Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peanut butter Oreo blondies

Blondies weren't part of my vernacular until pretty recent, we go back not more than 5 years. Being a knownoother Brownie loyalist I  had no room in my tastebud horizon for any bar outside the dark and intense. Therein, I had a maddeningly hard time in accepting those pale types, something almost-like-but-not-quite chewycrusted one. Finally I came to, fonding often for a newfound coffeeshop version, having me realize, there really is no competition, both could coexist in harmony, perfect in their own ways, and totally putting my mind to rest. 

The middle sunk a bit, and still so *gasp gasp* good.

Moreever, I did notice that numerous blondie recipes on the WWW were on the most part decent. Whereas, 99 % of brownies I came across, fell into 1 of 2 categories: dry-cakey air or bitter-fudged gunk. No worries here, since I've had my fair share of gold from the swamp. Further to that, a certain fair bombshell did a one up in my mind- that's when a high appreciation for the bars came into being. I now see you can't do much wrong with this toffeelike treat and its variant possibilities.

Browned buttered bar introduced by Martha is where I truly and first fell prey. A disarmingly yummy one, that I hope to unload with thoughts, right here, possibly after I find it it from my zillion point list of  HaveTo's, WantTo's and MustDo' s. But that's talk for another day.

Today, I want you to not only get excited about my subject, that had me do a once over, this blondie spiel which requires a more- than-glimpse- and- go. Instead you should ogle, dwell until resoluteness hits and mental-up the ingredients, one-by one. This is for you. Can I hear you squeal?

Centered horizontal, you should place the cookies soclosetoeach, that there is ample assurance of scoring an Oreo on every bite.

PbO blondie is a dense one, so stinking fabulous that it kind of screams it with every slice.  In its name is key ingredient peanut butter, which gets whipped in, giving ethereal fluff, providing blondie's pronouced flavor, and perhaps height. And these ones probably need that extent upward due to an overambitious padded midsection. With more than 2 rows of Oreos marking the best point territory, this surprise-in-the-center is almost the final gilding of the lily. Almost. A freeform layer of white chocolate chips withered across milk's favorite cookie takes the insane eat to its ne plus ultra destiny.

And here, the sugar-to- sugar ratio hits perfect proportion, allowing for a gooey middle and crisp edges. 

You're right, it is an outrageously overdone piece of confection, a jampacked hunkabar, beyond awesome, and very picture pretty. Supertraits indeed, considering the same earns some Blondies  beateuous capes and flying hammers. Just saying.

Serve these with milk and your kids might throw you a cape, maybe a crown too. Or be like me, test a few on your own. Though, it could be hard to stop at *cough, cough* 3 . Oh well, expectations of fixed Thighmaster intervals and some quality stretch pants fill my future. Worth and worth it, I tell you, except maybe for the pants.

  • ⅔ cup soft butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¾ c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ c  half and half
  • enough Oreo cookies to spread side by side (probably about 16-18), and depending on size of pan
  • ½ (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips 
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, or for thinner bars a 9×13 pan will be fine.
  • On medium speed using an electric mixer beat together butter, brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Reduce speed, a flour and baking powder and mix till incorporated. Add the half and half and mix. 
  • Spread half the batter in the prepared dish; layer Oreos evenly over the batter. Top with white chips. Then top with remaining half of batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of your pan (less time for a rectangle, more time for a square) until golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes clean, with maybe a few sticky crumbs, since the effect is for a chewy soft center.

This time, last year: Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake. A dessert repeat for Thanksgiving again this year. So very good.
"The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom." Deuteronomy 28:13

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dulce de leche sandwich cookies~ Hello again with Alfajores

Where do I start? Perhaps more pertinent is how do I start? The picture right up top, maybe? Does that work? It should because that would lead me to the weather, which, in effect, will carry on to where I went for nearly two, no, three months.

So. These are cookies. AlfajoresAwesome sweet sandwiches with crammed insides of luscious dulce de leche. Two cookies are needed to eat it as one. And you probably won't stop with just that one. These beauties come from Latin America, are practically the national food of Argentina and have numerous derivations from all parts of the Spanish speaking world. Here is where I was smitten. It was an absolute glorious shout to my soul, yes, I was to make these.

Our season of Autumn is well on its way to being over, and we really have no show of flametouched trees or crunchyleafed sidewalks here in these Southwest reaches of the U.S.. No, we scene it up by creating our own Fall colors. Brilliant rusts, far- out burgundies, burnt siennas come easy with the help of compartmentalized Wilton jars, the right throwin of brights for a blah pre-winter existence. So, this  now declared my new favorite cookie has thematically been dredged in color and fanciful texture. And even if the Autumnal spell of time is almost over, I can customize my delicate alpha-hoar-ay to a countless whereafter, whenafter, whatever it may be.

