Honey Roasted Pecans

It is …

Warm soft bun, salty all beef hotdog – season.

Cold overpriced I’ll take two to avoid lengthy lines later beer – season.

Red striped boxes  chock-full of salty butter flavored popcorn – season.

Enormous plastic must collect all by season’s end souvenir cups – season.

Helmet nacho season.  Enough said.

Eat my weight in roasted salted peanuts and then wonder why my fingers are swollen the following day – season.

The urge to purchase cotton candy every time the vendor wanders done my aisle – season.

It is watch, listen, breath baseball – season.

If you are new to my place here, welcome!  I am so very glad you stopped by … but know…I love baseball.  The game, the atmosphere, the strategy involved, the precision of the field, the crack of a bat, the hot dog races, the call of a homer, the pop of the ball inside a cather’s mit, a 4-6-3 double play, a 2 out rally, a walk off…

It makes my heart sing.  My soul to dance.  My very cells to shimmy.

And today friends (and by the time you read this…it will be a bit after the fact)…today is Opening Day  in the great city of Cleveland.  It is an unrecognized widely celebrated local holiday.  Vacation days are taken, school is skipped, sick days are had.  Sun, rain, snow, clouds, wind – we as, Cleveland Indian Fans, come out in hoards and celebrate the beginning of the baseball season.   All of us thinking, this is our year.

I made a snack for today that would be great for any ballgame from now through October (fingers crossed!).  At home, in the stadium, at a cookout.  The batch here, is nearly all gone, since I ate them while watching re-runs of The Office and drinking coffee…but I will be making many more to be enjoyed while sitting on the patio, listening to Tom call a game, sipping on a cold brew.

We are talking crisp nutty pecans and oh – so sweet honey, finished with a fine layer of sugar (eek!) and coarse kosher salt.
People!  It is baseball season!!!  Wahoo!

4 Ingredients.  Pecan halves.  Honey.  Sugar.  Salt.

Warmed honey.  Pecans coated.  This is where life gets good.

All kinds of sticky going on.  Guess what?  I don’t like sticky.  I hate sticky. I tolerate sticky.

Easy to tolerate when sticky is wrapped around pecans.  Not so much when the sticky is wrapped inconspicuously around a spoon handle…ARGH!

Sticky pecans, single layer, parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake.

Bake.  Sugar.  Salt.  Cool.

 

Graze while they cool.  Taste testing, if you will.  Quality control.

Pile into jam jars … perfect transport vessel for such a large number of my favorite things.  Jam, jelly, booze, nuts…

Grab me a beer (or a cup of coffee), a handful of these honey roasted pecans, a good ballgame, and I am set.  (p.s…my inner 90 year old is jumping hobbling for joy!)

Enjoy!!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Honey Roasted Pecans
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Whole Pecan Halves (unroasted)
  • ⅓ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Coarse Salt (Kosher)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave safe dish, warm honey in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen it up.
  3. Place pecans in a medium mixing bowl and pour warmed honey over pecans. Toss to coat pecans well.
  4. Pour pecans out onto prepared baking sheet, separating pecans with a fork until they are in a single layer.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and re-spread out into an even layer. Return to oven for an additional 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes – make sure the pecans are not layered and that they are, for the most part, not sticking to each other. If need be, separate with a fork.
  6. After five minutes, sprinkle with sugar and salt and let cool for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Once cooled, break apart any large pieces and transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for several days.

 

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Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie

Did you spring break?  Break for spring.  I am still waiting on spring…but that is another story…I won’t talk about the snow that greeted me this morning that had me silently weeping and cursing mother nature and wishing I lived in where snow was not in the vernacular after the calendar moved beyond winter.  (side note…that snow was one week ago.  We had another 7 inches on this past Saturday.)  I am done.  That is my rant. It snowed.  boo hoo.  It’s spring.  Kinda.

I am instituting a break for spring next year.  Too early to make 2015 resolutions?  It is about being prepared, people.

