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Entries in recipes (566)

Tuesday
Mar262013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs for Peanut Butter and Co.

Easter Candy has come a long way. When I was young, it seemed as if it was a matter of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and your choice of creme eggs or mini eggs in terms of treats. Then…along came the peanut butter egg. A delectable nugget of sweetened peanut butter coated in rich chocolate, it rocked my Easter basket and my world. Here’s a homemade version of a store-bought treat, made yet awesomer by incorporating peanut butter in the filling and the topping.

A word of advice? If you’re creating these confections for a crowd, please make a double batch. They’re seriously that simple, that addictive, and that good.

For the recipe, visit Peanut Butter and Company!

Monday
Mar252013

Cadbury Creme Scotch Eggs

Let's take a moment to discuss what constitutes a "proper" Scotch Egg. This decidedly non heart-healthy delicacy starts with a hard-boiled egg, which is then wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried.

But around Easter-time, I prefer to make mine sweet rather than savory, with Cadbury Creme Eggs.

The Cadbury Creme Scotch Egg is coated with a thick cocoa-kissed batter, then coated in cookie crumbs and deep-fried. When eaten warm, the taste calls to mind that of a deep-fried candy bars that one can find at state fairs. Though in my opinion, these have slightly more complex flavor thanks to the cocoa in the batter and the vanilla cookie crumbs. Speaking of the crumbs, they also give the treat a pleasing crunch, which acts as a nice texture contrast to the cakey batter and soft, gooey chocolate and sugar-filled interior.

It's the perfect dessert counterpart to the classic Scotch Egg: similar visually, and every bit as decadent. Happy Easter indeed.

For the full entry, visit Serious Eats! And possibly also of interest: Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict (from my book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life), Cadbury Creme Egg Salad Sandwiches, Cadbury Creme Egg Foo Young, and Cadbury Creme Deviled Eggs.

Sunday
Mar242013

CakeSpy's Favorite Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes by Mama Cakespy

Dear SpyReaders,

A gift, from me to you. This is a very basic American style buttercream. It's simple--I won't say it's impossible to mess up, but you'd really have to try hard to do so with this recipe. I know this recipe has been posted as part of several cake recipes, but really, I'd like to keep it as a separate recipe so it can be easily referred to and shared as a basic building block of deliciousness. 

Keep this one on hand, and use whenever necessary. 

Love, CakeSpy

CakeSpy's Favorite Buttercream Frosting (Printable version here)

For use on birthday cakes, cakes for any other day of the year, sugar cookies, or quite tasty by the spoonful, too. This will frost about 24 cupcakes or one 2-layer 8 or 9-inch cake. Technically, you can tint it any color (or not tint it at all), but I firmly believe that pink tastes best. This frosting will also take well to different flavorings--peppermint extract or almond extract, for instance, could be substituted for the vanilla.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • several drops of food coloring (I favor red, for pink frosting)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light, about 3 minutes on medium speed. 
  2. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. 
  3. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the frosting is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not add all of the sugar.
  5. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix thoroughly til it's a desired shade of pink. Keep at room temperature til you frost, ok? It will set if you chill it.
Friday
Mar222013

Easter Baking Experiment: Chick-A-Dee Sugar Cookie Bars

Yum

While recently wandering aimlessly in the candy aisle in the drug store, I noticed an item that was on extreme sale: the Palmer Chick-a-Dee chocolate crispie candy. Like seriously--they were 39 cents each or something.

Needless to say, I bought a bushel of these sweet chicks, and maybe one or two more items.

Easter Candy

On the way home, I pondered how they might taste all melted on top of a layer of sugar cookie bars. Would the faces melt off of the chicks? Would it all melt into a layer of chocolatey goo on top? Either way, it sounded tasty, so I set myself to this delicious task.

Ingredients

To hasten the process, I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. I mixed it according to the instructions, adding a stick of butter and an egg to the mix, and stirring it until it was a soft, sticky dough.

Then I pressed it into a well greased pie plate (because I couldn't find a square pan). 

And then on top of that, I placed several of the Chick-A-Dee candies. And, for fun and visual appeal, I dotted the negative space areas (can you tell I went to art school?) with Robin's Egg candies. Why not?

Then I put it in the oven. Goodnight, sweet chicks.

Chick A Dee Sugar Cookie Bars

Now, to bake the cookies according to the package instructions, you bake them 5-7 minutes. But since I was baking bars, I set the timer for 12 minutes. At 12 minutes here's what I saw:

Cookie bars

So I kept 'em in for 20 minutes or so. At that point I felt confident that they'd baked through, and the edges were golden. 

Chick A Dee Sugar Cookie Bars

Weirdly, the chocolate candies never actually...melted. They just kind of got melt-y. I guess that's not so different from what happens to chocolate chips while baking in cookies. But still--the baking process altered them just enough to be sort of strange and pockmarked looking. 

But they were still highly delicious. Those little crispies tasted great against the melty chocolate and sugar cookie mixture. I went ahead and ate it with a spoon because let's be honest, this wasn't what I'd call a high-class baking experiment. 

Eating it

And oh, how satisfying it was. 

Hoppy Easter, friends. If you want to do this at home, it's easy: just prepare a batch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix per the instructions on the bag, press it into a greased pan, top with the chocolate Easter candies of your choice, and bake at 375 til nice and toasty around the edges and set in the middle (20 minutes or so). 

Enjoy!

Thursday
Mar212013

Rolling in the Dough: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes Recipe

Harvard Sweet Boutique

You know what I love? A good cupcake. But you know what reliably makes a cupcake better, every single time? Cookie dough, of course. 

This is a fact that has been proven time and time again with cupcakes. And I must say, Harvard Sweet Boutique offers a particularly pleasant version of this always-delicious combo. In case you're not familiar with them, Harvard Sweet Boutique is (per their website) "a gourmet baking company that specializes in handmade and decadent cookies, brownies and toffee made with the finest ingredients, including rich European chocolate, pure double-strength vanilla extracts, premium grade nuts and fresh Grade A butter." They also offer gluten-free, as well as low-carb treats (I guess frosting is low-carb, right?). Oh, and they also have a Sweet-of-the-Month Club. I love that!

Harvard Sweet Boutique

The chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake is neither gluten-free nor low-carb, but it is highly delicious. It's not something they sell on their site, but it's something you could make with their cookies fo' sho'! If it makes you curious about Harvard Sweet Boutique, check 'em out here.

 Chocolate cupcakes, filled with chocolate chip cookie dough (minus the eggs!), topped with vanilla buttercream and a homemade chocolate chip cookie!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes (Printable version here!)

(from Sue George, owner of Harvard Sweet Boutique)

Yields: 13 cupcakes

 Components:

-          Chocolate Cupcakes

-          Vanilla Buttercream       

-          Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling

-          Chocolate Chip Cookies (use your favorite recipe)

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup European cocoa powder

1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 cup boiling water

1/3 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Add cocoa powder and espresso powder to boiling water and leave to cool
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with a stationary mixer or wooden spoon
  4. Add eggs, dry ingredients, and cocoa power/water mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine
  5. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 of the way full and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 to 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  6. Cool completely on cooling rack

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened

1 lb. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and cream until smooth

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling

Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter (softened and cut into cubes)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vanilla buttercream (see recipe above) or more as needed 

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, softened and cubed butter, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a stationary mixer and mix until dough forms
  2. Add chocolate chips and buttercream to the dough and combine just until mixture holds together 

 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes Assembly

Core each cupcake by scooping out about one tablespoon of the cupcake using a paring knife, or a cupcake corer. Put the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling into a pastry bag and cut 1/2-inch off the tip. Fill each cupcake with approximately 1 tablespoon of filling.

Fill another pastry bag with the Vanilla Buttercream and attach a decorating tip of your choice (I recommend the star tip) and pipe a generous amount of icing on top of the cupcake. 

Garnish the cupcakes with a wedge of your favorite homemade chocolate chip cookie and enjoy! 

Tuesday
Mar192013

2 Ingredient Chocolate Banana Pudding Recipe

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Two ingredients, suckah! Well, OK, three if you include the optional garnish.

But wait. Let me back up and explain. 

If I were to make a list of "Highly Likely Places to Discover a Tasty Dessert", wellness blogs would probably not make the list. Nothing against wellness. But you know, those people who are dedicated to wellness frequently are not dedicated dessert-ers. 

Chocolate Banana Pudding

But I'll tell the truth, when I saw a recipe for Chocolate Banana Pudding on the Pacific Science Center's Wellbody Blog, I was curious. Especially since they advertised it as having 2 ingredients, and coming together in less than 2 minutes. Well, that sounded easy enough.

Chocolate Banana Pudding

So, I grabbed a banana and put it in a blender with some cocoa powder I received as a sample (and P.S., I know my nails look terrible!). Chocolate Banana Pudding

It's OK if the picture makes you titter. I blended til nice and combined and smooth. I put it in a cup. I added a few walnuts on top. And wouldn't you know...this stuff was really quite tasty. So, wellness blog, kudos! I'm happy to spread the word about this delicious and simple dessert which just so happens to be vegan and gluten-free.

