Today I could just post pics of my baked items and let you think everything I make is pretty good, OK, fabulous, but this is never truly the case especially when trying out new recipes.
My most recent fail was last week when instead of sticking to a tried and true tart recipe I googled a “the best” recipe online. It was from Canadian Living and had many good reviews.
As I was getting together with several friends, all foodies in one way or another, I thought it was the perfect chance to test out something new and get their opinion. Hmmm, perhaps not such a good idea. The Maple Tart recipe called for 1 tablespoon of Cider Vinegar in the filling. Yes, it did seem a bit much to me but it was labelled as “the best”, so needless to say “the experts would know”, who am I to question, although in hindsite I should have gone with my gut and cut it in half. Often vinegar or lemon juice is added to butter tart and maple tart fillings to help cut down on the sweetness. But this recipe definitely had a vinegar taste, so disappointing, and no time for a redo!
Another huge issue is SHRINKAGE! Yes, shrinkage in the kitchen can be problematic. Who knew!? Just chilling can help although if memory serves me chilling was the cause of George Costanza’s shrinkage issues. We need “chill” in the kitchen to prevent the shrinkage of our pastry before it bakes while George needs to avoid the chill (but that my friends is a whole other issue not meant for this blog).
Often pastry recipes call for you to prepare the pastry and wrap and chill for an hour or more and after rolling and cutting out the pastry to chill again before baking. If you are somewhat impatient, a little like myself, you may skip this stage just because you don’t really know why it is necessary. According to the research I did the reason is to prevent your tart or pie shells from shrinking while baking. If there is too much shrinking your fillings will be overflowing and your pastry will most likely only have a little edge preventing you from filling properly; therefore, in my opinion, not the correct pastry to filling ratio. You know, a mouthful of flaky pastry combined with just the right amount of sweet or savoury filling. Not too much, not too little. Whatever works for your tastebuds.
Now I must say I did chill my dough both times per directions and the pastry was worth the work although the filling left a bit to be desired.
My somewhat second fail is today’s Wunderbar Blondies. I’ll share the recipe because all you need to do to ensure success is use the full 2 cups of chocolate bars (no skimping). It does seems like it would be to much but it is needed in the bars.
Have a bar or cookie not quite up to par and not sure what to do. Quickest fix – smear melted chocolate on top or put ice cream between to make an icecream sandwich and add chocolate on top…did I mention chocolate can save pretty much anything.
This recipe is a knockoff of a Snickers Blondies recipe I saw last year. Which makes me want to offer up a tip to all you home bakers. Although baking is much more of a science, you cannot just leave out the baking powder or not whip your egg whites because you feel like it, you can switch up a few items, especially in bars and cookies. Don’t be afraid, it’s only a few ingredients, not a life saving procedure.
I am using Wunderbars instead of Snickers bars and chocolate chips in these bars. Make sure to use the full 2 cups of chopped chocolate bars in the filling as this is what sets them apart from a rather plain Blondie.
To get started spray and line a 13 x 9-inch pan and preheat your oven to 350F.
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped chocolate bars (Snickers, Wunderbar, KitKat, etc.)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips or your favourite frosting
Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla on low speed until mixed.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt and soda with a fork or whisk.
On low speed of mixer, add in flour mixture to creamed mixture and combine. Fold in your chopped chocolate bars and chocolate chips.
Spread batter into prepared pan. TIP: Wet your hands to help pat batter evenly into pan.
Baker about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired melt 1 cup chocolate chips and drizzle over bars. Bars can also be iced and topped with more chopped chocolate bars if desired. Or these sweet treats can be used to make icecream sandwiches.