Strawberry Lemonade Bars

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This weekend, I didn’t have to bake at all.  I had three lovely sous chefs to do all the work.  I just diced some strawberries and they did the rest.  Here they are, hard at work:

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When sitting down to decide on a recipe, we had an assortment of cookbooks scattered across the table.  Did we want to turn to Magnolia’s? What about the Boozy Baker? Maybe Claire’s Cornercopia had the answer? The only requirement was that it include fruit.

We tossed around a bunch of ideas, but ended up settling on Strawberry Lemonade Bars from Pinterest, because bars are easy to make and travel with, and I wanted to send them far away from the condo so I wouldn’t eat them all, as was the fate of the Coconut Scotchie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Alas, I didn’t read the entire recipe in advance, so though my friends have left, the bars remain.  Hopefully they were able to snack on enough of the crumb topping to have gotten a little enjoyment.

So, though I don’t have the first hand experience with baking this one, here’s what I observed!

First, make the crumb topping.  To do that, melt the butter in the microwave and add the two sugars, whisking to combine.

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In case you were unsure as to what whisking looked like, Sheila was sure to include plenty of action shots for you.

Next, add the flour and stir to combine.  It should resemble sand with large clumps. Reserve a heaping 3/4 cup of the crumb in a separate bowl.

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Press the remaining mixture into an 8×8 inch pan, lined with aluminum foil lined with cooking spray. This will be the crust.

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Next, it’s time to make the filling. Put the egg, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk to combine.

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Add the flour and continue to whisk until smooth.

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Evenly pour the filling over the crust to create the second layer in the pan.  More awesome action shots courtesy of Sheila ahead!

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Finally, the strawberry layer.  This is where my own work was finally used.  Dicing two heaping cups of strawberries is not an insignificant undertaking.

In a separate bowl, toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch to combine.

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That’s a shot of Shirlee being Marj’s arms to do said tossing.  There’s also a video, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t upload it.  Anyways, add the flour to your own discretion in order to thicken.  Depending on your strawberries, this could be as much as 2 1/2 tablespoons, or as little as none.

 

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Spread the strawberry layer as evenly as possible on top of the filling.  It’s not the end of the world if you mix things together – no one will complain about marbled strawberry bars.

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Sprinkle with the remaining topping. We added a little lemon zest to the crumb topping, which I think was a good idea from Marj. Bake at 350°F for around an hour, until edges are bubbling and the crumb topping is slightly golden.  It’s worth it to check around 45 minutes since fresh vs. frozen berries have different results here.

Cool for at least two hours before slicing and serving.  Mine are currently sitting in the fridge chilling further, since the recipe recommended serving them chilled.  You can store them at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for 10 days.

Huge shout out to Shirlee, Sheila, and Marj for doing all the baking/photography for the week! Wish I could send you guys a bar!

Everyone else, enjoy!

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Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Crust and Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Strawberry Layer Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping cups strawberries, diced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • up to 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Crumble and Crust: Whisk together melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Add flour and stir to combine. Reserve a heaping 3/4 cup of crumble and press remaining crumble into the bottom of a 8×8 inch pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Filling: In a bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add flour and whisk until combined. Pour filling layer over crust evenly.
  3. Strawberry Layer: Toss strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch in a large bowl.  If too runny, add flour to thicken to desired consistency before pouring evenly over the filling layer.  Sprinkle with reserved crumble.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes, or until sides are bubbling and the crumb topping is slightly golden.  Allow to cool at least two hours before slicing and serving.
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Coconut Scotchies

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Last week, I was mean.  I only gave you half of the recipe to the treat I was making.  However, this week, I plan to make that up to you.  So, if you have not yet finished all of the chocolate ice cream (which I realize is unlikely, I barely had enough to use one day later, let alone a week), you can combine it with today’s cookie recipe to make some pretty unbelievable ice cream sandwiches.

I also feel that I am completely entitled to calling them unbelievable since I have definitely tasted them more than necessary to declare such a thing.  Like I may have had one every day since I made them.  Someone needs to take them out of my freezer before I eat the rest.

With that in mind, you may want to save assembling these for a time when you have LOTS of guests coming.  Like 20. I think I got around that many sandwiches out of the recipe.

Anyways, the coconut scotchies are from Serious Eats, and mostly from the fact that I was looking for a cookie that held up structurally to being a sandwich cookie and complimented chocolate ice cream.  Coconut, butterscotch, and oats for the win.

As an alternative, Ann’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies would also hold up really well.  In fact, they did, since the same day I made these, she made ice cream sandwiches with her cookies and vanilla ice cream.  Much more of the traditional chipwich route if that’s what you’re looking for.

