Foodbuzz

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Cranberry Hand Pies


Sometimes contrast does come in delicious formats when it comes to food. One of the contrasts is sweet and tart. Outside of citrus fruits, cranberry offers quite a bit of the tart. Teamed with orange and some sugar, these little deliver the perfect contrast, just when you crave a little bit of fruit pie.

Due to the level of tartness, I feel that cranberries in a whole 1-1 1/2 inch deep pie would be a little too overwhelming. Making the smaller form of hand pies with cranberries lend themselves to a more balance of flavor. They are tasty on their own, but serving them warm with a scoop of ice cream makes them even better.

My posting and baking is waning down to just a few times a month. This change has made way for me to dabble in dinner entrees. It seems as if dinner has become repetitive types of meals, so it is time to start changing it up and trying new things. My cooking partner (husband) is looking forward to it.

The blogging posts may be slowing down but there are still so many things I have yet to bake. Trying new techniques and new flavor combinations is what makes baking fun, so my passion still remains. This recipe makes 15-16 hand pies.

Cranberry Hand Pies
adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients/Dough
3 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 or 3 sticks unsalted butter plus 3 tbs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Ingredients/Filling and topping
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbs fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp instant tapioca
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lb (fresh or thawed frozen) cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 beaten egg
raw or sparkling sugar for sprinkling on top

For the pastry dough, start by cutting the butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Then place in freezer for about 10 minutes. While the butter is chilling, fill the bowl of a stand mixer with flour, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, mix together on medium speed. Once the butter is ready, change the mixer attachment to the blade. Run the mixer on medium speed and start dropping in butter cubes, a little at a time. After all the butter is in the flour mixture, continue to beat until the consistency is more coarse, like sand. Keep mixing until the large lumps of butter are gone and just pea size and smaller remains.

Continue to mix and slowly stream in 1/2 cup of ice water. As you mix, the batter will form a lump a dough. At the dough stage, divide into 2 even pieces. Flatten each piece in a disc and completely cover with plastic. Place dough in refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

During the two hours, create the filling. Fill a saucepan with sugar, orange zest, orange juice and tapioca. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the saucepan. Mix together with a wooden spoon until all is evenly dispersed. Then add the cranberries into the mixture, tossing to cover. Let sit for about 10 minutes so juices can build up. Then place over medium heat and let come to a simmer. The mixture will thicken as it simmers. The correct consistency should be achieved by simmering 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Dust a flat surface with flour. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Once the chilling time is complete, take out one disc of dough. Unwrap and place on floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 1/16". Cut dough with biscuit or cookie cutter, making 16 circles.Then coat the outer edge of 8 of the circles with the beaten egg. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle. Top the circles with the remaining rounds of dough. Take the tines of a fork and press down along the edge about 1/4 of an inch deep to seal the pies. To make a clean edge, use the cutter again to cut off any of the dough that is uneven.

Place pies on baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Brush the surface with beaten egg and then sprinkle sugar on top. Vent top of pies with a line or with an "x".  Take filled baking sheets and put in refrigerator to chill for 45 minutes. After chilling, place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden on the edges and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to completely cool. Repeat the rolling, forming, chilling and baking process for the pies with the 2nd disc of dough.

Tips and Notes:
1. The widest width of the pies I made were 4 inches and I ended up with 15 pies. The pies had 2 tablespoons of filling and I had a lot of dough left over. The filling ran out.

2. Even though the recipe states roll dough to 1/16 of an inch, I made mine a little thicker. The extra thin dough was too fragile and made it more difficult to form the pies.

3. The recipe can be made ahead in stages. The dough can be made 2 days ahead and chilled. Let it soften at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to rolling out. The cranberry filling can be made 5 days ahead, just cover and chill. Lastly, pies can be formed and chilled 2 hours ahead of baking.
                                            ***LAST YEAR:Baked Apple Donuts**



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Black and White Toffee Bars


Sometimes you just have a craving for a rich dessert without a lot of fuss. These bars are exactly that. They are packed with white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips and chunks of toffee (ie Almond Roca). Just to give you an idea, I was wondering how all those add-ins would mix into the small amount of batter the recipe makes.

They are sinfully sweet, so a small piece with a glass of milk goes a long way. If I were to make these again, I would probably double the batter recipe and not double the add ins. That way they would have a little bit more cake to the bars.

They are good to put in your kid's lunchbox and great for an afternoon snack. The recipe also has the advantage of being quick and easy to make, so less time in the kitchen.

