A few months back I bought The Sweet Melissa Baking Book on complete impulse after seeing a baking group using it. I participated in the group for two weeks and then the next recipe called for ricotta. At that point, the thought of ricotta made me nauseous so I dropped out of the group and I haven’t picked up the book since then until recently.

I was thumbing through the book looking for holiday-ish recipes (because having a newborn isn’t going to be enough to keep me occupied in December apparently) and these butterscotch cashew bars called out to me. They looked so simple and I’m a sucker for anything with cashews. And a shortbread base? Oh man, I went to the store that day to get the ingredients.

I made them on a football Sunday and the pan was gone by the time our guests left. They were just gobbled up and everyone raved about them.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Ingredients

1/2 pound (2 sticks, or 1 cup) butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 & 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
11 ounces butterscotch chips
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
2 cups roasted salted cashews

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x 13 pan with cooking spray. Using two sheets of parchment paper, line the pans width and length, creating a parchment sling. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and salt for 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes. Decrease mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix just until combined. Lightly press dough evenly into the prepared pan. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is a golden color. Remove to wire rack to cool.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir together butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and water. Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and butterscotch chips are melted. Pour over crust.
  4. Sprinkle cashews over the butterscotch caramel. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. After cooling, remove from pan and use a very sharp knife to cut into bars.
http://fakeginger.com/butterscotch-cashew-bars/
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Awhile ago I mentioned that I joined a new baking group, well this is it! Sweet Melissa Sundays! I haven’t really heard much about the Sweet Melissa Baking Book but the few people I know that own it, love it. So I figured I couldn’t really go wrong.

This week’s recipe was chosen by Jessica of The Singleton in the Kitchen. The recipe was a 2 part recipe, the first being granola and the second being the cookies of course. I took the easy way out and used some store bought granola that I have on hand.

Oddly enough, this granola included everything that the homemade granola called for except the currants. That’s okay though because I don’t even know what a currant is!

The recipe was really easy. Seriously, took me maybe 6 or 7 minutes to mix everything up and that’s with a toddler helping! Oh, and by the way, someone should’ve warned me that molasses is the worst smell in the entire world. I nearly choked on the awfulness.

I was a little worried because I find honey to be VERY strong and the recipe called for 1/2 cup of it. And then after smelling the molasses I was even more worried.

My kid is in LOVE with these cookies. He has had one with each meal since I made them. I can’t blame him though, they are pretty good. They’re a little dense since they’re made with only whole wheat flour, but hey, that’s fine with me. I’d rather have WW any day. I’ve seen a few of my fellow bakers talk about the molasses being overwhelming but I thought it was fine. Even the honey was okay.

If you want to make these and I know you do, head over to Jessica’s blog to get the recipe.

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Forgive me for being late. Between Hurricane Gustav and having strep throat, I didn’t even realize that yesterday was Tuesday.

But anyway, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters (I so just typed Chipper. Must not watch Braves games while updating blog.) and it was chosen by the lovely Stefany of Proceed with Caution.

Honestly, I made these a few weeks ago and really don’t remember much about them. They were good and my little family enjoyed them but apparently they weren’t very memorable.

If you want the full recipe visit Proceed with Caution. Next week I hope to back to normal so I should actually be able to remember the recipe.

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A few weeks ago I was talking to my friend Pam about Martha Stewart’s cookie book. Pam has it and loves it but I’m not a huge Martha fan so I was skeptical. I decided to try out a recipe from Martha’s website before buying the book.

(Please excuse the picture. I took it in my bed because that’s where I ate every single one of these cookies. I have no shame.)

I went with Martha’s black and white cookies because when I was pregnant and working at Starbucks I ate one of these everyday. My co-workers joked that they always knew when I was there because they would find the remains (the dark chocolate part. bleh) on the desk in the back. I just loved how soft they were with the hard white chocolate on top. Mmm.

These cookies were exactly like my beloved Starbucks cookies. Well I used milk chocolate instead of dark, but that only made them better. They were soft and lemony and perfect.

I still haven’t bought Martha’s book. It’s on my list right after about 30 other things. I definitely want to pick it up eventually. I’m officially sold on Martha.

Black and White Cookies.

from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cake flour, not self-rising
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup, plus more if needed
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Add milk, and whisk to combine. Whisk in melted butter and extracts. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a smooth dough. Cover, and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Line baking pans with Silpat nonstick baking mats. Using a 2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per pan, 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons hot water, and corn syrup. Whisk until smooth. Using a small offset spatula, ice half of each cookie. Return cookies to rack to drip, if necessary.
  4. Add chocolate to remaining icing. Stir until smooth. Add additional corn syrup to thin to desired consistency, if necessary. Spread chocolate icing over second half of each cookie. Allow cookies to set, about 10 minutes.
http://fakeginger.com/black-and-white-cookies/

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Time to kick off the new blog and I’m going to do it with one of the best things ever.

Homemade fig bars. Like Fig Newtons but more addictive.

I go through phases where I am absolutely obsessed with Fig Newtons. I can’t walk out of a store without buying a box and then I usually shove the entire box in my face on the drive home. I just adore them. There’s something so great about the gooey fig “jam” with the little crunchy seeds all wrapped in a cakey crust. Mmm.

I bookmarked this recipe during my most recent Fig Newton phase which was only a few weeks ago but I’ve been having trouble finding figs around here. I managed to find some at Walgreens of all places recently so it was finally time to try the recipe.

These are nothing like Fig Newtons to me. They are every bit as good and maybe better, but they don’t have much in common. The outside had the texture of a sugar cookie instead of the soft exterior that Fig Newtons have. The filling is amazingly good! I had some leftover so the kid and I had it on english muffins for breakfast the next day. I fully intend on making a batch of the filling just to use as a spread.

Fig Bars

Ingredients

For the dough:
1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest
For the filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

    To make the filling:
  1. Combine the figs, water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sauceapan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.
  2. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool.
  3. To make the dough:
  4. Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg white and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and paddle again. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Place racks in middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down.
  7. Using a serrated knife, slice each log on the diagonal into 10 cookies. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.
http://fakeginger.com/fig-bars/

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