Mango-Key Lime Bars

I’m not a huge mango fan unless it’s in a margarita or lassi, but these bars are beyond. I love an easy cookie bar that comes together quickly. I used the food processor to make both the crust and the filling. My processor lives on my counter top and I admit I use it at least once a week for something. I had a taste for something sweet but fresh and summer like. Served cold right out of the fridge on a hot day, these are divine. You could easily drizzle some melted white candy melts or white chocolate over the top of these instead of the confectioners sugar if you prefer.

Mango-Key Lime Bars

 

Crust:

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 C confectioners sugar

zest of one lemon

pinch of salt

1 C all purpose flour

 

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan. In a food processor place the butter, sugars, zest, and salt and pulse to combine. Add in the flour and pulse just to combine. Remove from work bowl and combine any areas of flour with a spatula to make a cohesive dough. Place dough in pane and press with your fingers into an even layer; extending up the sides slightly; about 1/2 cm. Chill the crust for 30 mins.

Bake the crust 16-18 mins until the edges are starting to turn light brown.

 

Mango Filling

2 ripe mangoes peeled, diced and pureéd*

  • Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve in order to yield 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp mango juice (it will be thick).

2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.  key lime juice (I use Nellie and Joes bottled juice)

1/2 tsp. key lime zest or lemon (I have a lemon tree so I used lemon)

5 large egg yolks

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

pinch of salt

In a large bowl whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Pour over the baked crust and bake until center is set about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Remove entire slab by lifting the parchment out of the pan, peel away the paper and cut into desired shape. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.  Serve chilled or slightly chill. Keep chilled and covered with plastic wrap any remaining bars until ready to serve.

 


Fudgy Brownies with Rolo’s

 

If I crave something sweet it usually involves caramel, or chocolate and caramel. Admittedly I use have a jar of homemade caramel in my fridge. I know….It can be a problem, but there is nothing better than stirring it into hot coffee. I have tried brownie recipes before that involve a layer of caramel but it always seems to disappear and I had an idea of folding these delicious little nuggets into the batter; more of an experiment than anything to see if they would totally melt or not. These are the things that keep me up at night; recipe ideas that swirl in my head; will a Rolo candy melt into brownies or not. Weirdness factor 10 out of 10 I’m aware. But this is when I usually get my best ideas; laying in bed at night pondering life’s mysteries.

So you know I HAD to try it out. Oh my….they retain their shape and that little bit of chewy goodness is divine when married with a fudgy brownie. This recipe is great if you like fudgy brownies; feel free to experiment and fold in other things like toasted walnuts or dried cherries if you want to play around and eliminate the Rolo candies. It’s a great base recipe if you need brownies for a crowd. If you want an 8×8 pan instead; just cut the recipe in half.

Rolo Fudgy Brownies

1 Cup all purpose- flour

1/2 Cup Dutch process cocoa powder [I used Hershey’s extra dark]

1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 3/4 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup dark brown sugar, packed

6 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 Cup unsalted butter

8 oz. 60 %  bittersweet chocolate

2 oz. milk chocolate

2 Tbsp. sunflower, grapeseed, or vegetable  oil

10 oz. unwrapped Rolo candies, divided

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F degrees.
  2. Save the butter wrappers and use to grease all sides and bottom of 9×13 inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper across the width of the pan leaving at least 2 inches of overhang.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt, set aside.
  4. In a heat proof bowl place the chocolate(s), butter and oil and place over a pot of simmering water and stir until melted, then remove from the heat while you proceed  with the next steps.
  5. In a stand mixer bowl place the eggs and the sugars; being careful to hand sift through the brown sugar to catch and smash any lumps of brown sugar. Using the paddle attachment, on high mix the eggs and sugars until the mixture has become creamy looking; about 3-5 minutes.  Add in the vanilla. Stop the mixer and pour in the melted chocolate/butter-oil mixture.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in 5 oz. (half of your Rolo candies).
  7.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth out so batter is level. Set the timer for 13 minutes and bake the brownies. While the brownies are baking take the other half of the reserved Rolo candies and cut half of them in half; (cutting from the top down); keeping the other 2.5 oz. whole.
  8.  After 13 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle over the reserved 5 oz. of  Rolo candies; randomly scattering over the top so you have both the full and half cut candies on top of the partially baked brownies. Immediately return the brownies to the oven and continue to bake about 25 minutes more; but checking them after 20 minutes to ensure they don’t overbake. Test with a wooden skewer and remove when you have moist crumbs.
  9.  Allow the pan of brownies to cool completely over a wire rack. Once cooled; cut into squares.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Moist and Fudgy (sugar free/gluten free) Keto Brownies

Hey everyone. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the Keto diet, or know someone personally who is following that way of eating.  Myself, I have been on it for about 50 days now and loving how I’ve been able to incorporate it into my life rather easily and still lose weight. One of the things I enjoy most about being a baker is the creative process of recipe development; it’s one of the reasons why I went to pastry school so that I could learn the science behind what works in a recipe. There are so many options now for sugar substitutes than say ten years ago. Sure, I still love to make regular desserts-that has not changed and it will never change. This is just another role play in my arsenal of becoming a better baker and what I can offer people.

I was intrigued with the whole sugar substitute thing and ways I could incorporate it into a brownie recipe as the Keto diet has become all the rage. This is my first foray into recipe development with replacing both sugar and flour. I’m no stranger to almond flour as a replacement for wheat flour as I’ve used it many times before. I was pretty pleased with the outcome of this brownie recipe. They came out fudgy and full of flavor and no weird aftertaste.