Black and White Toffee Bars
adapted from GourmetSleuth.com 

Ingredients
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped toffee (almond roca)
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups plus 2 tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease the interior of a 9" square pan.

Start by filling the bowl of a stand mixer with the brown sugar and butter. Cream the two together until light and smooth. Using another bowl, place a sieve over the top. Then sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

Add egg and vanilla to butter/sugar batter and beat until blended. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the sifted ingredients until no dry streaks remain. Then fold in both types of chocolate chips and the chopped toffee. Once all is evenly distributed, add to prepared pan and smooth surface until even.

Bake 20-23 minutes. Set pan  on wire rack to cool completely. After cooling, refrigerate for 1 hour. Then cut and serve.
                              **LAST YEAR:Pecan Wedding Cake**


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Brown Sugar Ginger Caramel Swirl Ice Cream


I have a slight fear of the use of ginger in recipes. It stems from the past in which I made some cookies that were good the first day. The next day the flavor developed more and the ginger took over. The cookies had too strong of a flavor, the ginger even over powered the chocolate in the cookie.There should have been a disclaimer stating serve or eat the same day.

Flavor balancing is a difficult subject because a lot is based on personal preference. Some people want a strong flavor while others want an even balance. For the strong flavor, I recommend making something that has a singular flavor. A singular flavor does not have to balance with another and you will get the pure taste.

This post is a particularly great example of balance of flavor. The caramel, ginger and brown sugar all comes through, which makes this ice cream a real keeper. This recipe requires one special ingredient, ginger spread. The recipe does not require much and I ordered it from Amazon under the "ginger people" brand.

Should you decide not to add the ginger spread, the end result will be a pretty tasty caramel swirl ice cream. 

After I tasted the ice cream, I wished the recipe made more. Delicious and unique, I am sure I will be making this again soon!

Brown Sugar Ginger Caramel Swirl Ice Cream
adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Ingredients/Ice Cream
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup of 2% milk
5 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp vodka

Ingredients/Swirl
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp of ginger spread

Complete any preparation work required on your ice cream maker prior to creating this ice cream. Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the egg yolks and whisk together. Once blended, add in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and mix on medium speed until sugar is thoroughly blended into egg yolks. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup brown sugar, cream, milk and salt to saucepan and place over medium high heat. Once it reaches a simmer, remove. Turn stand mixer back on to medium and stream in 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture. After this is blended, repeat with an additional 1/2 cup of the cream. Take the saucepan and place over medium heat and pour cream/egg mix back into remainder of hot cream.

Stir constantly as the mixture heats up. It should cook to a thickened state and coat the back of a wooden spoon. If you swipe your finger through it, the path will remain. This indicates that it is done cooking.

Place a sieve over a large heat proof bowl and pour the mixture into the sieve. This will insure that the custard is smooth. Fill a sink with ice and water. Place the bowl into the ice water. There should be enough ice and water to come level with the top edge of the custard inside the bowl. Whisk in vodka.

Stir the mixture at intervals while it chills. Once 15 minutes has passed, mix in the vodka and cover bowl. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

As the ice cream is chilling, the swirl can be made. Place a saucepan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. As it cooks, the edge of the sugar pile will melt and then start to change colors. Once completely melted, repeat the process with another 2 tablespoons of sugar. The rest of the remaining sugar should be added and melted in the same manner. Remove from heat when all the sugar is melted and it has a mahogany hue.

Slowly pour in the cream, mixing it into the sugar. The cream will cause the caramel to seize up. In that instance, drop the temperature to low and continue to stir the mixture until all the caramel is melted and blended with the cream. This could take 15-30 minutes, depending on how much turned into a lump. Add ginger paste and salt to mixture and blend.

After the chilling time is complete, remove ice cream from refrigerator and fill ice cream machine. Follow manufacturer's instructions. Then place caramel in a squirt bottle. When transferring ice cream from machine to storage bowl, squirt caramel into bowl after transferring a few scoops. Repeat process until 6 tablespoons of caramel is in the ice cream. Take a knife and make a few swirls in ice cream to disperse caramel in streaks throughout ice cream base.  

Cover and freeze until ice cream reaches the preferred firmness for serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. The vodka is for the purpose of keeping the ice cream from turning rock hard in the freezer. It does not impart any flavor to the ice cream.