First up, whisk together the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

 

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In a separate bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat together the butter, coconut sugar, and sugar.  This takes quite a bit of muscle, so I wouldn’t hold it against you if you used a regular hand beater.  I found coconut sugar in the Nature’s Promise section of Stop & Shop, so don’t let that deter you.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  I kept using the wooden spoon really out of pride at this point.

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Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Serious Eats also called for 1/2 teaspoon of dark rum here if you felt the need.  I think it’s a wonderful idea, I just didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like going to the store.

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Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.  This is where the wooden spoon finally pays off – it’s hard to overbeat by hand.

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Add the oats and stir in.  Then do the same with the butterscotch chips.

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Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and drop the dough by rounded tablespoons.  I made them on the big side, because I felt that ice cream sandwich cookies should be large.  In hindsight, they could also be small and delicious. And then my mom wouldn’t have felt the need to cut them all in half.

Try to keep the dough round and tall since the cookies will spread, and leave about 2 inches between cookies.

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Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until edges are golden and crisp.  You will probably want to keep a close eye on these, since they go from beautifully golden to inedibly black pretty quick.

Allow to cool 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Now, obviously, these cookies are a masterpiece that can be enjoyed in their own right.  However, should you need an excuse to eat two at the same time with ice cream in between them, assembly is pretty easy.  I kind of cut slices of the ice cream (since it was on the hard side right out of the freezer) that about matched the size of a cookie.

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Add another cookie, and voila! Ice cream sandwich.

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If you are not serving immediately, store in an airtight container in the freezer.  Ann had hers individually wrapped in plastic wrap then put in a ziploc bag, which seemed like a much better idea in reality.

Enjoy!

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Coconut Scotchies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 11 ounces butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, coconut sugar and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Stir in the oats, followed by the butterscotch chips.
  7. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350°F for 15 minutes until edges are golden. Cool 10 minutes on pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

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As I think I mentioned last week, Hurricane Arthur managed to cancel all of the 4th of July events last weekend.  That meant that yesterday, the 12th of July, became the night for fireworks and festivities at the waterfront.  The condo I’m in for the summer happens to have a perfect panoramic view of the fireworks show, making it the natural location for friends to come and watch.  Which, of course, meant I needed to bake.

Full disclosure: I’m not giving you the full recipe for what I made right now.  I’m giving you part, and will give you the second half next weekend.  When I’m not going to work where I can drop off a tray of treats and be sure they’ll be gone before I return to the staff room, I have to stretch my recipes a bit.  Otherwise my family and I would be 400 pounds.  Each.

So, even though I turned this ice cream into ice cream sandwiches with Coconut Scotchies as the cookies, I’m just going to give you the ice cream for now.  Trust me, it’s delicious on its own.

I adapted the recipe from the book that came with my KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment, and it was my first attempt at an ice cream that used eggs, so this is a big deal for me.

First, put 1/2 cup of the whipping cream, the chopped semisweet chocolate and the chopped unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the chocolate melts.  Set aside.

 

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Now, here’s where I may have messed up a little.  I just like to remind myself baking is an adventure.  I was so focused on prepping ingredients in advance so I could just go through the recipe quick that I skipped a step.

You should heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not boiling and set aside.  You should also stir this often while you’re doing it.

I didn’t do this step at all.  I think it may have changed the consistency of the ice cream to be a little smoother if I had, but in terms of food safety (I can here you thinking but Meg, there’s raw eggs in this recipe!), it didn’t make a difference.  You’ll be returning the raw egg batter back to heat later, so don’t worry about that.

Anyways, I picked the recipe back up at combining the sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl and setting aside.

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Then, put the egg yolks in the bowl of your stand mixer and use the wire whip at speed 2, gradually adding the sugar mixture and mixing until well blended and a little thicker.

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Then, add the chocolate mixture and half-and-half, a little at a time, continuing on speed 2 until well blended.

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Put the entire mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge and it steams.  See, I told you it would go back on the heat! No danger of food poisoning here.

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Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the rest of the whipping cream and vanilla extract.  Slight digression: during this recipe, the stainless steel mixing bowls really grew on me.  I like the way pictures look with them. It’s making me mildly considering getting a set for aesthetic purposes.

 

 

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Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, but probably overnight.  Ice cream is a very time-consuming process, but the payoff is awesome.

When ready, put the freezer bowl (which you should have already frozen) on the mixer and set the attachment to stir.  Pour in the batter and allow to run about 15 minutes, or until desired consistency.

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In the meantime, chop up 4 hershey’s milk chocolate bars.  In the last 2 minutes of mixing, add the chocolate chunks to the ice cream.  My ice cream maker started making crunching noises so I probably only let it run 1 minute, but it worked.