Chocolate Banana Pudding

But don't be scared off by that, non vegans and gluten-lovers. This is tasty stuff. And you could always add ice cream if it seems too virtuous. 

2 Ingredient Banana Chocolate Pudding

  • 1 banana (ripe)
  • 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup (whatever amount suits your taste) unsweetened cocoa powder, minimally processed

Mash the ingredients together until smooth. You can do this by hand, or (quicker) in a blender or food processor. If desired, garnish with nuts, fruit, or chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately.

Monday
Mar182013

Unusual Sweet from Wisconsin: Wild Rice Dessert Topping

Wild Rice Dessert Topping

Recently, I found myself poring over the fantastic volume Hungry for Wisconsin: A Tasty Guide for Travelers. The reason why I was looking through this book is this: I was seeking out unusual regional specialties or bakeries that I simply needed to visit. What can I say? I love armchair food travel. 

Wild Rice Dessert Topping

One thing caught my eye right away, as in on page 2: a story about wild rice in Wisconsin. As it turns out, wild rice is a pretty big deal in what many would consider the Dairy State. It grows "freely in cool, northern rivers, shallow lakes, and other wetlands", and commands a high price, because the harvest is done by hand. This love and care gives it a unique, nutty flavor that Uncle Ben could only dream of attaining. 

For generations, the Native Americans of the area have harvested rice in a ritual that brings together the whole family. Unfortunately, this tradition seems to have been dying in recent years. 

But at least a few brave Wild Rice soldiers want to bring back the tradition. And as part of their dedication to bringing back the wild rice harvest, the fine people of Bear Clan Wild Rice do various events to raise awareness.

Wild Rice dessert Topping

At these events, they hand out recipes for wild rice, including this unusual one, which is in the book and caught my attention right away: Wild Rice Dessert Topping. At first it struck me as an odd recipe, but when I thought about it further, it came to me sort of like this: I like rice. I like dessert. I think rice pudding is great, but why should it have all the fun?

And so I gave it a try. If you have wild rice on hand, the recipe is a snap. Getting used to the flavor might involve a learning curve--it's definitely different. Earthy, and nutty, sort of granola-esque but with that distinct rice flavor, it works best with fairly neutral flavored desserts--I tried it on top of vanilla ice cream. It's a fascinating flavor, and once I got past the "oh! weird!" aspect of it, I found it highly enjoyable.

Wild Rice Dessert Topping (Printable recipe here!)

  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (original recipe suggests dried cranberries or raisins)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (original recipe calls for pecans)

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Wild Rice Dessert Topping

Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, so that it can all meld together. Wild Rice Dessert Topping Wild Rice Dessert Topping

Spoon the mixture over ice cream, custard, or pudding directly before serving.

Wild Rice Dessert Topping

Tuesday
Mar052013

A Historical Look at the Mexican Wedding Cake Cookie

Mexican wedding cakes

Ah, Mexican Wedding Cakes: one of my favorite cakes that is not a cake at all, but a cookie!

And oh, what a cookie. These rich cookies rolled in confectioners' sugar to resemble sweet little snowballs crumble in your mouth in the most delightful way: basically butter and (usually) finely chopped nuts held together by flour and sugar, they begin to shatter and disintegrate the moment they hit your tongue. You may know them as Mexican Wedding Cakes. Or you might know them, with slight variations, under another name: Snowballs, Moldy Mice, Bullets, Russian Teacakes, Melting Moments, Mandulás kifli, Polvorones, Sand Tarts, Sandies, Butterballs, Almond Crescents, Finska kakor, Napoleon Hats (whew!). Mexican wedding cakes

These cookies hail from as many countries as they have names: talk about a universal cookie.

Mexican wedding cakes

Considering the many variations, is it possible to connect the cookie to a particular place? Well, you might first look back to sugar-rich medieval Arab cuisine. Sweetmeats, candies, and confections containing nuts (usually almonds) and spices were served at special occasions. Next, you spread it to Europe, a sweet tradition quickly adopted by Moors and taken to Spain. From then on it’s like playing Telephone: the concept of the cookie traveled far and wide, with each region taking on their own variations based on ingredients available at the time. This sweet cookie concept was then introduced to the New World by early explorers. Fast forward, and you've got a cookie tradition that has persisted due to the cookie's relative ease in preparation and simple but ultimately satisfying tastiness. 