2. There will be extra caramel sauce for another use. the recipe states that smaller measurements of the ingredients somehow do not work. There is more than enough for double the ice cream base.

3. For a short cut without the ginger, use store bought Dulce de Leche.
                                **THREE YEARS AGO:Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies**

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Chocolate Raspberry Tassies


With Valentine's day right around the corner, it is time for a little dessert that is rich in chocolate. These little gems are perfect for the occasion. They have a bold dark chocolate flavor with a fudgey filling on the inside and a cookie crunch on the outside. In addition they have a dollup of cocoa buttercream for more texture and more chocolate flavor.

Now, concerning the raspberry. They are made with raspberry liqueur, but there is no remaining flavor after baked. As is, the recipe only tastes of chocolate. In order to add more raspberry flavoring, I would suggest an extract, about 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons.

The recipe suggests plain cocoa, however ,for an even deeper dark chocolate flavor, I used dutch chocolate. Even with plain cocoa, I still believe the raspberry flavor of the liqueur would not come through after baked.

These are so rich in chocolate, I doubt if they would be refused due to their lack of raspberry flavor. Nothing like the taste of dark chocolate to bring a smile to someone's face. So if you are looking for a special treat this Valentine's-- add this to your day, you along with someone else will be happy to enjoy these little gems. The recipe makes 24 tassies.

Chocolate Raspberry Tassies
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients/Chocolate Pastry
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg yolk (room temp)
2 tbs cold water

Ingredients/Filling
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs raspberry liqueur
2 tbs butter
1 lightly beaten egg (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Ingredients/Buttercream
1/4 cup butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbs milk
3 tbs cocoa powder

The first step is to make the chocolate pastry. Sift together flour, salt and cocoa in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then whisk in sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and drop into the sifted ingredients. Beat until mixture is crumbly. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take out a small bowl and whisk together the egg yolk and the water. Pour into the chocolate mixture and beat until a soft dough is formed. Test the dough for stickiness and the ability to hold its shape. It can be refrigerated and you can use floured fingers for shaping. Once you are ready to shape, divide the dough into 24 equal balls. Place the balls into the cavities of 2-12 count mini muffin pans. Then shape each ball into a cup, covering the bottom and interior sides. After this process is completed, set aside.

Next is to create the filling. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add chocolate chips and stir until mixture becomes smooth and all is melted. Remove from heat. Add the raspberry liqueur, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until blended. Then whisk in the egg. Using a tablespoon scoop out some of the filling and fill a cavity of dough. Repeat this process until all cavities are filled with the chocolate blend.

Place in oven and bake until center is set, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Then carefully scrape the outside of the cookie shell and pry the tassies loose from the pan and place on cooling rack to completely cool.

Once cooled, buttercream icing can be prepared. Beat the butter in a stand mixer until smooth, then scrape down sides. Sift in 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and mix until no dry streaks remain. Repeat the process until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Then add the cocoa and milk and beat. The end result is a thick glossy icing. Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe a dollup of icing on top. Let the icing set for 1 hour before serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. The egg may cause the filling to glop up in sections but it is okay, it does not hurt the final outcome.

2. After baked, some of the filling may sink. However, the icing will cover this so the sinking is acceptable.

3. Be sure that the cups made by the dough are even. Any that are too thin will cause them to collapse when removing from the pan.

4. A tablespoon of filling is too much to use in each. It will result in a shortage. In order for all the cups to be filled, use 2/3 of a tablespoon or make some extra.
                                           **LAST YEAR:Nusstaler Cookies**

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tecate Bundt Cake


There is a thought by some people that beer is the perfect pairing to every type of food imaginable. I believe this becomes more evident during football season. Today's post does support that theory, for this bundt cake is made with Tecate beer. It is not just in the cake, but there is a Tecate syrup that is drizzled on top.

It resembles a pound cake in texture and taste. After tasting the sweet vanilla flavor there is a subtle flavor chaser of malt that stems from the beer. Delicious with a drizzle of Tecate syrup and whipped cream, after one serving your taste-buds will crave a second piece. The recipe is for a 10 cup bundt pan and I have included a buttercream icing for those that like icing. Also, this recipe lists the brand as Tecate, but I am sure it would work for other beers, but I would not recommend a light beer.

Bring this cake out at Superbowl time, I am sure everyone will be impressed with how you have made use of the beer!