I am going to drive south or south west until I reach a consistent day time temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have no real destination in mind.  No real plan mapped in my head.  Only warm weather, fresh air, flip flops, refreshing cocktails, good company.  That is all that is needed.  No cruises with added expeditions.  No all inclusive clubs that require a 20 hour flight and drinking water restrictions.  None of that.  Simple and quiet and warm.  In 2015, in March…for one week…that is where you will find me.  Fingers crossed.

Until then…I have pie!  No substitute for spring break vacation…but, it’s a decent consolation prize for like 34th place.
Lemon buttermilk chess pie is all about bringing the south to you.   And with hope in my heart, bringing warm weather as well.  I am sort of caught up on this warm weather bit…I apologize.

And we are rollin…

Pie Crust : Flour, salt, sugar.  Butter.  Buttermilk.  Kaboom.

Cold butter into flour.  Stop when butter is pea sized.  Work fast.  If butter gets to warm and begins to soften, place in freezer for 15 minutes until chilled again.  Continue on…

Buttermilk in.  Stir until combined.  Turn out onto floured surface…knead a few times, gently, until a soft shaggy dough ball forms.  Don’t overwork.  You might need a bit more buttermilk.  It depends.

Pie crust needs to chill out in the fridge…just for a bit.  Not something you want to skip.  That butter needs to get cold again and the gluten needs to some R and R.

My crust never seems to keep it’s nice crimped edges…but, I have it at some point during the process.  That is good enough for me.

Say Hello! to my pie beans.  Blind baking…not as scary as it sounds.

Gather.  Eggs, citrus, sugar, flour, corn meal, butter, buttermilk.  Basic winter pantry stock items.

I like using zest … it is about using the whole fruit.

We are squeezing every last bit out of these lemons….

 And that orange.  Just the juice though.

Rubbing zest into sugar is stress relieving … smashing zest into granules of sugar and then the heavy aroma of citrus making its way to your nose… talk about sugar scrub meets aroma therapy meets sweet lemon flavored sugar.  Hello, Heaven!

Cornmeal assists flour today in the thickening department…it also brings a bit of texture to the table too.

 Eggs.  5.

But first, melted butter.  Cooled.  And then those lovely eggs are whisked in.  Whisk with all your  might until it’s all smooth and silky.   We are pie baking and bicep building…

Lemon and orange juice.

Piled dirty dishes … small bowls piled … makes my innards feel good.

Whisked bubbles.

It’s a pour and bake situation.

Share it.  Totally share it. We are in the business of making people happy.  Pie = fast route to happiness.

Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie
 
Ingredients
Pie Crust
  • ½ Cup of Butter, cold (very)
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ Cup Buttermilk – very cold
Filling
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 5 Tablespoon Butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ Cup Buttermilk
  • 7 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
Prepare Pie Crust
  1. Cut butter into small chunks or shred using a cheese grater. Place butter in freezer for about 10 minutes. While butter is chilling, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss butter in flour mixture and begin to break down the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers (this will be faster if you grate the butter). Work until butter is pea-sized. Return mixture to freezer for an additional 10 minutes – keeping the butter cold is key.
  2. Remove from freezer and form a well into the center of the mixture and pour in ice cold buttermilk all at once. With your hand or a fork, stir the flour into buttermilk well. A dough ball will begin to form, but the dough will be rather shaggy – if it remains rather dry, add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for an hour to chill out. This will give time for the butter to get cold again and the flour to get moist.
  3. After one hour, remove dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll dough out into a 12 inch wide circle. Transfer pie dough to a 9 inch pie dish and without stretching dough, tuck the pie dough into the dish. There will be excess dough hanging over edges. If needed, trim off anything beyond ½ inch or so. Crimp edges with thumb and pointer fingers. Place pie in freezer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F
  5. Remove from freezer and with a large piece of tinfoil (about 2 pie lengths) – line pie crust with tinfoil, tucking it along the bottom and edges. Leave a few inches of foil hanging over the edges for easy removal later. Fill tinfoil lined pie crust wtih dried beans.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and carefully remove tinfoil and dried beans. Set aside and reuse for future pies. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork 8 to 10 times. Return to oven and continue to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden brown. If the crust begins to puff up along the edges or bottom, poke tiny holes into those areas with a sharp paring knife. Remove from oven and let cool competely on a wire rack. Prepare filling.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon zest and both sugars. Rub zest into sugar using your fingers. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Stir in melted butter. Add eggs, mixing well between each addition. When all the eggs are added, stir filling briskly until thickened and light in color.
  4. Stir in buttermilk, lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  5. Strain mixture into partially pre baked pie crust and place in preheated oven. Bake until edges are puffed up and set and the center jiggles just a tad when it is nudged. The top will be golden brown. About 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t over bake.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack for 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. Stores in refrigerator up to 2 to 3 days.

