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Archive for the ‘Bar Cookies’ Category

postheadericon Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

I admit, I love pumpkin flavor – for me it’s a Dutchie thing.  I used to get so excited when fall rolled around and the stores started putting holiday baking supplies out on display — it was “that time of the year”!.  Then, “Pumpkin Overload” struck — foods of all kinds were being labeled “Pumpkin (something)” and seemed to be coming out of the woodwork and attacking unwary shoppers as we trudged down the aisles.  Not to be taken in by this alien invasion, I turned to my trusted Pa Dutch and Coal Region recipe arsenal and concentrated on my favorite pumpkin recipes — the rest can just go away as far as the Pumpkin Everything craze is concerned! In my young adulthood in the Coal Region, I had a wonderful neighbor who planted a garden and always gifted me with a long neck pumpkin which I would dutifully peel, cook, drain and mash in order to whip up some pumpkin baked goods magic, but I confess, today thanks to some physical limitations and, sadly, my generous neighbor passing away many years ago, my go-to now is a good old can of Libby’s pumpkin. Make sure to use the 100% pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling which will alter this recipe and not turn out like you had hoped.  And, honestly, how could something not be a favorite of mine when cream cheese is swirled on top?? Budget friendly and travel friendly, these bars are great if you are called upon to bring a dessert to a family gathering or pot-luck.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Swirl:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour an 11" x 7 " baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 eggs until light and creamy. Beat in pumpkin puree.
  4. In another bowl, combine thoroughly the 1 cup of flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Slowly beat into the first mixture until well blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 egg, confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons flour. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Drop by spoonfuls on to the pumpkin batter. Using a small narrow spatula or butter knife, swirl the cream cheese batter into the pumpkin batter.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool and cut into squares to serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/08/pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-bars/

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postheadericon Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Also known as “Rainbow Cookies”, these are a staple in most Italian bakeries but can be made in your kitchen with a little time and patience.  They are not difficult to make, but there is waiting, chilling, and inactive time involved so plan accordingly.  Often, you will find recipes or bakeries that use only one flavor jam — apricot — in these cookies, but some older recipes often use two jams — apricot and seedless raspberry.  I have included that version here, but feel free to use only one to suit your taste. It is surmised rainbow cookies seem to have been created in America by Italian American immigrants to honor the colors of the Italian flag. Although found in bakeries year round, they are especially popular at Christmas.

Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 8 ounces almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (gel or paste preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring (gel or paste preferred)
  • Two 15-ounce jars smooth (not chunky) apricot jam OR 1 Jar each of Apricot and seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour three 15- by- 10- inch rimmed sheet pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the almond paste and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until you have fine crumbles. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and pulse until well mixed. Plop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until the batter is smooth. Sprinkle in the salt, and mix. Sift in the flour, and mix until just combined.
  3. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until foamy. While whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into three bowls. Leave one bowl plain, without any coloring. Add the red food coloring to one bowl, stirring to make a deep- salmon color. Add the green food coloring to the last bowl, stirring to make a medium- green color. Spread batter into each of the prepared pans with a spatula.
  5. Bake, rotating pans to opposite racks, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let the cakes cool completely on wire racks, then remove from pans.
  6. Trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes if necessary. Put the green cake layer back, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread one jar of jam over the cake, almost all the way to the edges. do not put too thick a layer of jam on cake. Err on the side of less rather than so much it oozes out the side when the cakes are layered together.
  7. Place the plain layer of cake on top of the jam. Spread the remaining jar of jam almost all the way to the edges of the plain layer.
  8. Place the red layer on top of the jam, cut side up. Wrap the entire cake in plastic, and top with another pan, weighted with cans. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  9. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature.
  10. Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread half of chocolate in a thin layer on top of cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes.
  11. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  12. Using a serrated knife, cut the set layers into rectangles, using the outer sides to form perfectly cut rectangles. NOTE: these cut much easier if frozen before cutting.
  13. Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks. They’ll keep even longer in the freezer.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/10/italian-seven-layer-cookies/

 

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postheadericon Hermit Bar Cookies

Hermit cookies take two forms: drop and bar. This version is the bar style and I just love them. Chewy, spicy, filled with dried fruit, they are a favorite to make as fall and winter holidays approach, but I’ll  never turn down a hermit any time of the year. These are great to make ahead for your cookie trays and freeze very well.

Bar Hermit Cookies

Hermit Bar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup raisins (or currants, or dried cranberries, small diced candied fruit and/or nuts - your choice!)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and continue to beat, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. Gradually add the flour and spices mixture until just combined. Stir in the raisins.
  3. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375° and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Once dough is chilled, shape it into a ball and cut in half. Shape each half into a log 12 inches long and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between the logs. Press down lightly on the tops of the logs with your fingertips to give them a slightly squared-off shape.
  6. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes, or until the edges are just barely crisp. Remove from the oven to cool.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/09/hermit-bar-cookies/

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