English Muffin Bread

Toast reminds me of my grandpa.

I never saw him eat a piece of bread that wasn’t, well, toasted.  Toasted toasted.  Crunchy toasted.  On the brink of too toasted.  Toasted.

My grandma was so used to toasting his bread, that I never had a tuna sandwich from that kitchen on soft bread.  Or a bologna sandwich.  Or a hotdog  (weiner) bun- grandma was from Rhode Island, they don’t do hotdogs, just weiners.    Or for that matter, a roll.  Or a biscuit.  Or a sandwich bun.  Or anything resembling bread.  Even cornbread.  Everything.  Toasted.

I often wonder how many toaster ovens my grandparents went through over the years.  And to think of it, I am sure grandma started making him toast on a cast iron stove after the war at the start of marriage on a small farm in rural Ohio, graduating to an oven with a broiler,  and heavens to Betsy, finally came the day of a toaster oven…how life was made easier and how we take it for granted.

There countertop never held a toaster that held slices of anything … a conventional toaster I never knew them to own.  The openings not adequate for thick slices of Texas toast and English muffins would get lost and they were not the ones to use a knife to stab at an English muffin to pry it from the depths of a toaster (not that I ever do that either) and you can never quite tell how toasted your toast is getting without popping it up…

A toaster oven on the flip side can fit any size of bread, roll, biscuit…and pizza rolls.  Pizza rolls never saw the inside of my granparent’s home.  Come to think of it, rarely did pizza.

I think grandpa would have loved a loaf of English muffin bread.  English muffins were meant for the toaster – does anyone eat them untoasted?  They don’t taste right, unless browned and crisp – salted butter dripping into each nook and cranny and jelly/jam/fruit butter/nut butter slathered edge to edge.  Gramps was a homemade grape jelly dude, grandma restocking their supply every fall from their concord grape vein/arbor or there was always strawberry lingering – often homemade as well.  This whole, homemade from scratch deal, it is in my blood.

I can never pick just one spreadable for my toast.  Or English muffin.  Too many choices and never enough toast.  Cinnamon sugar is my all time favorite…and has been making quite the comeback on lazy weekend mornings with creamy coffee.  Or afternoon snack with hot chocolate.  Yeah, hot chocolate…still winter in these parts!

English Muffin bread toasts up like a charm.  And is quite simply the easiest thing in the world to throw together.  Trust me.  As long as you have yeast that isn’t dead.  I had dead yeast, poor things never got to live to their fullest potential.  Honest to goodness, I felt bad.  I should read expiration dates more often/closely/clean out my cupboards more thoroughly/or, well ever.

5.0 from 1 reviews
English Muffin Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2+1/2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 2 + ¼ Teaspoons Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1+ ½ Cups Whole Milk, warmed to 120F.
  • Cornmeal for dusting
Instructions
  1. Grease a 5in x 10 in (or thereabouts) loaf pan and dust with cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Stir in warm milk and mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area and let dough rise for about 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. (my favorite warming place is in the microwave with the light on or oven (turned off) with the light on...otherwise, my house is an icebox for bread dough.
  4. Once it has doubled, give the dough a stir and place in prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place back into warm area and let rise for an additional 30 minutes or until it has reached the edges of the pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F and place oven rack to middle position.
  6. Uncover and discard plastic wrap. Place pan into preheated oven and bake until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200F. About 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning bread out onto wire rack and letting cool completely before slicing, toasting, and devouring.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cook's Country

Oatmeal Raisin Pie

A snow day on a Saturday…which lets make this clear, all of my snow days are on Saturdays and Sundays.  Oh! how I was not aware of my love of snow days when I picked a profession that A) doesn’t recognize snow as a reason to not work and B)  a profession that in case of a snow emergency…I am one of the few lucky folks allowed on the roads to go to work…what was I thinking???  And I know, unless you are a teacher … you are in this snow boat with me.

