Monday, December 22, 2008

Sugar Cookies

If you're like me and don't have the patience for roll-out sugar cookies, you must try this recipe. These turned out so soft and amazing, not hard like most I've had. The frosting was really good as well. I didn't change a thing about both of these recipes and they were just perfect.

A little messy though. I had food coloring all over the place!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pecan Bars

Here's another Cooks Illustrated recipe that I adore for classic pecan bars. It's super easy just like making pecan pie.

Pecan Bars
Cooks Illustrated

Makes 24.

Toast all of the pecans for the recipe (2 ¼ cups) on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until fragrant (about 8 minutes), stirring once. Assemble the pecan filling while the crust bakes. Once the crust is lightly browned, spread the filling on top and continue baking. Because of their high sugar content, pecan bars store well and taste great up to 5 days after baking. While we liked bourbon the best, dark rum is quite good. For a very boozy tasting bar cookie, add another tablespoon of liquor.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1/4 cup toasted pecans , chopped coarse, toasted
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Pecan Filling
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
1 tablespoon bourbon + 1 tsp or dark rum (for a little more booze, add 2 tbs total)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg , lightly beaten
2 cups toasted pecans , chopped coarse, toasted

1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 8 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Process mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand, about eight 1-second pulses. Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.

3. For the pecan filling: While crust bakes, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.

4. Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Remove bars from pan using foil or parchment handles and transfer to cutting board. Cut into bars that measure 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/4 inches.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best Ever Snickerdoodles

It's been so long since I've posted anything. Where does the time go?
I thought I'd take a quick second out of this insanely busy day to post my FAVORITE Snickerdoodle recipe before Christmas is all said and done.

I made these cookies last month and again the other day. You have got to try them. They are super easy and fast!