It is September (oy!) and I have already pumped out a few pumpkin desserts. It doesn’t seem right. A pumpkin freakazoid, I am not. I am not one of those chicks just waiting for Starbucks to roll out their limited edition Pumpkin Spice latte (it is like Disney releasing Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King out of ‘the Disney vault’ every year around Christmas, real limited there Walt) – it is pumpkin flavored syrup, and I am a bit leery of flavored syrups, plus I prefer my coffee black. But I am one of those chicks waiting for pumpkin doughnuts (or donuts, I am never quite sure how to spell something so delicious) at Dunkin’. Because, seriously, they may not have an ounce of real pumpkin in them, however they are freaking amazeballs. Especially if you are eating them along with a hot cup of joe.
That past paragraph just proves I prefer to eat my calories versus drinking them…
But does flipping the calendar from August to September truly mean it is pumpkin season? Perhaps, in some corners of this world it does, or corners of our brains. Brains that are a tad bit fried from summer. Brains that have been deprived of cinnamon and sugar and bodies craving sweatshirts and chunky sweaters. However, I never crave pumpkin until about November.
Which means…It is still summer fruit season in this house – and I just got peaches in my CSA this week and it isn’t officially fall (and therefore time to break out all things pumpkin) until next week sometime. So, peaches it is. But don’t count these out as a summer only dessert…the browned butter adds a hint of fall, but doesn’t shout it from the roof tops. It is like the smell of the crisp morning air this week that made it feel almost like fall, but then you have the warm (seriously, downright hot) sunshine of the afternoon that makes you dream of sweet juicy peaches.
Oh, September, how you mess with my brain …
Who cares if you have fully swung into fall or grasping to the last rays of warm summer sunshine…find peaches, brown butter, and bake these bars…They are all sorts of loveliness.
Brown Butter Peach Raspberry Bars
Makes a 9x13in pan (12-16 bars)
- 1 cup White sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Raspberry Jam
Brown your butter: Over medium heat, place butter into a small/medium saucepan. Melt. Once melted, the butter will foam and then it will turn clear/golden, and finally begin to brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan, it will go from browned to burnt in a blink of an eye. Once brown, remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan (or line it with parchment paper). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender or a mixer with paddle attachment, cut chilled browned butter and egg into mixture. It will be crumbly, but will come together when pressed between thumb and pointer finger.
Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9x13inch pan. Evenly spread raspberry jam over crust, leaving about a 1/2 inch border without jam. In a single layer, tile peach slices over raspberry jam.
Scatter remaining crumbs over top of the peaches. Place bars in preheated oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the jam is bubbly around the edges and the crumb becomes golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
I love Ina Garten.
This post might as well be called ‘ an ode to Ina”.
I adore everything about her….even her button down shirts – that are tailored made just for her (why do I know this?) – with the popped collar – which makes me think of spring break and the cruise we took and the dancing we did, which brings be around to Grillz by Nelly…ad a whole top diamonds and da bottom row’s gold. Can we go back to those days? Days where spring break existed and you lived with your friends and weekends started on Thursdays? Did we know how good we had it? I don’t think we did…we were always wanting to get to the next stage. Little did we know the next stage was full of work and serious responsibility – mortgages are no one’s friend.
Yes, I some how just connected Ina to Nelly. That takes mad skills, people.
Did you know… she was a White House nuclear policy analyst. I don’t know what that entails. It seems pretty major. Therefore, she is not a classically trained chef. She is like us, a home cook with a bit of passion, a love for great ingredients, and a desire to make those around us happy and full. That she took a leap of faith on a gourmet food store and it became crazy successful. That she has since, hosted the famed Food Network Show – Barefoot Contessa, that she has written some 6+ cookbooks, and has been the inspiration for millions when it comes to hosting dinner parties, whipping up simple family dinners, or setting a table fit for a king or your best friends. This all from a whim. And major guts. For reals.
I am also, slightly in love with the fact that she lives in New England (and has an apartment in Paris…but who doesn’t love that?). I am a sucker for New England…the ocean, the homes, the food, the scenery, the accents…you name it – I love it. I sometimes get mad at the entire state of Pennsylvania. Downright angry. For if it wasn’t for the 311 mile wide state of Pennsylvania, lobster rolls and I would be so much closer. Sigh.
I have made many of Ina’s recipes…and not once have I been disappointed. And today is no different. These are a simple dessert, whipped up in a moments notice, and sure to please a crowd. I took these into work as a random Tuesday treat and they were gone before lunch. Well before lunch. Second shift only got crumbs. Not a raspberry fan? Use strawberry jam. Or blueberry.
Dear Ina. Thanks.
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Room temperature
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2+ ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 12 Ounces Jam, Raspberry – use high quality
- ⅔ Cup Granola, I used Bear Naked Granola (maple pecan) – make sure it is free of dried fruit
- ¼ Cup (a good handful) Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper (easy removal).
- Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add flour and salt mixture to butter mixture. Mix until the dough starts to form into a ball. It will be crumbly at first, just keep mixing.