Tecate Bundt Cake
adapted from LA Times

Ingredients/Syrup
3 cups Tecate brand beer
3/4 cup sugar

Ingredients/Cake
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Tecate brand beer
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs (room temp)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter (room temp)
1 3/4 cup sugar

Ingredients/Tecate Buttercream
1-2 tbs milk
3 tbs Tecate syrup
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)

The syrup, since it has to be room temperature when used will be made first. Fill a saucepan with the beer and the sugar. Place over medium high heat. Stir constantly and when mixture comes to a boil, set the timer to 15 minutes. Continue to stir as the mixture boils. Once the time goes off, check the amount in the pan, it should be about 3/4 cup. If still too much, continue to boil until reduced to 3/4 cup. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the interior of a 10 cup Bundt pan. Dust with flour and tap out excess.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat until smooth and silky, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add the sugar in 1/4 cup increments, beating to blend after each addition. Once the sugar is incorporated, add one egg and mix for 30 seconds, until combined into batter. Repeat the process with each egg until all 3 have been mixed in.

Pour milk, beer and vanilla into a bowl and stir. Take out another bowl and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the batter and fold until incorporated. Then pour half the milk mixture into the batter and mix. Repeat the process, ending with the dry ingredients, until everything is blended together.

Lastly, whisk in 5 tbs of the beer syrup. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top. The pan will be 3/4 full. Place cake in oven and bake for 25 minutes and then rotate. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes, then invert onto baking rack.

If covering in syrup and frosting, drizzle all but 3 tbs of syrup onto cake while still warm. It will drip down sides. If you are not frosting the cake, you can use all of the syrup.

For the frosting, fill a stand mixer with butter and beat until smooth and light. Sift in one cup of powdered sugar and beat on low and then increase the speed to medium. Mix until blended, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat until all the powdered sugar is mixed into the butter. Add 3 tbs of syrup and mix into frosting. Then beat in 1 tbs of milk and check for consistency. If too thick, beat in an additional tablespoon. Frost completely cooled cake as desired.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you have had trouble in the past with the release of bundt cakes from the pan, try using breadcrumbs to dust the interior of the pan instead of flour.

2. Do not use butter to grease the pan, it promotes sticking. Use shortening.

3. You can leave the cake as is and save the syrup for serving.

4. The milk may curdle when mixed with the beer, but that is normal.

5. When making the syrup, the beer will foam up as you stir, so be careful it does not foam over the pan.
                                   **LAST YEAR: Blue Corn Zucchini Bread**

 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Penuche Coffee Cake


Outside of chocolate fudge, I believe the next favorite flavor of fudge is Penuche. Penuche is basically a brown sugar fudge. There are sometimes add ins like coconut and pecans, which makes this fudge even more irresistible.

This particular recipe for coffee cake incorporates the flavor of penuche as a filling. It also has the particular add in as mentioned above. The filling in the cake is not as thick as fudge, it more resembles the texture of the typical icing you find on a German chocolate cake. The base of the cake is a fluffy yeast bread that just takes a few hours to rise. Outside of this delicious combination, the crowning touches are lots of streusel and a white icing drizzle.

The amount of filling in this cake is more than the norm, which I consider a plus. This insures that you get some crunchy pecans and moist coconut in every bite. That factor is what makes this recipe extra special. The original information is below and there are tips and notes at the end to help your bake be successful.

Penuche Coffee Cake
adapted from this old hen website

Pastry Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg (room temp)
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup instant mashed potatoes (mixed with 1/3 cup warm water)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening, cut in small cubes
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour

Penuche Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
7 oz sweetened coconut
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (room temp)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Streusel Ingredients:
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
pinch of salt

Icing Drizzle Ingredients
2 tbs water
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

The bread base is the first component. Start by sprinkling the yeast over the surface of the warm water. Then stir a few times. The mixture will develop a foam on the surface after 10 minutes. At this stage, add mashed potato mixture, egg, shortening, milk, salt and sugar. Whisk together with a fork and use it to mash the shortening on the inside of the bowl so it is the size of peas.

Prepare a 9x13 inch rectangle pan or a 12 inch round pan by buttering the interior. If you have a 12 inch springform pan, that will work also. Set pan aside.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in 1 cup of the flour. When that is thoroughly blended, fold in the second cup and blend, then do the same with the last cup. Dust a flat surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough and knead for 5 minutes, kneading in the remaining 1/2 cup of the flour. Shape into a ball and cover dough lightly and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take about one hour.