Hot Fudge Cheesecake w/ Brownie Crust

So, I had some hot fudge leftover this past week.
Awww shucks, right?
And, well…I was totally cool with just eating it by the spoonful.  Like, no problem.  What.SO.Ever.
But then I thought…
I could be eating this by the forkful…
Atop cheesecake…
Which lay atop a large, thick intense chocolate brownie.

And the fork wins again.
I get some really good thinking done in front of that fridge of mine.
Like, I don’t have a large enough butter reserve, I need more limes (gin and tonic too, for that matter), I need to stop by bags of carrots and bunches of bananas, and there is no use in hiding chocolate behind the yogurt …

Screw the shower.

Watch as an idea comes to life…it is kind of the greatest.  Even if it is just a cheesecake.
We build from the bottom up…brownie crust first.

Butter + unsweetened chocolate is the base to the base.

My go to double boiler – glass bowl and smallest saucepan I can find.  Same set up, each time. Works like a dream.

Sugar, eggs, and a bit of flour round out the brownie.  KISS….Keep.  It.  Simple.  Silly…..

First goes the sugar…

Eggs are whisked…one at a time…(and then vanilla….always, vanilla)

Flour and salt round out the brownie batter…heed the warning and don’t over mix brownie batter.  Like.  Ever.  This has been a public service announcement.

Springform pan it goes…and let bowl licking commence.

Just the basics for the filling: Cream cheese, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla.  No more.  No less.

Ready for some magic?

Just like that…we have a baked cheesecake, a table set, and hot fudge at the ready.
Honestly…I lost natural light as the cheesecake was being mixed…so you missed cream cheese, sugar,and flour being beat until smooth; eggs added one at a time; a lot of bowl scraping – different from bowl licking.

And then you expose your chubby hand to the world and drizzle/pour/drench your cake in hot fudge.

Keep it coming…because we are going for this end result…

Hot fudge waterfall.

Fridge thinking has yet and probably will never produce any major breakthrough plans/skeems ending world wars or curing cancer…however, at least, every now and then I buy fewer bananas and you get a Hot Fudge slathered cheesecake with a rich chocolate brownie crust to drool over…In the short run, it is a total win win.