- Press ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan and about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan.
- Spread the jam over the crust, leaving about a ¼ inch border.
- Mix the granola with the remaining dough. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the jam. Scatter slivered almonds over crumb topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 50 minutes until the top begins to turn golden brown.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving.
slightly adapted from Ina Garten.
The week following a vacation is generally just a melancholic blur of work and laundry and grocery shopping and laundry and healthier eating and memories of warmth and sunshine. This goes for vacations lasting the usual 7 days or those extending towards two weeks and/or particularly those cut short at 3 or 4 days, the so-called long weekends.
This week was that week. Where nothing truly gets done, but one in which I feel exhausted and sleep deprived and a tad bloated and all sorts of hungry…hungry for butter and sugar and ice cream. Not carrot sticks and tuna salad. Ugh…so easy to fall out of a good habit and quite the struggle to jump back in.
Disney was great. The race was great. The weather was great. The food was great. The company was great. And the ears…I became slightly obsessed.
I look good as Mickey.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night, 2012. Let’s be honest… this isn’t a good-bye forever…I will continue to write you on checks and various other papers until at least February. I mean, just last week, I wrote 2010 on a receipt at the car repair shop, so I am guessing I will see you again around 2016 or so, when I am signing an oh-so-important document and I will try my darndest to turn a 2 into a 6…which never works as well as if it were a 5 or a 1…
Any big plans for NYE? Going out on the town, dressed to the nines, dinner and dancing, champagne toasts, and a midnight kiss? Or is it a night in with the kiddos with party hats and streamers and those noise maker thingys, which always seem like a good idea while you are standing in the middle of Target on a Wednesday afternoon, but when it is 12:30am on 01-01-insert year, and that sleep deprived child is still running around like a maniac blowing fiercely into a once-upon-a-time- good idea noise maker. And it may not be a small child running around, but perhaps a grown adult. And she might be me. If you invite me to your party…don’t le me near the noise makers. I have an affinity towards them. It is a once a year love affair. Suppose I will ever grow up? Ha!
I was going to make a champagne cocktail to ring in 2013….buutttttt, as of late, all I have had on the brain, booze wise, is bourbon and ginger ale…Don’t get me wrong, it’s worthy of an entire blog post, and maybe some day it will shine in all its glory…but not today and not on New Year’s Eve. NYE calls for champagne. And why make a cocktail out of champagne…the bubbly is rockin’ all on its own. Instead of anything fizzy or spritzy or liquor infused…I whipped together a batch of blondie brownies.
Peanut Brittle Blondies…nutty, butterscotchy, chewy, and caramelly….Plus, you get to use up that random tin of peanut brittle that your Great Aunt Lucy hands out at Christmas each and every year….or if you are like me, you have a bit left over since you made 3 batches trying to replicate a friends family recipe…either way, two birds, one stone.
Butter melting over medium heat…pay close attention. Please do not become distracted. It will turn fast!
Browned butter! Smells so nutty and almost caramel-like. Transfer to another bowl, and let cool…and go collect your other ingredients.
Besides browned butter…you are going to need brown sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and soda, egg, vanilla, and of course peanut brittle.
Browned butter and brown sugar are mixed
An egg and vanilla are added..
Next goes the flour…
And mix JUST until combined …
Peanut brittle needs to be folded in and sprinkled atop…and bake.
I hope you have a great New Years and that 2013 be filled with great joy, many laughs, good friends and family, and much happiness. Cheers!
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Butter, browned and slightly cooled
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Cup Peanut Brittle, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8×8 baking dish with tinfoil or parchment paper, leaving a little bit hanging over the edges for easy removal later.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling occasionally, until brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan and it begins to smell nutty (be patient!). Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend together, with a wooden spoon, browned butter and brown sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix until combined.
- Stir in flour just until combined.
- Fold in ¾ Cup of chopped peanut brittle.
- Spread batter into prepared pan and top with remaining ¼ cup of peanut brittle.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden brown and the center is just set. These are better if they are underbaked vs. overbaked.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
On days like 12-12-12 or 05-05-05 or maybe 10-10-10 … Don’t ya just expect more out of them? I sure do.
Days that only happen once a century…something special should happen. Right?
We won’t see 12-12-12 again until 12-12-2112. I will be 129.58 years old. I mean, seriously, something spectacular should happen on days like this. Unplanned greatness. As if the world had fireworks up its sleeve for days like today (or two days ago, by the time you read this). Or candy rained from the heavens. Or we all got five dollars in the mail, in a sweet little card like your auntie used to mail to you on your birthday. That would be nice.
Things like that should happen on special calender days like today…
But they don’t and so you have to make them special on your own account. If I was an elementary school teacher, I would have had a pizza party and a movie day. I watched ET in elementary smack dab in the middle of the 4th grade hallway. Track and field day had been cancelled due to rain and that was our consolation prize. But the movie and pizza on 12-12-12 wouldn’t be a consolation prize, but part of the celebration. It would be epic. Better than any Valentines Day party, that’s for sure.Read More