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You can either serve the ice cream immediately as is or put it in an airtight container and stick in the freezer for later use.  I ended up freezing it to assemble the ice cream sandwiches later.

The ice cream is pretty fudgy and elicited such responses as, “This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had!” and “Where did you get the ice cream for these sandwiches? It’s so good and fudgy!”  So despite the time commitment, it really is worth it.

Enjoy!

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Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 bars milk chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup whipping cream, semisweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate over medium-low heat until chocolate melts. Stir frequently and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat half-and-half over medium heat until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  4. Use wire whip of stand mixer on speed 2 to mix egg yolks. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended and slightly thicker, about 30 seconds.
  5. Continuing on speed 2, add chocolate mixture and half-and-half gradually. Mix until well blended.
  6. Return mixture to medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until small bubbles form around edge and it steams.  Stir constantly until this happens, and transfer to large bowl.
  7. Stir in remaining whipping cream and vanilla extract.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  8. Assemble freezer bowl on the mixer and set to stir.  Pour in batter and stir for about 15 minutes until desired consistency.  In the last 2 minutes, add the chopped milk chocolate.
  9. Serve immediately or store in airtight container in the freezer.

Blueberry Buckle

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As I write this post, I am sitting on the patio of our condo, surrounded by beautiful views of Plymouth Bay.  I’m watching a sailboat as it comes out from behind the jetty.  I don’t think my parents are going to be able to get rid of me at the end of this summer.

Anyways, as a kick-off to the summer baking season, this week I have a good old family recipe to share with you: Blueberry Buckle.  Every year, my mom makes a blueberry buckle for the fourth of July.  And the buckle is actually the star of my favorite fourth of July story.  You see, my mom always wait until the morning of to bake the buckle, since it really is best warm and fresh.  One year, however, she was a little more rushed than usual.  With the help of my dad’s aunt, she was making the buckle fairly close to the start of our annual party.  They’ve got it in the pan, ready to go in the oven, and just can’t seem to figure out what was wrong with it.  It looked a little strange… because they forgot the blueberries.  So I walk into the kitchen, and my mom and Mary are pushing blueberries into the top of the batter attempting to remedy the situation.  To this day, I can’t help but remind her not to forget the blueberries whenever she makes it.

This year was a little strange for a variety of reasons, though.  For one, we no longer live in that house where we had the annual party.  So there was no real big event for us to be planning that day.  For another, Hurricane Arthur decided he was going to ruin America’s birthday by showing up and canceling all of the parades, parties, and fireworks in the general vicinity.  Finally, this year my mom let me make the buckle, with her supervision, of course.

So here is my first attempt at blueberry buckle!

First, cream together the sugar and shortening either with a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.  I only have a stand mixer for use at the condo, which is fine by me.

 

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Next, add the egg and beat until well-combined.

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Then, and I did some creative interpreting of the recipe here, since my mom’s recipes tend to include minimal directions, add the milk and beat that until combined.

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In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder with a whisk.

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Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until just combined.  Leaving some flour streaks is actually not a bad thing here as long as you scrape them down into the bowl after.

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Add the blueberries and fold in using a wooden spoon.  I know what you’re thinking: Meg, that looks like WAY more than two cups!  It might be.  We just used a big thing of blueberries.  Not a bad thing.

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Spread the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan.  I used Pam baking spray, but you could also just use butter or crisco and flour.

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In a separate bowl, make the topping.  Put the flour, sugar, softened butter and cinnamon in a bowl and mash it together with a fork.

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Sprinkle and spread the topping as evenly as possible over the top.  Chunks of topping aren’t the end of the world, but some of your consumers may get jealous of others if you aren’t judicious.

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The recipe card I found lacked a baking temperature or time, so I asked my mom.  Her response: “I don’t know, 375°? My mom cooked everything at 375°, she liked that number.”

So bake the buckle at 375°F for about 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  If you happen to be doing other things at the same time, you won’t be able to ignore the smell of it, so when it smells done, it may very well be.

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Serve it right out of the pan, warm for breakfast or cut into bars for dessert.  Stick in some American flag toothpicks to make it festive.

Enjoy!

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Blueberry Buckle

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups blueberries

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Cream sugar and shortening until smooth, light and fluffy using a hand mixer or paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
  2. Add egg and beat well.
  3. Add milk and beat well.
  4. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Add to wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
  5. Stir in blueberries with wooden spoon.
  6. Spread batter in greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  7. Combine ingredients for topping with a fork in a separate bowl.  Spread evenly over batter.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.