I knew I liked snow days, but I was unaware of my deep love and adoration of them until they were abruptly removed from my life.  Just the mere possibility of one would be enough to appease me at this point.   I imagine a real mid-week snow day as an adult doesn’t vary far beyond that of when I was a teenager…they still require/demand pajamas until well past noon and perhaps even early evening and only after you watch NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams will you even consider a shower and fresh pajama bottoms (Disclaimer: I loved Brian Williams even when I was 15).  A day where the TV possibilities are endless and guilt free…Bravo for breakfast, Netflix for lunch, and Dirty Dancing for mid-afternoon snack.  And if something needs to be scheduled than let it be a nap…  Oh naps…don’t even get me started on the lack of naps in my life.

If I remember right, meals have no real structure on snow days…it is all about grazing and creating from tidbits gathered from within your overly stocked kitchen, because well…if you are me and have a food blog, then you generally can whip up a 5 course meal (or hot fudge and caramel for the vanilla ice cream in your freezer) without needing a trip to the grocery.   I was cracking eggs and whisking together flour and baking soda, making pancakes and chocolate chip cookies for my brothers and I on the numerous snow days we spent growing up together ….with only one bit of advise from my parents – don’t burn down the house.  That rule still stands.

I was made for enjoying snow days…Snow days are wasted on people like my brothers, both amazeball teachers, but who have no desire/need/want to whip something up besides pizza rolls as they play Call of Duty with 12 year olds on their numerous snow days each year.  I might be a bit bitter.  Because I am at work and they are still in their pajamas – however, when I talk to them later they will proclaim that they were productive about the house.  HA!  They may be able to fool my mother and perhaps their wives, but not me.  I know my brothers…they played Call of Duty all. day. long.  And tried this…which I can prove by a slew of text messages all day long about the breakneck speed at which they were running miles (they got sub 7 minute miles under the belts)…trying to beat eachother by mere seconds.  I am awaiting pictures of treadmill face burns.

Any who…a snow day, be it a Wednesday or a Saturday,  is just so darn delightful.  An excuse not to leave the house, which if you are a hermit like myself, this is a godsend…several inches of snow gives you ample reason to stay cooped up inside all day – the roads are treacherous, the air too cold for my sensitive lungs, my feet will become frozen and I will undoubtedly lose a toe…all feasible and believable reasons to remain at home…I might need to explain some day my absolute love of being at home but also my wanderlust that creeps up and unsettles my very being…it is a constant struggle and something for another time.

But for now just know…cold and snowy = Mallory is not leaving her house unless it is Monday through Friday in which I will venture out for 8 hours, just to return home and hibernate until the following morning.  I am a ball of fun in the winter.

This past Saturday, with no true plans because of a forecast full of snow, temperatures well below freezing, and whipping winds…I rose early from bed, started the coffee, put on some tunes, and put the butter in the freezer.

I had pie on the brain from the get go.

All butter crust…which calls for lots of butter.  This pie only needs one crust, but this recipe will make you two…because there are worst things than having an extra disk of pie dough in your fridge.  Keep your butter cold.   I like to stick mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes before I start cutting into the flour.  Gives me time to drink another cup of coffee.

Flour, salt, and a touch of sugar are whisked together (or pulsed a few times in a food processor) depending on your method for pie crust creation.

 

Disk of dough. Dough disks.  When this happens … talk about feeling like kitchen Queen.  Queen of the kitchen.  Then you dribble coffee down the front of your pajamas and well, back to being peasant of the kitchen.  Kitchen Peasant….with coffee on your socks.

 

An hour later…

 

5 minutes later…

 

27 minutes later and a few pounds of dried pinto beans later….

 

Wrangle together raisins, flour, cinnamon, salt,  melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, corn syrup,  and quick oats.  Staple items, people…nothing complicated needed.

Whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter.

Next goes in the raisins, oats, flour, cinnamon, and a touch of salt….

