Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Date & Apple Bars

Date & Apple Bars
What a nice way of using up my soon to expire dried dates and Golden Delicious apples. The recipe in the Good Food Magazine was found upon googling for any tray bakes with apples and dates as main protagonists.

A lot of the volume of the ingredients were changed though, as per comments of reviewers. And out came a very pleasant and delish tea/coffee fodder. See, that's why I like recipe websites where there are a lot of honest reviewers because you can then adjust the recipe according to real life experiences of real people in ordinary kitchens. That way trial and error (that I often do) is minimised and ingredients and efforts not wasted.
[Gosh this is sounding like a IT project writeup.]



Date & Apple Bars

185 g  [3/4 cups] butter
140 g  [about 1 medium] cooking apple - cored, peeled, and chopped
140 g  stoned dried dates - chopped
200 g  [1 cup packed] light brown sugar
175 g  [heaping 1-1/3 cups] plain flour
1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
100 g  porridge oats
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F. Grease and line a 18 cm (7-inch) square baking pan.
  2. Put the chopped apples in a saucepan. Add 2-3 Tbsp water and cook until soft and pulpy. This may take between 5-10 minutes and you may have to add a bit more water.
  3. Add in 25 g (2 Tbsp packed) of the brown sugar and the dates. Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or until the apple is smooth and mixed well with the dates. You should have a very thick paste at this point. Remove from heat and cool completely. You may puree the mixture in a food processor or blender.
  4. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan; cool.
  5. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and remaining sugar in a bowl.
  6. Add in the melted butter and mix well.
  7. Press half of the flour mixture in the prepared pan.
  8. Spread the apple-date mixture on top.
  9. Cover with the rest of the flour mixture and press gently.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and firm.
  11. Cool copletely in the baking pan. Remove and cut into bars or squares.


Date & Apple Bars

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Blondies

Blondies
I've never had blondies but have read about it in some American magazines for years. It intrigued me enough to put it in my list of things to bake if I have a chance. One came up recently when a colleague had a leaving do where we usually bring all manner of snacks and sweet things for everyone to partake.

My verdict? It's essentially a cookie dough baked in the shape of a bar or square. The dough have to be light in colour of course, afterall 'blondie' is the name. So nothing really like a major discovery here but it is delicious just the same. I adapted the recipe from the excellent The New Best Recipe (by Cook's Illustrated) cookbook.



Blondies

230 g  [1 3/4 cups] plain flour
1 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  fine salt
185 g  [3/4 cup] unsalted butter - melted and cooled
300 g  [1 1/2 cups packed] light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
200 g  [1 cup] chocolate chips (milk, dark, white, or combination)
1 cup  pecans (or walnuts, macadamia nuts) - chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Grease and line a 13x9-inch baking pan with baking parchment.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the melted butter and brown sugar in another bowl.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time while whisking.
  6. Add vanilla and mix well.
  7. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Do not overmix.
  8. Next, fold in the chocolate chips and nuts and mix well.
  9. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 23-25 minutes.
  10. Cool completely in the pan a wire rack.
  11. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars.