This is the time of year where we trade in our garden gloves for temporary baker's mitts!
Biscotti, Earl Grey shortbread, and good ol' Canadian Nanaimo Bars are our top 3 sweets for the season.
...(and yes, Nanaimo Bars are LIFE CHANGING.) ;)
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do and share them with your family and friends!!
Servings: 8-12 | Difficulty: Easy
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped marcona almonds
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp orange blossom water
3/4 cup melted butter
2 large egg yolks, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in almonds and dried fruit.
In another bowl whisk together the olive oil, butter, whole eggs, vanilla and orange blossom water. Add to dry ingredients until a dry dough forms. Roll into 2 inch logs and flatten into an oval shape. Brush the tops with a beaten egg yolk. Place onto a sheet try with a non stick mat or parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes (these will spread, so leave space.)
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Slice on the bias into 1 inch slices. Place slices on a baking rack on a baking sheet and return to the oven and bake form about another 20 minutes until crisp.
Earl Grey Shortbread Coins
By The Art & Soul of Baking: Reprinted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing, recipes by Cindy Mushet, photography by Maren Caruso
Servings: Makes 36 cookies | Difficulty: Intermediate
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (¼ ounce) good quality Earl Grey tea leaves
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup (3¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional 3 tablespoons (if making without cocoa)
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sanding or decorator’s sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons (¾ ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder, either Dutch-process or natural (optional)
Delicately nubby from the texture of Earl Grey tea leaves, these cookies are strictly for adults. For the best flavor, use top-quality bulk tea. Serve the cookies with a cup of the tea, or any time you want a sophisticated cookie. Without tea leaves, they are a wonderful shortbread cookie that even children will love.
For a chocolaty variation, add unsweetened cocoa powder. The dough can also be rolled out and cut into shapes as directed at the end of the recipe.
Place the granulated sugar and tea leaves in the bowl of the food processor and grind for 1 minute, or until the leaves are very finely chopped. Add the butter, flour, cocoa (optional), and salt and process for about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and break up any large clumps with the spatula. Process for another 15 to 30 seconds, until the dough looks uniformly dark and forms large, shaggy clumps. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently several times, just to bring it together.
Squeeze the dough into a log about 12 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter, and gently roll it back and forth until smooth. Don’t add flour if the dough is sticky—simply refrigerate the dough for 15 or 20 minutes to firm up the butter, then try again.
If you like, sprinkle the sanding sugar on the work surface alongside the log and gently roll the log in the sugar, turning to coat evenly. Cut a piece of plastic wrap several inches longer than the log and center the log at one long edge of the wrap. Roll the log into the wrap so it is tightly bound by the plastic. Twist the ends of the wrap to secure the log and help to create a rounded shape. You can use a cardboard paper towel roll to keep the roll of dough nicely rounded during storage. Just slit the cardboard lengthwise and slip the log inside it to help keep the rounded shape. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300°F and position an oven rack in the center. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the cardboard and plastic wrap from the dough log and use a thin knife to slice it into ⅜-inch-thick rounds. Place about 18 cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time, for 30 minutes, or until the cookies are cooked through and look dry on top. (It’s difficult to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done. This is when an oven thermometer and a timer are your best friends in the kitchen.) Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Storing: Keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Servings: 16 Servings | Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
3/4 cup salted butter, diced into pieces
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
5 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 small eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cup UNsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds (Optional)
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp Bird's custard powder
3 cups powdered sugar
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped in pieces
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in pieces
4 Tbsp salted butter
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add in brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until well combine. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in beaten egg. Return mixture to heat and cook for 1 - 2 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Add in graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans and toss until evenly coated. Press mixture into a buttered 9 by 12inch baking dish or a dish lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap, place in freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, using and electric hand mixer set on medium speed, whip together butter, heavy cream and custard powder until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute (mixture may seem dry at first but should start to come together). Spread mixture into an even layer over chilled graham cracker base. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate along with butter in a heat proof bowl, set over a pot of simmering water. Spread mixture into an even layer over filling layer, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes until chocolate has set. Cut into squares, store in an airtight container.