Sunday, February 27, 2011

Amazing Cookie Bars - Not So Amazing

What's up with these so-called "Amazing Cookie Bars"?  They did not turn out well.  Maybe it's me: I might have used a pan that was too large (I used a full cookie sheet with sides, like the recipe said.)  I probably baked them too long, too.

Or maybe it's the recipe? 

The recipe is very similar to this recipe for Cake-Mix-Cookies-VIII from You can use any flavor of cake mix (I used Dutch Chocolate), and the recipe I used called for 1 egg, 1/3 cup water, and 1 stick of margarine (of course, I used butter - Paula Deen has nothing on me). Then I dropped cut up Junior Mint pieces over the top before baking it (too long, as it turned out). 

 I made a few discoveries:
1) Do not try to cut up Junior Mints.  They turn to mush.
2) I like biscotti but this was not supposed to be biscotti.  Though I sprayed the pan and baked it as recommended, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, it needs to be dunked in coffee or milk. I'm sure it would have good flavor if I could get it out of the pan. 
3) Ever recipe is not going to be a hit. 
4) There are lots of other bars that I find more amazing than these.  For instance, Pecan Pie bars (see below)!
This recipe came in the little newsletter we used to get with our telephone bill.  It is excellent! And, it goes a lot farther than a pecan pie.  The original recipe had twice this many ingredients in the crust, but I like thin crust so cut it down to this amount.

Pecan Pie Bars

1 c. flour
¼ c. powdered sugar
½ c. cold margarine or butter

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free is OK)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 6-oz. package almond brickle chips or English toffee chips (about 1 cup)
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour and sugar, cut in butter until crumbly.  Press firmly on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan (grease or spray with Pam first).  Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla.  Stir in chips and pecans.  When the crust is done, spread filling over crusts.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool, cut into bars.  Store covered in refrigerator.

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Desserts & Pastries (how can you not love a cookbook that has one Main Dish section followed by Cakes, Cookies, Desserts & Pastries, and Breads & Rolls?
Next Recipe:  Angels Delight
I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

4-Bean Salad Epilogue

This version of the 4-bean salad called for rings of sliced onions, and, although I like the idea, they are a little harder to eat than chopped onions.  The salad was very good, both Merlyn and I liked it. 

It kept well, also - I had it for a number of meals for several days with no appreciable deterioration in texture or taste. It may have even improved with age.

Almond Joy Cake - Decadent

I was thrilled to see that the next recipe was "Almond Joy Cake" since I absolutely love coconut, chocolate, and almonds and the Almond Joy candy bar.  "Decadent" was the most frequently used word to describe the Almond Joy Cake that opens the section on 'Cakes'.  It was truly, well, decadent. 

To make this cake, you bake a chocolate cake from a mix.  When you take the cake out of the oven, you pour over a hot layer of evaporated milk, sugar, coconut and marshmallows that you've prepared according to the recipe.  Immediately after that, you pour over a layer of sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and chocolate chips that has been boiled together until the chips are melted. So, you need to be heating the two layers at the same time. After both layers are on, sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.

I didn't have enough chocolate chips so included some butterscotch chips and some shavings of unsweetened chocolate and that didn't hurt it at all. (And, I forgot to put the butter in the chocolate layer so it didn't cover the entire cake. We didn't really notice a lack of butter, though.)

I wasn't absolutely certain which size of pan to use, so I used a lasagna pan that is slightly bigger than a 13" x 9" cake pan. I think it would have been better if I had made holes in the cake for the coconut filling to soak into it. When I make it again, I think I'll make it as a sheet cake in a jelly roll pan.

Everybody who saw this cake called it decadent, and everyone who tried it (our Star Wars marathon group and my coworkers) loved it.  Merlyn was the only holdout - he hates coconut and wouldn't even give it a chance.

I am going to make this cake again!

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Cookies & Candy
Next Recipe:  Amazing Cookie Bars

I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!