Pastries in Paradise

Strawberry Heart Pie

20140206_144819_LLS Valentine’s Day is this week and that means red, pink, and white will be plastered everywhere, chocolates in heart boxes will be flying off the shelves, the women will be expecting red roses from the men of their lives, and the kiddos will be buying Valentine’s to pass at school hoping to get one from their own crushes of the moment. With all of this influence of St. Valentine on our lives it is no surprise that everyone in the food and beverage industry will be coming up with the next best thing to serve for Valentine’s Day.

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Traditionally, my boyfriend and I always have strawberries so I wanted to incorporate strawberries in whatever I decided to make. I remembered an old icebox pie that included strawberries but it also included dreaded jello which I really don’t care to use since it leaves such an artificial taste. I ultimately decided to make the strawberry pie into mini heart shapes since I found a great deal on heart-shaped pans at a local market. If you can’t find a mini heart pan you can always use a larger disposable heart-shaped pan that are often sold in major supermarkets this time of year or just a regular pie pan if you care to make it at a different time of year. Just be sure to double all of the recipe ingredients except for the pie crust if you do decide to make this into a larger size pan.

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The great thing about this Strawberry pie is not only the taste but it is a lot more cost effective than usual recipes involving strawberries. I used frozen strawberries and cooked them in a saucepan until they reduced into a thick, jam-like consistency that increased the quality of flavor but also allowed me to use less fresh strawberries, which are expensive. To thicken the filling so that it is the proper consistency and not too bouncy, unflavored gelatin is mixed with some lemon juice, which not only helps the gelatin thicken further but also perk up the flavor of the strawberries. With a little bit of sugar and salt this pie had supreme berry flavor at a budget friendly price and perfect to share with your honey on the big day.

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Note: This recipe makes 6 individual mini heart pies. If you elect to double the recipe and cook in a larger pie pan the recipe will serve 8 clean slices. To save time I use store-bought pie dough but you can certainly whip up your own if you have the time. Be sure to reduce the filling adequately (about 1 cup) otherwise it will be too lose and won’t set up in the refrigerator. If the fresh strawberries you purchase don’t look ripe enough, you may want to add a bit more sugar to taste. The pie is best served the day it is made but can be stored for up to 24 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Strawberry Heart Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • ½ tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ pound Fresh Strawberries; hulled & sliced thin
  • 1 (9-inch) Pie Shell; baked & cooled
  • Whipped Cream; optional

Formula:

  1. Press the pie crust into the individual heart cups of the pan. If the crust breaks, patch together with a dab of water on the finger and a gentle massaging motion to meld the dough back together. If using a traditional pie plate, unfold pie crust as described on the box or recipe. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  2. Cook the frozen strawberries in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. The berries will begin to release their juice. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jam-like, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in a small bowl. Set aside and let the gelatin soften and thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir the gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into the cooked strawberry mixture and return to a simmer for about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using a spatula or spoon, fold the fresh berries into the cooled filling. Spread evenly into the cooked heart shells or pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Dreamy Coconut Cookie Cups

20140128_162242Today was a rather dreary day and that made it perfect for staying in and baking. After a relatively busy day yesterday full of appointments revolving around my little one and grocery shopping, I was ready for a mellow day. After making breakfast for my little family I took on a recipe called Dream Bars. I decided to reinvent it into a more convenient, portable treat.

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Sure they may not seem like much but they sure do taste delicious. Surprisingly, despite how simplistic they may appear, these little guys can cause some problems. First off, most of the traditional Dream Bar recipes out there were just too sweet, even for my very forgiving sweet tooth. To overcome this, I wanted to overcome the sweetness with nuts. By toasting the nuts until crunchy, it cut through even the toughest of residual sweetness.

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Perhaps my favorite part of this treat is the coconut topping. Of course my favorite things always end up being the most problematic… go figure!!! Shredded coconut on its own would just dry out, burn, and become gross. To keep the shredded coconut moist and delicious I soaked it in cream of coconut, which not only kept it moist but added richness and the perfect concentration of sugar that results in a caramelized topping without being overly sweet.