During the rise time, prepare the filling. Place a saucepan over low heat and fill with the butter. Continue to cook until butter is completely melted. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and the egg. Pour in with the butter. Then add both types of sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir together and switch heat to medium high. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. For the right consistency, cook for about 12-15 minutes, watching and stirring ocassionally. Lastly, stir in pecans and coconut, making sure coconut clumps are broken up. Transfer mixture to a heat proof bowl and place in refrigerator until needed.

After the dough has doubled, dust the flat surface again with flour. Remove dough from bowl and punch down. Roll out to about 1 inch more than the interior of your prepared pan. Then lightly press it into the pan covering the bottom and the sides up to the top edge.

Cover lightly with a towel and let the dough rise in the pan for one hour or until doubled in size.

As it rises, prepare the streusel. Fill a food processor with all the ingredients and pulse until all is combined and mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.After the pan rise time is completed, press down dough in bottom and sides of pan. Empty bowl of filling into the pan. Using a spatula, smooth the filling out evenly,
covering the entire interior bottom and reaching to all corners of the dough. Then evenly sprinkle on the streusel clumps. Place cake pan on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven. Bake until edges of dough are golden, about 35-45 minutes.

Remove pans and place cake pan on a rack to cool completely. Once cool, prepare the icing by whisking together the water and sifted powdered sugar. If the cake was baked in round form, invert onto serving platter by inverting twice. The streusel should be face up. If baked in the 9X13 inch pan, cake can be served from pan. Drizzle or use a squirt bottle to ice the cake. Wait 30 minutes for icing to set.  

Tips and Notes:
1. I used parchment on the 9x13 inch pan so I could pull the cake out of the pan. It got too wet and tore, so it is best to leave it in the pan to serve.

2. The streusel was more dough than crumble, so I added 2/3 cup more flour to get it the right consistency.

3.The cake did not bubble over when baking, so the pan on the bottom was just a precaution.

4.The original recipe listed a egg for the filling ingredients yet instructed to add egg yolks but nowhere did it say to add egg. I used just an egg and it turned out fine.
                            **LAST YEAR: Chocolate Tequila Sundae** 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Gingerbread Bars

I like the winter spices, even in the summertime. Gingerbread may conjure up memories with grandma, however, the flavor is classic but very much part of today. It has been too long since I have indulged in some gingerbread.

Today's post is actually a combination of two elements. The first element of the ginger bars are a spicy blend in which has a moist texture that is teetering between a cookie and a cake. They are thin enough to use for sandwich cookies. Instead of a cookie cream filling, I opted to make ice cream sandwiches.

To go along with the spice theme, I chose to fill them with the apple spice ice cream that was made in a previous post.Winter spices in a cookie bar as well as in the ice cream...this combo makes for a wonderful dessert.

Gingerbread Bars
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine 2009

Ingredients
2 eggs, room temp.
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter (1 1/4 sticks), room temp.
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups flour

Prepare a baking sheet (10x15x1 inches) by buttering the interior. Lightly dust with flour and tap out excess. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Measure out the flour into a bowl and take out 2 tablespoons. Reserve the 2 tablespoons of flour for later use. Take the bowl of flour and the six ingredients listed before flour and sift together. Set aside.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter, dark brown sugar and only 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Cream the ingredients together, running the mixer on medium high speed and stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the mixture is nice and fluffy, add one egg and blend for 30 seconds. Repeat with the second egg. Then stir in the molasses until evenly distributed.

Using a wooden spoon, fold the 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the egg/butter blend. Repeat with the next 2 additions of the sifted ingredients. Combine until no dry streaks remain.

Empty bowl of batter into prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread and smooth the batter evenly, covering the interior of the pan.

Take the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour and dust over the surface of the batter using a sifter. Then sprinkle a second layer, this time with the remaining sugar (1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 tsp) over the top. Place pan in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Remove and cool completely. Cut into desired size. If making ice cream sandwiches, let your ice cream soften a little (like soft serve) before putting between the 2 bars. Press together and smooth the edges with a spatula and freeze.

If you cut them 3 1/2 x 1 3/4,  you will have 24 bars or 12 ice cream sandwiches.

Tips and Notes:
1. The flour on the surface is still noticeable after baking, you can eliminate that step if you do not like the look.

2. Evenly smoothing the batter is key. Too thin and it will bake up as crust, too thick and it will be more cake like.

3. The bars can be made 2 days prior to sandwiching them together

                                          **LAST YEAR:Bear Claws**