Mary/ December 13, 2016/ cooking, Culinary, Food, Living, Recipes, Uncategorized

The unusually heavy snow here in Vancouver created a good opportunity to stay home in my PJ’s and bake. The sweet smells coming from the oven, the warmth and coziness, doing something I really enjoy –  all contributed to my stress relief plan!  It was heavenly.

Here are three of the goodies I made this weekend. They are all pretty simple, and simply delicious!

Pecan Pie Bars: just like a piece of pie but handier to eat!

2 cups flour

¾ cup, plus 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, divided

¾ cup butter

3 eggs

¾ cup light corn syrup

1 cup chopped pecans

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 9 x 13 pan with parchment, or grease well.

Base:

In a small bowl, mix well flour and the 3T of brown sugar. With fingers, work in the ¾ cup butter until dough begins to hold together.  Press onto bottom of greased/lined 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just firm.

Top:

In medium bowl, lightly beat ¾ cup of brown sugar and the eggs; add corn syrup, pecans, melted butter, vanilla and salt; mix well.  Pour over crust. Bake 25 minutes or just until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack, cut into 1 x 3 inch bars, Makes 27.

(pictured above)

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Melting Moments: super easy-to-make delicate shortbread that melts in your mouth….

1 cup butter

1/3 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

2/3 cup cornstarch

1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together till light. Whisk together the cornstarch and flour; add to the butter mixture and blend thoroughly. Chill dough for 15 minutes or so till it’s a bit more firm.  Take a teaspoon full of dough, roll into a ball approx. 1” diameter.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and press gently to flatten slightly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden brown around the edges.

melting-moments

Optional: melt ½ cup of chocolate chips, stir still smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle over the cooled cookies. This step is not necessary as they are fabulously delicious just on their own…but it looks nice.

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Pignoli Cookies: a sumptuous Italian treat that is gluten and grain free.

1 ½ cups of whole blanched almonds

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

2 egg whites

½ tsp almond extract

2 cups pine nuts

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

In a food processor, chop almonds till coarse. Add granulated and icing sugar; process until mixture is like fine bread crumbs. Add egg whites and almond extract and continue to process for a few minutes till you have a smooth, but sticky, dough.  Chill for 10-15 minutes

Roll by the teaspoonful, into balls; wet your hands slightly so they don’t get so sticky. Then roll in pine nuts which will stick to the surface all round.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2” apart, flatten slightly by pressing down.

pignoli-before

Bake 18 minutes or so, till golden brown, then move to a rack to cool.  Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

pignoli-after

I have frozen all of these treats with success.  They are fabulous for your Christmas parties or as a gift.  The Pignoli cookies are gluten and grain free, the Melting moments are super easy to make from regular pantry ingredients, and the Pecan Pie Bars are decadent!

Give them a try – I hope you enjoy them.  It’s been a good weekend, and now I’m ready for my parties next week…