So where did the season I missed a good two thirds of go? Why so long a break in my food banterings? Was I lost? No. Did you miss me? I hope so.

There leads me to my next point in task. Explaining "what the(?),where the(?)"after buttermilk and cheddar biscuits?

Cut to the short. It was lightning quick- the decision to go on a trip, the vacation that was long past, and maddeningly overdue. A chunk of The Sojourn was spent on the wee Southern tip of India, Kerala, homeland of ours, which some call God's own country. Huh? Yes, I've sung the ballad of the native, once-upon- a- time habitat of mine and JZ's on numerous pages. Look through and maybe you'll find something; here, here ,here and maybe even here.

Now what do you think our multi-month trip involved?

Spot on you are. It did involve a plane (s).

About 400 lbs of bags.

Fun with family.


 Kissing elephants.

Shopping. *SMILE. SMILE*

More eating.

Clanning with those siblings in Dubai. How does it go(?)...." a family that eats together..."

Viewing big buildings.

To back again. God's own country and commerce beckon. I do my part to rightfully answer.

Saying goodbye without squeezing in some more? Not done. Not ever.

And there you go. This my people is what led to a major PTMM (post-trip-mind-muddle). My "maybe tomorrow"stance that led to a followup month of procrastinating funk.

Wow, that was totally not what this post was supposed to be about, right? I know, the audacity, you say, practically outlined a whole month and half's journey from a not-enough-pixel phone camera when all you wanted was a recipe.

OK, ok, now we backtrack to our real subject. Alfajores, the cookie that was my baking therapy, my mind projecting wonderment, after such a long time, as to their delightful sandwiched loveliness, even without the adornments. Brilliant be these, with the soft crumble of shortbread due mostly to a regimented amount of cornstarch thrown into the dry mixings. And yes, they are wonderful solo, but, why even, when you know a can of dulce is as effortless to make than possibly to buy.

Further a pair with caramel glue on the edges, and you have the next  level of jawdropping delicious. Sided with coconut, nuts or colorful others, there it takes on an ambitious, beyond scale confection. 

I want to really harp on the fact that these are so easy to put together, starting with a very forgiving dough, and the simplest filling ever. Your greatest feat, however, will be in prying off the fiending hands that have already decided the destiny of your newly assembled cookie.

( Cookie recipe adapted from here)
  • 1 c cornstarch
  • ¾ c all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
  • ⅓ c sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • *1 c dulce de leche
  • Coconut, crushed nuts, shaved chocolate or anything you desire for toppings
  • In a bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Combine; set aside.
  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted and mix on medium speed, until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  • Mix in the egg yolks one at a time, then brandy, and vanilla. Combine well.
  • Reduce speed to low, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated with no visible lumps.
  • Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into disk, and wrap it tightly. Place in the refrigerator until firm, about an hour
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Alternatively you could roll dough between 2 sheets of parchment.
  • Using a 2" cookie cutter, stamp out  app 24-26 circles.
  • Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, at least ½" apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are firm and pale golden on the bottom, about 10-12 minutes. Take out of oven, wait 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Flip cookies upside down and fill one cookie with about 2 tsp of the dulce de leche. Place a second cookie on top and press. 
  • To decorate outsides, spread a thin layer of dulce on the outsides of cookie sandwiches and roll in desired topping. We really loved the *toasted coconut.
Notes~ To toast coconut: Place coconut flakes in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the flakes are golden brown. Beware- sweetened will brown faster.
If in oven- preheat to 325° F, spread flakes on baking sheet in single layer. After a couple of minutes, take out and stir. Return and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on it the whole time.

*Ahh dulce de leche! You can either buy a can or make the caramel luscious all on your own. See for yourself how easy it is~

Just if... I had more limbs and the hands that were helping weren't eating faster than they were actually helping, I would've made hundreds of these Pretties, all assembled side by side. Then. Slowly. One by one.

Thank you all... you encouragers, helpful commenters, senders of inspiring messages and friendly inboxers on FB. Not to mention, you, silent readers, thanks for being such an accommodating audience- it was wonderful to see that readership did not die, though I was shamefully lax. I am very grateful for being able to write and finish this particular task, I know how long it had been edging on my mind. My soul sings, for great is My Enabler and His grace is sufficient. He busted me out of my mind/writer/blogger/whateveryouwannacallit funk, and transmitted my thoughts to this here screen. God is good. All the time.  

So we''ll meet again. And soon this time.

Why not ? One for the road and all alone :-)

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4 (KJV)