Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Short (bread) and Sweet!

So simple.  Tastes like you slaved for hours.
If you wipe away the cobwebs and still read this humble little blog, you'll know that it has been a very long time since I shared a recipe with you.
Home with a four-year old doesn't leave me much time for endeavors in the kitchen that take more than about an hour since she has been out of school for the summer.
Baking is in my very soul and in not doing it, I feel like a cloudy day.
Some folks work out, some read, some go to concerts to catch some bliss.
I preheat the oven.
Well, a sweet friend of mine over here has always been a source of inspiration, a little happy voice nudging me in a whisper..."go play!"and over time, she's really become dear to me.
I have been thinking about getting into the kitchen all weekend.  Something subliminal and most surely coming from the south was calling me and telling me to MAKE time.
So I did.  I grabbed this recipe and got to step one:
In another life I eat this for breakfast every day, raw.
I decided to send her a quick message that I was baking today (to let her know that her magic was working) and lo and behold I immediately got an update that her second cookbook is officially in the works!  Timing could not have been better.  I am so thrilled for her, I cannot express.  The level of her creativity and drive to do what she loves is so very apparent.  It was a no-brainer to me that any publisher should want book #2 from her, but the green light really is cause for celebration.
The World Needs More Sprinkles.
To pull out my pom-poms I took step 2 of my dessert a step further and immortalized her moniker in heavenly jam:
I hope that she giggled aloud when she saw it.  I couldn't stop snickering with glee.
This eventually got smoothed out in an even layer (after making a special wish for her) and topped appropriately.
It is dangerous that shortbread dough is not dangerous to eat raw.
By the way.
I really wish someone would stand up and invent smellovision already, because I want everyone to know what fragrance comes with this oven shot:
If you look close enough you can see that some jam is bubbling=applause for SprinkleBakes!
Either way, I dedicate this long overdue post and shared recipe to my Sugar Sister.
Thank you for that southern breeze, friend.  Congrats!  You are awesome with sprinkles on top.
Raspberry Shortbread Bars
(adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)
1/2 lb (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I love Mexican vanilla)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz Smuckers brand Orchard's Finest "Lakeside Raspberry Cranberry Preserves"
2/3 cup granola (without dried fruit)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined.  With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.
Using a whisk, stir together the flour and salt, and with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball.  Turn the dough out onto a board.  Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan* and about 1/4 inch up the sides.  Spread with the jam (you can make someone special's initials with it too, make a wish for them before smoothing!) and leave a 1/4 inch border around the sides.
Mix the granola into he remaining dough with your fingers.  Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface.  Sprinkle almonds on top.  Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned. 
Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.  Eat one of these babies, hot, and you'll need a tongue donor!
*I used a lovely ceramic baking dish from my sister, but if you have the metal pan handy, I suggest lining it with a parchment sling to make removing the block easier before cutting. 

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