And then there were just dirty dishes…

 45.8 minutes later…

This is a top 5 pie in my world and with 8 slices – think of the ice cream variations that could be had.  Vanilla, butter pecan, maple something or other, rum raisin, whiskey and pecans, coffee?  peanut butter?
But trust me, you don’t need ice cream to enjoy this pie…it is delightful standing in your kitchen eating it like a slice of pizza careful not to drop any of the flaky buttery crust on the floor, because that would be disastrous.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Oatmeal Raisin Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 2+1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks), very cold and diced
  • ½ Cup Ice Water
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ Cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ Cup Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats
  • ¾ Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add cold diced butter and pulse until butter is pea sized. ( This can also be done by hand or with a pastry cutter.) With food processor on low, slowly add cold water just until a dough begins to come together and form a ball.
  2. Empty dough out onto a lightly floured surface - dough should be shaggy and not wet by any means.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten slightly into disks. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. You will only need one dough disk for pie.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. After one hour, remove pie dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a ⅛th inch thickness, about 12 inches in diameter, which will fit a 9 inch pie plate with a little bit hanging over the edges of pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate and without stretching dough, tuck the dough to fit the pie plate. Trim off any excess dough around edges and then with thumb and forefinger, crimp edges.
  6. Place pie shell in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and with a piece of tinfoil, line pie shell - tucking it along the bottom edge and sides. Let the excess tinfoil hang over the edges. Fill tinfoil lined pie shell with enough dried beans to fill pie plate.
  7. Place in preheated oven and let bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and slowly lift tinfoil and beans out of pie shell - set aside and let cool. (use these beans over and over for pie weights)
  9. Prick the bottom of the pie shell about 8 to 10 times with the tines of a fork and the edges of the pie in a few spots.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and let bake for an additional 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
  12. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter.
  13. Stir in oats, raisins, flour, cinnamon, and salt and mix until combined.
  14. Pour filling into a cooled (at least somewhat) pie shell and with a fork, gently move raisins about to ensure even distribution. Place pie on a baking sheet and place in center of preheated oven.
  15. Bake pie until golden brown and the center is set - about 40 to 50 minutes. When you nudge the pie, the center should not jiggle. If the pie or crust is becoming overly brown, tent with a large piece of tinfoil (make sure it doesn't touch the top of the pie or it will pull the top right off)
  16. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Notes
This pie crust recipe will make 2 crusts, however you will only need one…but since it is as easy to make 2 as it is 1, I always make two crusts. Wrap and keep other crust in fridge for perhaps another pie in the coming week or wrap well and store in freezer and when in need of pie in the next month or so, you are ready to roll.

Adapted from Pie

Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

There was a coffee shop in Toledo that had these lemon blueberry scones that I often day dream about when I am reaching for my afternoon coffee and craving a bit of sugar = the ultimate cure for the mid-day slump that would be better cured with a cat nap…but since curling up in a fetal position under my desk at 3pm isn’t an act that my boss would appreciate…sugar it is.

I wish I had eaten more lemon blueberry scones and fewer carrots.  Too few scones is what I regret most from 6 years of college, not the turning orange from too many carrots.  I was such a wild child.  If I could go back…that is what I’d change.  That is it.  More scones.  And perhaps fewer 8am classes.

Today is a bit of an exception, since I made scones…but on most days, my mid-day sugar fueled energy is in the form of a decent handful of stolen M&M’s or a Hershey’s miniature or a random Sourpatch Kid or LaffyTaffy (and a funny joke) that I found at the back of my desk drawer that might be confused as the best/worst junk drawer ever.

The hospital’s coffee shop sells scones…but they don’t hold a candle to those I remember so fondly.  And I am sure those at Beaners’s (renamed to Bigby…Beaners, come to find out, is not a ‘pc’ name) no longer taste as they did…seeing how my brain has a tendency to misshape and construed people, places, and things of my past – i.e….  Grandma’s house is no longer as large as I remember.   Little Debbie’s don’t have the same pizzazz.  Those scones are of my college days and my memory of them is shaped by so many factors of those days, long ago…I am 97.675% sure that they do not taste as they did then.

My odd fear that prevents me from stopping on my journey home to visit friends and family does not interfere with me from making my own scones.  The way I like and remember.  Full of flavors I am craving.

Loaded with tidbits of goodness, including chocolate chips; fresh, frozen, or dried fruit;  zest of something in the citrus family; any type of nut, roasted pecans being my favorite.  This go around, fresh cranberries and orange zest are smashed together.  Match made in scone heaven.

Sweeter than the true British scone.  And if you want..feel free to cut down on the sugar.  I understand…my sweet tooth is out. of. control.

