being blissful the way they are. But I can’t help it–I see a twist, a curve, a departure, or in this case, once again, a grater and I can’t resist.

austrian raspberry shortbreadaustrian raspberry shortbreadaustrian raspberry shortbreadaustrian raspberry shortbread

In my mind, there are few cookie combinations as satisfying as a butter cookie with raspberry, and whether you make them into bars, sandwiches or thumbprints.

But all varieties have a certain density that attracts shortbread-junkies like me, but repels those who want a less weighty cookie experience. This recipe magically ingratiates itself to both parties with the help of a food processor.

austrian raspberry shortbread

Continued after the jump »

Monday, October 8, 2007

hello dolly bars

hello dolly bar

As much as I have said more often in the last couple months than you should ever let me get away with that I am so busy! and no time! the truth is that really, truly having no time for the things I really want to have time for terrifies me. I always wonder: are we really so busy or are we just busy being busy? Are there truly ‘not enough hours in the day’ or are we just not using the ones we have well enough? I feel if I allow myself to sorry can’t, too much going on right now I might fall down a slippery slope wherein I start saying that even before I have considered what I am busy with. Come on, surely you know the type.

What I mean is: there is a woman with two children, one under a year old, in our west coast office that wields our interoffice overnight mail for the very best of causes: baked goods. Got a promotion? New employee? Had a bad day? Leaving for greener pastures? Any and all events, no matter how small or mighty, are greeted with a bundle of butter, sugar, chocolate and‚ well, I haven’t figured out all of the ingredients yet, so I just call it “crack” and you will hopefully know that I mean that it is a very good thing.

sweetened condensed milkbutterscotch chipsshredded coconut graham crackers

Continued after the jump »

Friday, December 8, 2006

pecan squares

pecan squares

You know, most people would look at a recipe that required more than a box of brown sugar, more than a teddy bear full of honey, two pounds of pecans and nine sticks of butter and say, oh hell no. Ina Garten is clearly trying to kill us. And while I thought that to myself many times, I really just saw this as a challenge. Could this be The Most Fattening Thing I Have Ever Made? I mean, this makes chocolate caramel cheesecake look like a Weight Watchers 2-point popsicle. I must make them.

made a mess here, too

Because if we’re all going to go sooner or later, I believe everyone should be allotted a few of these first, not that we ever doubted that pecan pie baked slathered over a thick shortbread base would be anything less than worth it’s weight in coronaries. And while I know our arteries are clogging and our scales groaning at the thought of such an avalanche of ingredients better taken in moderation, keep in mind that this makes a half-sheet pan full of bars. That’s a freaking lot of cookie.

Continued after the jump »


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