Sunday, January 22, 2017

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars

Several years ago, I had a job where every Friday, I would bring a treat for my co-workers and vendors.  I worked EARLY in the morning, so when I'd get home, my first thing to do was to take a nap.  This day, when I was laying down for a nap, I had looked at a recipe for the bars, and all I could dream about was these amazing bars. When I work up, I looked in the cupboard/freezer and had all of the ingredients. So I was destin to make these......

Blackberry Pie Bars


Crust and Topping:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups sugar

¼ tsp salt

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled

Fruit Filling:

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup flour

pinch salt

zest of ½ lemon

1 tsp almond extract

2 (16-oz) packages frozen blackberries, thawed and drained


To make the crust and topping, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes, and add to the flour mixture. Process until the butter is evenly distributed but the mixture is still crumbly, 30-60 seconds. Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture to use as the topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake 12-15 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes. To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then add the sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon zest, and almond extract. Gently fold in the berries and spoon the mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture evenly over the filling, and bake 45 to 55 minutes.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Dark Chocolate Ganache Slab Brownies & update

Well, well, well. Where have I been, well let me tell you, busy doesn't even start to describe my last 6 months or so. As many of you know, I started a catering business a few years back, and we have had great success with the business. In addition to this I was asked to take on additional responsibilities at work, basically asked to go back into management. And lastly we adopted our second Italian Greyhound. So with all of this, my time to blog has been very limited. Now that doesn't mean that I have stopped cooking, haha. Lord knows I will always be cooking!  

So, this past July a very good friend of ours was headed into heart surgery, and his wife asked if I would cook breakfast and dinners for them. Now this hits my sweet spot, as a personal chef has always been a career I have wanted to do. So I started planning the meals, only to have them hand me a list of what he can and cannot eat. Most people would baulk at this request, I said ok, and signed up for a nutritional eating course, not just for cooking for my friends, but also to expand my interest. This past summer was spent, working my 60 hour job, my extreme part time (can't gig it up) job, planning and proposing catering, as well as cooking for a few of them, and planning for healthy homemade meals for my friends. Not to mention, the typical things like, walking dogs, cleaning the know the daily stuff. 

Over the years I have found that the busier I am the more accomplished I feel. But the one thing I enjoy the most is cooking and writing this blog. Even though I haven't posted in a while, I have been collecting recipes, and taking pictures, cause I know eventually I would need material to blog about. I plan to also include a few of the recipes I made for my friends, if not the adaptation, then the original. 

To leave you with a little treat, I took part of a week off from work to drive to Portland to visit my family (& celebrate Christmas). I really do want to go into how expensive this trip became (new tires, oil change and the alternator and battery daily half way to Portland), but when we arrived at my cousins house last night, I started cooking. With a home made pot pie in the oven, I started making these delicious Ganache Slab Brownies.


Dark Chocolate Ganache Slab Briwnies

Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the pan and parchment
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups extra-dark chocolate chips
Other mix ins: Maraschino Cherries, halved and drained(I added 2 packages of Snicker Bites!)

Chocolate Ganache:
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 26-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang over the sides. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture a cup at a time and beat until combined.

Remove the bowl from the stand and use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and other mix ins. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Pour the Chocolate Ganache over the brownies and let cool. Cut into 32 rectangle-shaped cookie bars.

Chocolate Ganache:
Put the chocolate chips in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan, about 3 minutes. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.