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To further balance out the sweetness it is key to dial back the sugar in not only the topping but also the crust. By making the crust thicker and resemble a shortbread cookie instead of the typical thin, weak base, the nuttiness is more prevalent and keeps the sugary topping at bay. Speaking of sugar, I’m sure Domino Sugar would be hating on me for discouraging the over usage of its product since back in the day it was the bar version of this recipe that was used as a marketing tool to sell their sugar to housewives. Sorry Domino, please forgive me :)

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I will admit this isn’t my strongest post, but it was never meant to be. It was meant to be an experiment, a way to refresh a recipe created in the Great Depression into something modern for our crazy, hectic world we now reside. It is not glamorous or gourmet. It is homey, practical, and satisfying. Probably why it has stuck around for so many years and had so many back-of-the-box variations. If it made some of the harshest moments of American history a bit more dreamy, than it is okay in my book!!!

Note: Formula yields 18 cookie cups. Cookie cups can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5 days.

Dreamy Cookie Cups

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; cut into pieces & chilled

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup Cream of Coconut
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Pecans; toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crust, process flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into the bottoms of each muffin tin. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Combine the shredded coconut and cream of coconut in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the pecans, then spread over the cooled crusts, dividing evenly among each cookie cup. Dollop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture over the filling and spread into as even a layer as possible.
  4. Bake the cookie cups until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MARIA DEL MAR SACASA

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Lemon Pudding Cake

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Today I was trying to finish my family tree on Ancestors.com to one day give to my daughter and any other future children so that they will know where they came from. While taking a break from my research I decided to bake. Sticking with the theme of the past I chose to make a forgotten recipe I came across a few years ago called Lemon Pudding Cake. This cake is thought to have been a variation off of flour puddings from the late 1700’s like one found in Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook “American Cookery”.

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Although the flour pudding recipe from Ms. Simmons is said to be an abomination to our modern taste buds, I must say this lost recipe is magical on so many levels. Not only does it taste great but one batter manages to create two separate layers… the top being airy like a souffle and the bottom dense and creamy as a custard. Although considered a cake, this dessert is somewhere between a cake and a custard.

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You may be wondering what causes such culinary sorcery.  Well it all starts with the batter, which is rather atypical. It contains very little flour, a ton of egg, and a lot more liquid than usual. It is the large amount of liquid that actually causes the magic. The water in the liquid ingredients actually sinks to the bottom of the dish and takes the batter with it. This leaves the egg whites to float to the top and give the airy souffle-like cake over the custard base.

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Although practically forgotten in our modern era this cake has proven to me to stand the test of time. I’m sure my grandfather would have loved to have tried this since he had such a love for Lemon Meringue Pie and this has all the same tastes of Lemon Meringue Pie but in a cake/custard hybrid.

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Notes: To have the most prevalent lemon flavor, it takes fresh squeezed lemon juice and a bit of lemon extract. Do nut use bottled lemon juice. Be sure to use the cornstarch and not substitute more flour as it firms the custard base without distracting from the lemon flavor. To prevent the top layer of egg whites from deflating, add the sugar slowly and evenly over the egg whites while whipping. This will help stabilize them and result in a high, fluffy golden cake. To keep the custard base from curdling like scrambled eggs while baking, it is essential to put the ramekins in a hot water bath. This keeps the base from cooking too quickly and results in a creamy custard. This formula serves 6 and is best served warm or at room temperature the day it is made.

Lemon Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar; divided
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • ½ cup Fresh Lemon Juice; about 4 Lemons
  • 5 Eggs; separated
  • 1 ¼ cups Whole Milk; room temperature
  • Boiling Water

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 325°. Grease 6 Ramekins and place inside a large roasting pan.
  2. Mix flour and cornstarch together in a bowl. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat ½ cup sugar, butter, and lemon extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the milk and lemon juice, mixing until just combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. As mixer continues to run, slowly and evenly add the remaining sugar until the whites become firm and appear glossy. Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter. Gently fold the remaining whites, one scoop at a time, until well combined.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into each prepared ramekin. Carefully place pan on the lowest oven rack and pour boiling water into the pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the surface becomes golden brown and the edges are set. The center should jiggle slightly if gently shaken, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes. Serve while warm or at room temperature.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM KRIS WIDICAN