Mexican wedding cakes In the 1950s, they started to appear in American cookbooks as Mexican Wedding Cakes, but it seems that it's really just a new name for an old cookie. They're nearly identical to Russian Teacakes, which were a popular dish at noble Russian tea ceremonies in the 1800s. A popular book in Russia from this era, entitled A Gift to Young Housewives, contains several morsels that are constructed similarly; it’s not hard to see how these treats came to be called Russian teacakes. So what's with the name's cultural makeover? I'm wondering if perhaps the name change was a Freedom Fries-esque name change in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Soviet Union and the United States were at odds with one another? It does seem to have coincided with a period during which TexMex cuisine made its entry into American culture in a big way.

But no matter what you'd like to call them, one thing remains true across cultures: these simple cookies are easy to make, and absolutely delightful to eat. Mexican wedding cakes

Mexican Wedding Cakes (Printable version here!)

Makes about 2 dozen 1-inch cookies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Confectioners' sugar, for rolling

 Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour gradually, beating well after each addition; pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the nuts and vanilla; beat just until evenly mixed in.
  5. Shape the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on the cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the position of the pans halfway through baking; the cookies are finished when they are lightly browned on the bottom and have a dull finish on top.
  7. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. While the cookies are still warm, gently roll them in a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Tap off the excess, and allow them to cool completely. When cool, roll them in the confectioners' sugar a second time before serving; the first coat tends to slightly melt into the cookie, and the second coat will ensure a pretty, snowy appearance.
  8. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to four days.
Wednesday
Feb272013

Teatime Tastiness: Lady Baltimore Cake Story and Recipe

Lady Baltimore cake

Here’s a cake that was built for genteel tea parties: a large layer cake filled with chopped nuts and dried fruits and topped with a dramatic (but ever ladylike) billow of boiled frosting. But while one might suppose that this distinguished cake was named after Lady Baltimore, that's not quite how the story went. Like many cakes, its origins are disputed--but like any teatime gossip, this makes the story so much more fun to delve into. A very helpful resource in my delving was The Old Foodie, by the way. Oh, and if you like tales like this, you should probably pre-order my new book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts.

Lady Baltimore Cake

Let's start with the tales that are likely false. First: the Lady Baltimore connection. Highly unlikely that the cake dates back to her day: the Lady, whose Irish husband inherited Maryland in the mid-seventeenth century, never even lived in America, and in any case baking powder leavening agents were not invented until well into the nineteenth century – making a cake of this sort not very likely to have been invented as a casual teatime treat during her day. The Big Fella of American Cookery, James Beard, says of Lady Baltimore that it is “said to have originated in Maryland, this one one of the first fine-textured cakes mentioned in old cookery books. It required a delicate touch in mixing and exact measurements--this, in the days of no standard measuring cups, teaspoons, or tablespoons.” Second: the Dolley Madison connection. Some say that the cake rose in popularity due to the fact that it was similar to a cake enjoyed by Dolley Madison, the fourth First Lady but this story fails to explain why it is not then called Dolly Madison cake. Also, she's already got an ice cream named after her—isn't that enough?

And now, the favored explanations for the cake—likely, the true story is a combination of the two. First: It originated in Charleston at the end of the nineteenth century, at “The Lady Baltimore Tearooms”, and was a variation of another popular cake.

Lady Baltimore Cake

Second: novelist Owen Wister is the one who made this cake famous--while writing his 1906 romance, Lady Baltimore, set in a fictional city based on Charleston, he was extremely taken with the city and a cake he ate there. In fictional form, it is described as being not unlike a wedding cake, and the suggestive passage is as follows:

"I should like a slice, if you please, of Lady Baltimore," I said with extreme formality. I thought she was going to burst; but after an interesting second she replied, "Certainly," in her fit Regular Exchange tone; only, I thought it trembled a little.

I returned to the table and she brought me the cake, and I had my first felicitous meeting with Lady Baltimore. Oh, my goodness! Did you ever taste it? It's all soft, and it's in layers, and it has nuts--but I can't write any more about it; my mouth waters too much.

Upon reacting in a strongly favorable way, the narrator realizes that the girl he’d been speaking to was the cake-maker. He finds that it has broken the ice, and their sweet flirtation continues. Some say that it is an instance of art imitating life: could it be possible that Wister had been served some delicious cake by an appealing Southern belle, and was inspired to immortalize the experience?