Hot Fudge Cheesecake w/ Brownie Crust
 
Ingredients
Brownie Crust
  • 3 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate (not bittersweet/semi/milk)
  • 1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 1+1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅔ Cup All-Purpose Flour
Cheesecake Filling
  • 5- 8 Ounce Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1+3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
Hot Fudge Topping – about 1+1/2 Cups (never had a problem with too much hot fudge!)
Instructions
Crust
  1. Line a 9inch springform pan’s removable base with parchment paper. Butter sides or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a double boiler (bowl sitting atop a pan of simmering water ) or in microwave in 30 second bouts, stirring between each, melt together butter and chocolate. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in sugar until combined. (it will be rather grainy)
  5. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
  6. Whisk together salt and flour. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out nearly clean with just a few crumbs sticking around.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare filling.
Note
  1. Brownie crust can be made a day or two before you prepare filling. Keep at room temperature and cover tightly with foil/plastic wrap.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Remember to scrape sides and bottom of bowl between each addition.
  4. To bake cheesecake in a water bath (makes for even baking), double wrap springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place wrapped spring form pan in a roasting pan ( I used a disposable one )
  5. Pour filling into crust, the filling will reach the very brim of the springform pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to reach about ½ way up the sides of springform pan. Place roasting pan with cheesecake into preheated oven and bake for about 75 to 90 minutes until top of cheesecake is browned/golden, the top is just barely firm to touch (the very center of cake should giggle only slightly when pan is nudged), and the top appears dry. Turn oven off and open oven door so it is just ajar (I place a wooden spoon in oven door to keep it just barely open) and let cheesecake sit in warm water bath for an additional hour. Remove from oven and water bath and remove tinfoil from around pan. Let cool completely on wire rack and then transfer cake to fridge and chill completely for at least 6 hours.
  6. If you are choosing to make hot fudge from scratch, make it while the cake is chilling. Recipe on previous post and to follow…
  7. Once chilled, remove from fridge and run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from sides of pan, remove side of pan from cake and transfer cake to a plate. Pour hot fudge onto the top of the cheesecake, spreading the fudge to the edges of the cheesecake, allowing fudge to drip down sides. Return cake to fridge, allowing fudge to thicken/harden – let chill until ready to serve. Chilling once fudge is atop cake will allow for easier slicing.

 

Hot Fudge topping … recipe here (my last post) or head to the grocery/local ice cream shoppe and grab your favorite.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

Basic Hot Fudge

I am not a picky eater.  It is probably an adjective (or adverb)…how about a descriptive term? – Picky is a descriptive term that has never been placed before my name…especially when it comes to food.  Another word that has never been used to describe me?  Grammar enthusiast.

I am the coworker eating the crust that has been carefully plucked off your pb&j…because we don’t agree on the fact that the crust is the best part.  I am the coworker eating your ‘too’ ripe banana or slightly bruised apple.  I am the co-worker eating the last of your funny tasting celery and peanut butter or the last few pieces of cubed cheese that no one wanted because apparently swiss cheese is ‘gross’.  Gasp!

Oh heavens, I am the resident goat.

I am the roommate insisting that the milk is still okay 3 days after the date stamped on the jug…as long as it smells alright.  I am the roommate eating yogurt and sour cream well beyond any sell by date…because it is just that, the sell by date…not the eat by date.  Green fuzzy growth is the natural eat by date and then, only then, shall it meet its final resting place at the bottom of the trash can.

I am the friend who can not, for the life of me, pick a restaurant for any meal during the day.  It is one part indecisiveness  and two parts non-picky.  I have never entered a restaurant and been unable to eat off their menu because nothing suited me.

I don’t mind leftovers for 2 nights.  Or egg sandwiches all week.  I have eaten tuna for dinner for an entire year of college, by choice- mercury levels are still pending.  I would never turn down eggs if they weren’t made to my liking – because I don’t have a liking.  I’ll take any piece of toast slathered with any type of jelly or pb or honey or cinnamon + sugar, or just salted butter.  I just like toast.  Same goes for donuts (doughnuts?).  I don’t care…it is fried dough covered in something made of sugar – glazed, cake, long john, jelly – okay!  Where is there room for picky?

Room for picky exists only in the sweet sweet world of desserts.

I see it as…if I am going to spend calories on a brownie or a cookie or a slice of pie…it had better be up to par and as good or better than what I can make in my own kitchen.  It should be to my specifications.  I want a brownie that is fudgy and chewy and well, chocolatey…I do not want a cake-like brownie that faintly tastes like chocolate was merely thought about during the baking process.  If I wanted a cake like brownie I would have chosen cake … and since cake is my 5th favorite dessert, I doubt I chose cake in the first place.  And speaking of cake, I am starting to prefer white to chocolate and I despise anything but a decadent thick sugary buttercream icing slathered atop it.  And I prefer cheesecake to any other cake and that cheesecake should have a vanilla or chocolate cookie crust … because graham crackers don’t belong on the bottom of cakes.  Pie is mainly about the buttery flakey crust and unless it is a slice of sugar cream pie, I will take fruit pie every time.   Preferably, blueberry.  And cookies…well, I have learned that if it is the size of my noggin, it will probably have me wishing I had opted for just the coffee.