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

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With my New Year New Me perspective on diet (for like the fifth year in a row) I am taking this lifestyle change incredibly seriously as compared to years past. I can manage to follow all of the rules of a healthy lifestyle except I struggle with giving up my sweets. There is just something so satisfying about fulfilling that late night craving for something sweet and even better if it is chocolatey. Since I know I am not the only one out there who made some New Year’s fitness resolutions  I thought I would share with you one of my first attempts at taking ordinary recipes and making them “skinnier” to fit my cravings but also not shatter my progress toward my goals.

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I decided to attack carrot cake because it is a quite deceiving dessert. You would think that since carrots are so good for you they would naturally make a little bit healthier of a dessert compared to others but it is quite the opposite. Each slice could run you on average 500 calories. That is devastating to any healthy lifestyle. What is also devastating is the way some recipes try to slim down carrot cake. The most vile of substitutes to traditional ingredients were soy flour, flax-seed meal, and tofu just to name a few.  So how to make carrot cake retain its traditional flavor, moisture, and most especially frosting without adding the pounds.

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There are a few good tricks out there that aren’t as strange as straining prunes and mixing them with oil just to give moisture. First be sure not to overload the batter with too many shredded carrots. You would think this would be beneficial and add flavor but it just weighs the cake down and affects the texture. Not to mention I despise shredding carrots and the less I to shred the better. But without as many shredded carrots in the batter the carrot flavor isn’t as pronounced. This is when having a baby in the house that hates carrots is beneficial. Just one jar of organic baby carrots I had lying around is all the cake needed to have proper flavor and moist texture without adding unnecessary or crazy additives.

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With the cake pretty easy to make skinny the tough job would be the frosting. Everyone knows you can not have a carrot cake without that thick luscious layer of Cream Cheese Frosting. Problem is Cream Cheese frosting is a scale tipper. To make the Cream Cheese frosting resemble traditional full fat flavor without the pounds of fattening butter there is a sneaky secret ingredient… marshmallow creme. Marshmallow creme, like Kraft Jet Puffed or Fluff, gives the proper flavor and texture while eliminating the need for butter and allowing us to lessen the amount of sugar. The best part of this secret ingredient is that you can fool people with the thick and rich frosting it creates and they will never know it contains no additional fat. Pair the secret ingredient with cream cheese that contains 1/3 less fat, such as Neuchâtel and you have a skinny frosting.

Note: Although I recommend using Neuchâtel cream cheese, any cream cheese labeled as being 1/3 less fat will work in this recipe. Be sure when you are looking for the marshmallow creme that you don’t accidentally mistake it for marshmallow sauce which will result in a runny frosting. When shredding the carrots, use a box grater and shred on the large holes side. Alternatively, you could use a food processor with a shredding disk if you have one. When buying a jar of baby carrots, be sure that the ingredients only list carrots and water. With any skinny option, be sure that you consume only in moderation. Making this a recurrent part of your diet will not allow you to lose or maintain weight.

Traditional Carrot Cake contains on average 500 calories, 33 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat.

Skinny Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting contains approximately 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat.

Skinny Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 (4 oz.) jar or pkg. Carrot Baby Food (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ pound (8 oz.) Carrots; peeled & shredded

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. Neufchatel Cream Cheese; softened
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Creme
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. With a stand mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, baby carrots, and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer still running on medium speed, slowly add the oil and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Mix until the batter is nearly smooth. Fold in the shredded carrots by hand with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 24 to 28 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire cooling rack. Remove the parchment from the bottom and flip cake right-side up again to cool completely, at least 1 ½ hours.
  4. To make the frosting, use a stand mixer set to medium-high speed and beat the cream cheese, marshmallow creme, and vanilla together. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat on low-speed until mixture is smooth. Frost the cooled cake and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM KRIS WIDICAN

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

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Ever since I was a kid my go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies was the back of a Nestle Toll House Morsels bag. The recipe is simple and with ingredients most families have on hand. It is what made the Toll House recipe so famous since its debut back in 1939. Yes it has been around that long. But with this type of age there is sure to be followers set out to replace its fame with their own.