Supporting this is the fact that there seems to be no mention anywhere of a cake called “Lady Baltimore” until the first known publication of the recipe in 1906. Suddenly there was a flood of newspaper articles mentioning the cake; one writer in 1907 only agreeing to part with the recipe ‘with the sanction of Owen Wister’. Most likely? The cake preceded Wister's novel, but was renamed toute-suite after the novel's popularity became evident. Perhaps some entrepreneurial cake-shop owner took note after reading the book and tweaked the recipe to live up to the novel. Perhaps it was even the ladies at the Lady Baltimore Tea Rooms in Charleston.

Lady Baltimore, in cake form, has a male companion: the Lord Baltimore Cake. This yellow cake variation was created as a clever way to use up all of the egg yolks discarded while making the Lady version of the cake, yielding a rich, decadent counterpart.

Lady Baltimore Cake

Delicate and fine-crumbed, this cake is nicely paired with the rich fillings and toppings which keep it from being too light and angel food-like. Precision with the cake is necessary to get the “lift” from the egg whites, but it's worth the effort: it makes for sweet, easy eating, and the cake's history will make for some fascinating conversation.

Lady Baltimore Cake (printable recipe here!)
16 servings

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Boiled frosting (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour the bottoms and sides of three 8-or 9-inch round cake pans; line with rounds of parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2-3 additions, alternately with the milk, and stir the batter until it is just combined.
  5. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.
  6. Stir a portion of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the mixture; follow by gently folding in the remaining whites.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the batter in the pans.
  8. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake layers cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes, turn them out onto the racks, and let them cool completely. If the cakes have formed a dome on top, slice using a serrated knife to level. 

Boiled frosting

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs plus sliced dried figs for garnish
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted lightly and chopped fine, plus pecan halves for garnish
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and the water, stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, continue stirring, more frequently, until the sugar is dissolved; boil the syrup until it registers 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  3. With the mixer running add the hot syrup to the egg whites, in a slow, steady stream.
  4. Add the vanilla, beating the icing until it is smooth and cool.
  5. Transfer two cups of the frosting to a bowl. With the remaining portion of frosting, fold in the chopped figs, pecans, and raisins.
  6. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate, flat (un-cut) side up. Spread it with half of the fruit and nut-filled frosting, keeping a ½ inch margin around the edges—the weight of the next layer will spread the filling to the edges. Place another cake layer on top of the frosting, once again so that the flat side faces up. Spread the remaining fruit and nut-filled frosting on top of this layer, once again leaving a margin. Place the third cake layer on top, flat side up. Use the reserved plain frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with any remaining fruit or nuts.
Thursday
Feb142013

Salted Butterscotch Cashew Shortbread Bars 4 Eva

Salted butterscotch cashew shortbread bars

Salted. Butterscotch. Cashew. Shortbread Bars. It's necessary to pause while considering the sum of these awesome parts, which heighten the experience of each to a sort of baked goods nirvana state.

It's a recipe that I came up with for the Walkers Shortbread challenge, but for the event, I honed and perfected it, and here is what I consider the absolute ideal version of the recipe. 

Salted butterscotch cashew shortbread bars

I'll tell you the truth: I didn't win the competition with these. But I think that I win at LIFE, because I have the ability to make this recipe whenever I want! Me and my Salted butterscotch cashew shortbread bars Plus, when it came to the end of the event, there were only a few left, so I think the crowd liked 'em! 

Salted butterscotch cashew shortbread bars

I should mention that it was a great event, btw. I got to meet Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, who brought a killer cheesecake (and who like me is a proud pug parent): Walkers shortbread event

Serena of Big Apple Nosh, who brought these ridiculous Hazelnut Banoffee Tartlets: Walkers shortbread event

and Emily of Nomnivorous, who brought the most beautiful boozy pie I've ever seen; I got to hang out with Alejandra Ramos and a bunch of other cool dudettes (and a couple of dudes).

Oh oh oh! Here is the recipe. I should note that you'll see that the pan I used is bigger--I doubled the recipe and it worked fine.

Oh, and--you're so very welcome.

Salted butterscotch cashew shortbread bars

Printable Recipe here!

Salted Butterscotch Cashew Shortbread Bars
Makes 1 big serving (kidding. sort of)

  • 2 boxes Pure Butter Shortbread
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 to 11 ounces) butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I suggest cashews or pecans)
  • coarse sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine the cookies and melted butter in a food processor or blender with a pulse mode. Press it into the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges. Remove from the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, butter, cream, and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth.
  4. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with the nuts; press down lightly. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cut into bars when totally cool. 
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