And finally, if you are gonna take me out for ice cream…and it isn’t Dairy Queen where I will inevitably order a Blizzard with 4 different candies blended in because…I am indecisive – M&M’s, Snickers, Butterfinger, and Oreos.  I will love you forever if your ice cream parlor has a hot fudge that is thick and rich and becomes almost chewy when it hits the cold chocolate ice cream.   Think  more marshmallow cream consistency and less Hershey syrup.

Wanna hit the bar with me?  Sundae bar.  And with those extra cherries…well, I have bourbon too (passtt….they aren’t these fancy ones, but they’ll do the trick!)

Get your toppings lined up.  Like an army.  A bit of mise en place I can get behind.  Gotta keep and stay organized.

Step 1 : Find yourself some ice cream.  ( Anyone else have a song in their head? – Just me? )

 Step 2:  Creamy cream that is whipped, all light and fluffy….Or out of the can.  All light and fluffy.

Step 3:  Drizzle on the good stuff.  Spoon it on.  Ladle it on.  Pour it on.  Do it.

Step 4:  SPRINKLES!

Step 5:  With a cherry on top.

This life ain’t too shabby.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Basic Hot Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half)
  • ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ⅓ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Ounces Chocolate, finely chopped and divided – used a mixture of milk and bittersweet
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. In a 1 quart pan, combine heavy cream (or half and half), corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and 3 ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir to combine.
  2. Place over medium to moderate heat and stir mixture until chocolate melts and mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Decrease heat and cook mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally – about few stirs at each minute break works well.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla, and remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.
  5. Let sauce cool until it is warm before pouring over ice cream. Store in sealed glass container in refrigerator – will keep for one week. Reheat before serving (microwave for 30 second, stir, another 30 second, stir)

 

Blood Orange Bars with Browned Butter Crust

The West Side Market…which for the first few years of residing in Cleveland, I referred to it as the West End Market, but with Cleveland not having a West and East end, but West and East sides…it confused most folks,  in that midwestern way, where those with whom you are chatting know exactly what/where you are talking about/of but fein ignorance when you (the newbie) slightly get the name wrong of a prized lankmark.  When I spoke of the West End Market, you would have thought I was talking about a place in Egypt.  It drove the boyfriend at that time…mad.  Down right crazy.  And Egypt, well … people really do reference that country when I talk of my home town of Cairo – –Ohio that is and pronounced like the syrup and not the Egyptian city, which would (and does) get me awkward glances because, unbeknownst to me, not everyone is familiar with such brand of corn syrup.  To which, I would (will) just throw up my hands, ask if they live under a rock, and explain that Cairo has an elevator, a place where grain is stored – not a human mover.

Cleveland’s West Side Market is a total gem.  I have spoke of it here before.  How could I not?  Food lover or not – it is hard not to fall in love with the place for one small reason or another.  I find charm in the whole kitten caboodle.  There is a method when you go.  First, you check out the veggies/fruit section…but you will return and retrace your steps later because the deals only improve as the day progresses.  And who wants to carry around a melon all afternoon?  But as you walk and scan and dodge oncoming traffic, you will be called to/hustled by those manning the produce sections.  ’Blueberries, 2 for $3.  A slice of orange for the pretty lady.  Pineapple? ‘  It will be crowded, loud, and one too many strollers ( if it be a weekend), but I believe that is what makes it great.  The energy that is contained in those stalls makes grocery shopping at a supermarket seem unbearable… minus the strollers – those I could live the rest of my days without (sorry moms, while I see their practicality, they are not meant for crowded markets where merely walking can be difficult, one does not like to encounter a stroller in the shin when going for some kielbasa…I think you can understand).

