For our staff party I discussed in one of my recent brussels sprouts recipes, we have an annual theme where we try to center our gift exchange around the theme. This year’s theme was hygge and when I learned that and needed to visit the Twin Cities, I took a trip to Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis to get scandinavian gifts. While I was there, I saw some Daim candybars and immediately thought of this recipe from ScandiKitchen. I thought I had measured everything accurately, but clearly missed something because when it was time to bake the cookies, they spread so far apart it was awful. Wanting to make it better, I ended up putting these in a bar pan and baking them. Flavor was good. But, I’m pretty sure there was too much butter.
1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2/3 c caster sugar
2 c plain flour
1 egg yolk
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2 tbs milk
¼ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp vanilla sugar
5 Daim bars (28g), roughly chopped
Melt the butter and set aside to cool down a bit.
Combine flour, baking soda, vanilla sugar and salt in a bowl and set side.
Combine the sugars with the cooled, melted butter and stir until no lumps remain. Combine egg, egg yolk, and milk and mix with the sugar and butter until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour bit by bit until everything is incorporated, then add the Daim pieces and combine. Chill the dough for a few hours.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Line your baking trays with paper and add approx. 40 grams or 1/3 c of cookie dough in rough balls, about 5 cm apart. Cook for 8-10 minutes – or until just golden, then remove from the oven immediately and transfer to a cooling rack (the middle should still be slightly soft when you take them out of the oven – they will harden up after a while. The cookies will be best after about half an hour – slightly warm but chewy in the middle.
Last week I was asked to bring in treats for one of the staffs who had won an award earlier in the year. The students asked for something ooey-gooey-caramel-chocolatey. I was a little bit befuddled about what to make because I wasn’t feeling inspired. However, when I was home with my family over Easter, I explored an old standby cookbook: Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran cookbook. In it, I came across this recipe for the Midnight Munchers, labeled as a Senior Choir favorite. And, I’m a sucker for anything that’s a favorite, so this recipe looked promising. The cookie bottom portion was thicker than I expected and the middle frosting layer was thinner than expected, but I think they turned out well. I haven’t heard negative comments from the students, at least.
1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 can ready-to-spread caramel pecan frosting
1 c sugar
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 c milk
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream brown sugar and 1/2 c margarine together. Blend in vanilla and eggs; mix well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Divide dough into two parts. Stir chocolate into half of dough. Drop each dough by large tablespoonfuls randomly into greased 9×13 pan. Spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Spread filling over bars. Freeze bars for about 30 minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, 5 Tbsp margarine and milk. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chips until melted and smooth. Pour topping over bars. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator.
This was one of those family recipes I found in the cookbook and couldn’t wait to try. I had no idea if they would taste good, but I’ve been on a bit of a ginger kick lately, and so it seemed like a great time to try them out. The fact that the recipe had my grandma’s name on it made it all the more appealing. Although I was in high school when my grandma passed away, she had been in a nursing home for 12 years. We visited her frequently, but when my cousins would tell stories of running to her house to get cookies after mass on Sundays, that was not a part of my memory with her. When an opportunity comes along to try and recreate some of the experience she created for them, I almost always want to take advantage.
Ginger Cream Bars
1 c sugar
2/3 c molasses
1 tsp baking soda in 1 c cold coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c shortening (scant)
3 c flour
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cream shortening, sugar, molasses, eggs. Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee. Spread in large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees. Frost with thin powdered sugar icing while still warm.
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for awhile now and looking for the time I wanted to execute it. Even better, the idea of mixing together a dessert in a food processor was too exciting to not try and do, so one weekend morning I decided to take the plunge. This is another fall recipe I’ve pulled from the Savoring the Seasons cookbook that I love so much.
The bar flavor turned out really tasty. I think presentation has a little to be desired, but I’m sure that will improve on the second or third time around making them.
Fall always has me looking for comfort food, and new takes on comfort food. As a result, I’ve spent the last few weeks looking through church cookbooks, midwestern cookbooks, and other spaces to find the foods that are going to serve as comforting foods. I was looking through Savoring the Seasons when I saw that I had flagged this recipe for Maple Nut Bars some time ago, but had not yet made the recipe. No time like the present, so one weekend morning I found myself throwing together the recipe.
The recipe calls for black walnuts. I know a lot of people in my family who adore black walnuts, but I’m not one of them. And, the cookbook acknowledges that black walnuts aren’t for everyone, “If the distinctive flavor of black walnuts is too strong for you or the nuts are not readily available, substitute pecans, almonds, or walnuts.” My modification used chopped walnuts.
This week our students are all returning to campus and on Monday we will start classes. You read that right. We start classes on Labor Day. Not the day after. In fact, this is the second campus on which I’ve worked where classes have been regularly held on this particular holiday. I admit, though, that I have been anticipating the return of students since the start of August. Actually, since the last week of July. I had a friend over that week who mentioned casually that it seemed as though I was awake later than normal, and when I talked through why that might be, the only logical conclusion was that the start of the academic year was upon us and my mind has started to be thinking, thinking, thinking.
The other reality of this is that I have not slept well since the end of the academic year when a series of events transpired that led me to visit campus in the middle of the night on more than one occasion. I found myself driving through campus between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day. I am hopeful we can enter into this year with a refreshed point of view, and am doing what I can to help create some community on-campus.
In early August, our campus participated in Iowa Private College Week, a week when students can travel to various private colleges in Iowa, where each campus holds open houses each morning AND afternoon. This means that staff, faculty, and alums of campus, have put in long hours of presentations and helping students to know why they should choose our campus. Which they should. But, that’s for another time. I love seeing our folks share great messages with students during this time to highlight how the campus might be a good fit for them. Ultimately, while I want us to make our class and do all the things that from the business side are important, I also really want us to admit and bring in students who can be successful and thrive.
To thank our staff for their hard work during this week, I decided to bring in some treats to our Admissions staff, reminding them how much we appreciate their work. I took a look through some cookbooks and came across this intriguing recipe for Pineapple Chocolate Bars in the Catholic Daughters Cookbook. I’ve been not having dessert, as I recently mentioned, but the folks who ate these indicated they tasted yummy!
The past few months have been a little bit crazy in regards to me taking time to write about my cooking adventures. I have nearly given up on crafting adventures and running has gone both directions – consistent or lacking consistency. Alas, last weekend I came to a point where I had baking problem after baking problem and nothing went how it was supposed to go. It was not just one baking fail, but multiple fails. I’ll write more about those adventures gone bad over the next few days, but here’s a baking not-fail. I made a recipe I found a few years ago at the holiday season. Chocolate Raspberry Crumb Bars. I don’t think I knew the deliciousness of the combination of chocolate and raspberry until I made these bars. And now, I love it.