If you’re following a Keto diet, I hope you give these a try. There is a baking company called (Lillys click here) that makes chocolate chips and bars (my fave is the milk chocolate salted almond)  that use Stevia, and you would be amazed at how they taste! You cannot even tell a difference in the taste- there is no weird aftertaste at all!! They definitely cure a chocolate craving for sure!

Fudgy Keto Brownies 

1 stick (1/2 Cup) unsalted butter, melted

1/3 Cup Lily’s brand chocolate chips

4 oz. softened cream cheese

3/4 Cup Lakanto “classic” monkfruit sugar substitute* (see below)

2 large whole eggs, + 1 yolk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 Cup almond flour

2 Tbsp. Hersheys (or another brand of natural) cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. black cocoa powder  (I use King Arthur brand)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 bar Lily’s milk chocolate caramelized and salted, coarsely chopped

*Note: Since my original post I’ve updated another version of these; I now use 1/4 Golden Lakanto sweetener, 2/4 Classic Lakanto granulated sweetener, and in place of vanilla I use 2 tsp. of bourbon. To the batter I add in 2/3 Cup milk chocolate Lily’s chips instead of the chopped caramelized salted Lilys bar. When I first  created my recipe the milk chocolate chips were not out yet. Enjoy~ 

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Prepare an 8×8 inch pan by spraying with nonstick spray and lining one side with a parchment sling.

In a large bowl microwave the butter until melted. Toss in the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add in the softened cream cheese and stir to combine. Add in the sugar substitute and whisk to combine-note it will not melt like regular sugar and appear grainy (this is normal). Add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine, then stir in the vanilla.

Place a sifter over the bowl and add in the dry ingredients, then whisk gently to combine. Fold in the chopped “milk chocolate caramelized and salted Lily’s bar”.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the batter with an offset spatula.  Bake until a few moist crumbs appear once pierced with a toothpick, and the top no longer appears wet; about 25-27 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely over a wire rack in the pan, then pull out the entire slab using the sling and cut into squares.


Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Happy Valentines Day.  Do you know where your sweet tooth is? That’s right- it’s still in the same place you left it, no-not at the dentist’s office-but right in the back of your mouth. Your mouth is calling for something red and sweet. It’s okay, you are allowed to indulge today-no need to feel guilty. Your welcome.

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies

brownie recipe: from thatskinnychickcanbake

 

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 oz. liquid red food coloring (such as McCormick)

2 tsp. vanilla, divided

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

1  1/2 C sugar

2 lg. eggs

1  1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

 

Line both sides of  an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with tinfoil  and spray lightly with non stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, red food coloring and 1 tsp. of the vanilla to form a smooth paste, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape bowl.  Add the remaining one tsp. of vanilla to combine. Add in the cocoa powder paste mixture and beat gently to combine. Stir in the flour and salt to combine. Smooth batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let brownies cool completely before icing.

 

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

1  1/2 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Ghiradelli white chocolate) (do NOT use white chocolate chips)

 

Chop the white chocolate very fine and microwave on 50 % power to melt chocolate-stopping frequently to stir. Allow to cool. Beat the cream cheese and butter in bowl of stand mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla and beat to combine. Add in the sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth. Add in the cooled white chocolate and beat until smooth. Spread the icing over the cooled brownies (decorate with heart sprinkles if desired) and chill entire pan until icing becomes firm-this makes cutting the brownies easier.

Run a thin knife or offset spatula around the perimeter of the brownies. lift the entire slab of brownies out of the pan and cut into desired shapes.

 


Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars 4

Cookie bars are probably my favorite type of cookie. They are easy, quick to whip up and once you prepare them to bake, you can “move on” and get about your day-no continuous scooping or baking of more trays. I also love this time of year because nuts are usually on sale and it’s a good time to stock up and squirrel them away in your freezer.

These- tick all the taste buds- they are crunchy, gooey, chewy, caramel like, buttery, and well- just plain divine. They are very rich though, so I cut them into small inch wide bars.

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars 6

Pecan Pie Bars

(recipe adapted from “Pecan Squares” by Ina Garten)

Crust:

2  1/2 sticks unsalted butter (1  1/4 C)

1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1  1/2 large eggs (whisk the second egg and measure out and use half)

2 1/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

Beat butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs slowly and beat to combine. Add in vanilla. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to mixture on low speed until combined. Press into an ungreased 1/4 sheet pan, (or a 9 x 13 inch pan)  making sure to press the crust up the sides of the pan- if using a 9×13 pan press up the sides about one inch. If using a 9×13 inch pan you can line the pan with parchment for easier removal. Chill the crust for 30 minutes before baking. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 15 minutes until crust is set and NOT browned. Allow to cool. Prepare the filling while the crust cools.

Filling:

2 sticks unsalted butter (1 Cup)

1/2 Cup  good quality honey

1  1/2 Cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. orange zest

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 lb. pecans, coarsely chopped

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar and zest in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and pecans. Stir to combine. Pour over the crust, making sure to not allow the filling to seep in between the crust and the pan-this is key as the filling will bubble up and expand. Leave about 1/4 inch of space around the perimeter of the filling to edge of the crust in the pan as the filling will spread while cooking; (you might have about a 1/4 Cup of filling left over). Place the pan on a larger sheet pan while baking to ensure filling does not spill over into oven while baking. Bake at 350° F for 30-34 minutes until the filling is vigorously bubbling. Note- the filling will be very loose and not appear set. The filling will set upon cooling. Once completely cooled, cut into bars using a serrated knife.