Once you have adequately surveyed the produce and made a mental note of the stand with the ripest tomatoes or the cheapest lemons – you head on over to the market house, which houses over 100 vendors – ranging from those selling homemade pasta to pigs feet and everything in-between.  But before you notice any of this…anything at all, you will be confronted with an array of smells that work only to entice and seduce you to venture further into the mass of fellow market goers.

Your eyes catch up with your olfactory senses and what lies before you is an interior concourse, laid out in a maze of squares…vendors lining each square side, optimizing surface area.  The floor is worn red brick, smooth, slick, and full of character.  The ceiling, however, is my favorite aspect of the market itself.  It is arched, which isn’t quite as noticeable from the outside as it is on the inside, and is a Gustivano ‘tile arch system‘ creation.  The building itself is more rectangular(think football field) than square (however all squares are rectangles, just not all rectangles are squares) and at the bookends of the building, there are large blue tinted opaque windows, letting diffused natural light in…and on the far end of the main hall, overlooking the lovely chaos, is a large ornate clock, teal in color,  and an American flag.

My first stop is and will forever be a stop for coffee… bit of caffeinated fuel and then I am off.  I do best when I venture to the market alone because if there is one thing I do well, it is navigate a crowd.  I am like a running back – find the holes and never stop moving your legs.  This being said, The Market is one of my must-go favorite places to take family and friends who are visiting for a weekend or  a great place to meet friends and gather ingredients for a dinner to be fixed at home, together over a bottle of wine.  Young toddlers to aging grandparents to grumpy teenagers, it is a fast favorite for all.

This past excursion was made on a rainy cold Saturday afternoon – coffee was drank, the best peppered beef jerky was snacked upon, fresh kielbasa and homemade peiroges were bought with dinner in mind, brandy filled cordials were hidden away, a lemon curd and strawberry preserve crepe was swooned over and devoured while walking in the rain (the crepe man needs his own post – he was making lives better one crepe at a time), and blood oranges were coveted.

I have a problem finding  blood oranges.  I don’t live near a Whole Foods and the grocery near me does not find blood oranges to be a necessity when they have an ample amount of perfectly decent naval oranges piled high down aisle 3.  So, when I came across blood oranges at the West Side Market, I may have squealed in delight and bought six from the very first stand.

 

 

Blood Orange Bars
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Cup of Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 12 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Zest
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • Powdered Sugar – for dusting
Instructions
  1. Begin by browning the butter for the crust. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. The butter will begin to pop and sizzle and then foam and then eventually turn clear and golden, with a wooden spoon or spatula or by swirling the pan, stir the butter until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan start to turn brown. Once they have reached a deep amber color, remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE – it will burn in a moments notice. From start to finish, this should take about 10 minutes. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes to harden.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8x11inch baking dish (or an 8×8 – the crust will just be a tad thicker, or you can make the edges higher) with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Once the butter has become a solid again, use a pastry blender, fork, two knives, or fingers, blend butter and egg yolk into dry ingredients until butter is smaller than pea sized and mixture resembles coarse sand. The dough will be extremely crumbly.
  4. Dump dough into parchment lined baking dish and press into the bottom of the pan and about half way up the sides if using an 8×11 inch pan or further up the sides if using an 8x8inch pan.
  5. Place in preheated oven for about 20 to 22 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool while you make filling. Keep oven on.
  6. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Have a metal strainer at the ready.
  7. In a medium pan (about 3 qts), combine blood orange juice, sugar, butter, and zest. Place over medium – low heat and stir until butter melts.
  8. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of warm orange mixture into the whisked eggs, stirring constantly, tempering them. Whisk the warm orange and egg mixture back into sauce pan containing the rest of the orange mixture.
  9. Cook over medium – low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon with very little dripping off.
  10. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing it through using a spatula (catching any small pieces of cooked egg and zest) into pre-baked crust. Place in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until filling is set and the edges are golden in color.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Prior to serving, dust with powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator in air tight container upto 3 days or so.