I like them rich, loaded with butter and cream.  Waist friendly they are not…but darn it…I am eating raw broccoli and carrots right now… let a girl have a bit of butter and cream, guilt free.

Grate a couple of oranges…grate the orange and not your knuckles.

Roughly chop cranberries.  Corralling cats might be easier.

That zest…straight into the flour, sugar, salt, and baking POWDER.  Whisk it up.

There were two batches of scones made before I found the perfect combination of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to make my scone loving soul sing.  I say this because my hand written pic of a recipe up top…not the final recipe I came to use.  But I like the picture…

 COLD butter needs to be cut into the flour/zest mixture.  I never seem to be able to do this quick enough or my hands are too warm or I get distracted by something shiny and glittery… but I never can get it to pea sized butter bits before it gets warm…solution?  Grate butter on a cheese grater, freeze, stir into flour/zest.  WIN!  This works for biscuits and pie crusts too.

Turn out, knead, shape, make an utter mess of your somewhat clean kitchen, cut.

No biscuit cutter?  Can’t find the biscuit cutter that you used merely 12 hours before?  Cut into triangles or squares or trapezoids.  Beaners scones were triangular.

Cold butter hitting a very hot oven…talk about your scones getting some air.  Poof!   Magic.

 

Wanna know a trick to icing that my mom shared with me … to make icing harden quickly before it all drips off…pop icing covered- insert type of baked good here- into a hot oven ( I used 400F this go around ) for about 20 seconds, NO MORE.  Your icing will come out on your baked good and not on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Every baker needs a few tricks up her sleeves … or apron?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze
 
makes about 10 to 12 scones
Ingredients
  • 2 + ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup + 3 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar, divided
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking POWDER
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
  • ½ Cup (1 stick) Cold Unsalted Butter, diced
  • 1+1/4 Cup Fresh Cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 + ¼ Cup Powdered (confectioner's) Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon grated Orange Zest
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss together roughly chopped cranberries and 3 Tablespoons of sugar in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ½ Cup Sugar, salt, baking powder, and orange zest.
  4. With a pastry blender, two knives, or finger tips cut butter into flour/zest mixture until butter is pea sized. (if this proves difficult, I find it best to grate butter, freeze, and then cut grated frozen butter into flour/zest mixture)
  5. Fold in cranberries until combined.
  6. In a small bowl (same bowl that cranberries were in), whisk together heavy cream and eggs. Pour over flour mixture and gently stir until the dough begins to come together.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6 or 7 times. Pat dough into a disk/rectangle that is about 1 inch in thickness. Cut scones in 2x2inch rectangles or use a 2 inch biscuit cutter and cut dough into rounds. Place scones about 2 to 3 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, orange zest and orange juice.
  11. Spoon icing over cooled scones.
  12. Store in airtight container.

Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread

I don’t like banana things.  I like bananas…I take that back, I love actual, real life, peel and eat, yellow … and let’s be clear on the yellow…darkish yellow, not the new yellow that leads one to believe it was green just moments ago… they must be, ya know, perfectly ripe bananas.  I just detest banana things.  What does banana things include?  I am so very glad you asked…you didn’t?  Oh! Well…too bad.

Banana chips or dried bananas – ya know, those thin slices of hardened fruit (errr dried) that are found primarily in trail mixes that inevitably result in the almonds, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, M&M’s (or chocolate buttons if you aren’t careful), and heaven knows what else they have thought to cram into trail mixes these days, taste like bananas.  Gross.  Gawdawful.

 

Banana flavored Runts (or any banana ‘flavored’ candy).  Who eats this stuff?  It doesn’t even remotely taste like a banana.  Have the creators of the infamous banana ‘flavor’ actually consumed a banana in their life?  I think not.  Banana flavored Laffy Taffy – NO!  1)  It doesn’t taste like bananas and 2) Laffy Taffy never fails to numb my lips, resulting in me drooling on myself.  Fact.

Banana Splits.  Bananas DO NOT belong in my ice cream.  Brownies, cookies, nuts, cherries, strawberries…yes, go right ahead – join the ice cream party…but bananas, please stay at home, you are not welcome.  And speaking of ice cream, banana flavored popsicles…who enjoys these so-called treats?  Probably you…and I have now offended you, but I can’t be sorry because it is disgusting.