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Sure I still love the moist cake-like texture and buttery aftertaste of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie but my adult taste buds sought for more. But is there really more out there for my taste buds to find??? And if there is how hard would it be to obtain??? These questions were all answered with this perfect recipe. This is surely my new favorite… at least for the time being. I kind of get around a lot when it comes to cookies. I’m sure at some point we will divorce like I did with Mr. Toll House but for now we are in it for the long haul. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings though because I have only stayed with two cookies my entire life, those being my mom’s recipe for Sugar Cookies that are made at Christmas and my kiddie bake sale favorite… the Peanut Blossom.

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You may wonder what made this recipe capture my heart for the time being. Truth is, at first even I was highly skeptical. But it turns out the little extra effort goes a long way with chocolate chip cookies. Jacques Torres once stated that the best chocolate chip cookie is based on a dough that was allowed to rest for 24 hours. I honestly can’t wait that long. I can barely wait for them to be cool enough to touch let alone 24 hours before even being baked. This doesn’t mean I couldn’t apply the same principle but on a bit smaller time scale. By toning down Torres’ wait time but still implementing his theory a bit I was able to manifest a chocolate chip cookie that had a moist and chewy inside and crispy, golden edges.

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Now I forgot to mention there was always a beef I had with the Toll House recipe and as a result I always left out this ingredient as a kid because I thought it took away from the star of the show, the chocolate. This ingredient was the nuts. As an adult I can appreciate the complexity nuts bring to the cookie but I still don’t like them in my chocolate chip cookie because lets face it, nuts are not discreet and when you expect to bite into a gooey bit of warm chocolate and are abruptly hit with a crunch it just throws off my moment of chocolate ecstasy. So I tried to think of a way to bring the flavor of the nuts into the cookie without the big hunks of crunch that will distract me. That is when I stumbled on my lone vial of Vanilla-Nut extract I used all but once and was left forgotten in the back of the pantry. This was clearly the answer to my lifelong dilemma.

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If that wasn’t enough perfection I made sure to brown the butter rather than just cream it like Toll House. This resulted in not only added chewiness but also a rich toffee flavor that balanced the overall sweetness. With the oven set higher than normal and only one tray in at a time, the cookies cooked more evenly and had golden crispy edges with tender centers that even my inner kid couldn’t deny.

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Note: If possible, do not use a non-stick skillet to brown the butter as it makes it very hard to judge when the butter is actually browned and you can easily burn it if not careful. Also be sure not to use old, hardened brown sugar because it will have a very negative effect on the texture of the cookies, essentially making them extremely dry. I prefer Ghiradelli chocolate chips but any brand will work. If you do not have dark brown sugar on hand you can substitute light brown sugar but keep in mind the toffee flavor will not be as pronounced.

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Better Than Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Ingredients:

  • 8.75 ounces (1 ¾ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 14 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 3.5 ounces (½ cup) Granulated Sugar
  • 5.25 ounces (¾ cup) Dark Brown Sugar; packed (if using measuring cup)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 ¼ cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat 10 tbsp. of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling the pan constantly or using a rubber spatula to stir until the butter is dark golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned butter with a rubber spatula to a large heatproof bowl. Add in the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter and allow to melt completely.
  4. Add the granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, salt, and vanilla-nut extract to the bowl of butter and whisk until incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until smooth and no sugar lumps remain. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes and then whisk again for about 30 seconds. Repeat this process 2 more times until the mixture becomes thick, smooth, and glossy. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute chocolate and ensure no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Use a cookie scoop or divide the dough into 16 portions of approximately 3 tbsp. each. Arrange each ball of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies become golden brown and puffy. Edges should be golden and set but the centers remain soft, approximately 10 to 14 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies. Yields approximately 16 cookies.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM CHARLES KELSEY

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Pecan Bars

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Christmas is just one week away and I have yet to finish my Christmas shopping. Surprise Surprise. I am however a lot closer to being finished than previous years. That is either because I have been more organized this year or because I less to spend on presents and therefore I am not buying as much and I finish quicker. I choose to look at it positively.

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This will be the first Christmas for my daughter and I am quite excited. She will be 11 months old on Christmas Eve and she has been “helping” me in the kitchen as she walks around yelling and giggling trying to pull anything and everything out of the refrigerator as it is open. I can’t help but laugh.

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Today I will share with you my Pecan Bars. If you didn’t get a chance to eat Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving or are just an addict to anything Pecan Pie related than these are surely for you. They are very simple to make and can be doubled with ease to create larger quantities for big families. They have a cookie base similar to a shortbread in taste and texture which is a perfect complement to the gooey sweet Pecan Pie reminiscent topping. The shortbread soaks up the caramel juices of the topping and isn’t too showy itself that it allows the pecan topping to shine in all its delicious glory.

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A few little pointers for cookie number 2 in this years line up: Be sure to not skip the step of foiling the pan. Otherwise you will have a disastrous sticky mess on your hands and be very disappointed. Also be careful as you are adding the cream into the caramel mixture because it can bubble rather vigorously and we don’t want any burns just before Christmas!!!!

 

Pecan Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • 20 tbsp. (2½ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ½ cups Pecans; Toasted & Chopped

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Be sure to leave excess hanging around the edge to have an easy removal later. Grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the cookie crust, beat 6 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer set to medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix until combined. Don’t overmix. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Dock the dough with a fork by making several piercings in the dough like you would to a baked potato before microwaving. Bake until the crust becomes light golden in color, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  3. To prepare the caramel filling, melt the remaining butter in  a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream and cook for about 3o seconds. Off heat gently stir in the pecans.
  4. Pour the caramel mixture over the cookie crust. Bake until bubbly and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Using the excess foil overhang, gently lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM KAREN KUHN

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

 

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

DSC_0373Christmas is quickly approaching and you know what that means… Cookie season!!! Holiday dessert tables always have cookies and are adorned year after year with the traditional family favorites. These favorites typically include sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and anything peppermint infused. I love all of these but sometimes you just want something fresh and new to try. That is why each year alongside the traditional cookies, I always make sure that I add one new cookie to the platter that everyone can try to enjoy alongside the usual favorites.

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It is from that tradition that I created my annual dedication to diverse holiday cookie options in the month of December. For the next few weeks you will be seeing many posts on cookies that I find can be a great addition to any holiday dessert table. I started this year with Cherry Cheesecake cookies. These cookies have been sweeping the social media airwaves as of late but I actually came across this cookie back in 2010 and fell in love. Cherry cheesecake was always a favorite of mine as a kid and melding those flavors into the portable ease of a cookie is heavenly.

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I like to make the cookie dough ahead of time not only to save precious time for baking other things but also because these cookies do not have a very long lifespan after they have been baked. It is best to make them the day they are going to be devoured because the cream cheese filling causes them to spoil at an accelerated rate. Also the extended chilling time will make it much easier to shape and roll the dough balls in the graham cracker crumbs.

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The formula I use makes about 2 dozen cookies and is enough for my family at the holidays, but if you have a larger family you can certainly double the recipe. Once the cookies have been baked be sure to store them in an airtight container for no more than 2 days.

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Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese; softened
  • 10 tbsp. (1 ¼ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (20 oz.) can Cherry Pie Filling

Formula:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and sugar together on medium-high speed until the texture becomes smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix the dough together until it is incorporated. Do not overmix. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Place the cherry pie filling in a shallow dish. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a tablespoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  3. Use a small spoon to place 3 cherries in the indented center of each cookie. Be sure to strain off as much of the filling/juice to ensure the cherries do not end up swimming in a cherry bath and creating a soggy-centered cookie. Bake the cookies until golden around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.
  4. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM STEPHANIE MATTHEWS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

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