 

 

And have you seen on Pinterest these two ingredient banana cookies and banana frozen ‘yogurt’ or would it be ice cream?  First, these are labeled as ‘healthy’…well, yes, bananas are healthy, or healthier than say a bag of potato chips or Oreos, however – they are chock full of sugar and eating a tray of banana cookies – which is inevitably what will happen when something is labeled healthy and is also a cookie…you will undoubtedly eat a dozen of them and still crave the damn chocolate chip cookie that you were trying to avoid in the first place, which would have been a wiser choice (because you would have only eaten 1, ha!) plus, it wouldn’t have tasted like a banana.  Which leads me to the second point…why would you want a banana flavored cookie…just eat a banana or a cookie.  No need to mash the two together.   ACK!

Banana bread/muffins/cakes/pancakes/waffles….No where near my cup of tea (or coffee – we are talking about me here…).  Banana nut muffins are my morning nemesis.  Mark this down…it is THE ONE sweet good that I will turn down given the chance ( not counting the banana cookies mentioned above)….  How come when heat is applied to a banana, all of its heavenly goodness is removed?  Banana foster – no, just give me the pound cake and butter/sugar/caramel goodness and perhaps swap the bananas for peaches or apples.  Or plums.  Why bananas?  Peach foster, please.

There are slight exceptions to the rule…a plain old banana can be fancied up with a dollop of peanut butter or sliced and covered in chocolate hard shell sauce and frozen.  And I think the chocolate bit needs emphasized…the bananas must be sliced and never placed whole on a stick, frozen, and dipped in chocolate, and then eaten in public.  No one, and I mean NO ONE can pull off eating a chocolate covered banana on a stick in public.  NO ONE!  Maybe my head is in the gutter…it normally is…but come on!

Get the point?  I greatly dislike bananas unless it is just a banana…so why do I continue to bake banana bread?  Because I am bonkers and think that if I stuff more things into banana bread that I will actually enjoy it (next up, peanut butter banana bread?!?)…and honestly, this chocolate banana bread came pretty damn close and so did this chocolate banana zucchini bread…I think the common link here is the chocolate.

This go around, I stuffed cherries, chocolate (that was sea salted), and walnuts along side the bananas…Think Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, but with the addition of banana and well, bread.  I don’t know.  But I do know my older brother would have eaten the whole loaf given the chance, since cherry cordial ice cream is his favorite and he actually likes bananas in his ice cream or he likes bananas in his bread.  What?!?  All I know, he eats what I bake and well he didn’t get any….but he would have liked it.  Those that were lucky enough to have this stuffed into their bags as they were leaving my house ( you don’t leave without a doggy bag made from my freezer) texted me as they arrived home, that the this bread was delicious and the chocolate made it nice and rich.

I’ll have to take their word for it.

Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread
 
makes 1 loaf (9x5)
Ingredients
  • 1+1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅓ Cup 2% Greek Yogurt
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted and cooled
  • 1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 overly ripe bananas)
  • ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Cup Pitted Cherries
  • ½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped
  • 4 ounce dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped (or about ½ cup chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside. (i also use parchment paper and let a little bit hang over the edges for easy removal)
  2. In a small bowl, toss together cherries and almond extract. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together melted butter and bananas. Blend in eggs and yogurt. Mix until everything is well combined.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in cherries (with any juice in bowl), toasted walnuts, and chocolate to batter.
  7. Pour batter (it'll be thick, so I use the term 'pour', lightly) into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven and bake until toothpick, when inserted near the middle comes out nearly clean with a few crumbs attached - about 50-60 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for about 20 minutes before inverting on wire rack and letting cool completely.

 

 

Raspberry Jam Bars

 

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.

Raspberry Jam Bars
 
makes one 9 inch square pan (about 9 bars)
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper (easy removal).
  2. Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
  3. 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.
  4. Press ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan and about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan.
  5. Spread the jam over the crust, leaving about a ¼ inch border.
  6. Mix the granola with the remaining dough. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the jam. Scatter slivered almonds over crumb topping.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 - 50 minutes until the top begins to turn golden brown.
  8. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

slightly adapted from Ina Garten.