Nanny’s date squares

My nanny was a fabulous cook. I remember most of her cooking quite fondly, especially her date squares. When I was in elementary school, each afternoon I would walk to Nanny’s house, and she would be waiting with lunch ready for me. We would chat, and watch Batman and Fun House, and then she would waive me off, and sing, “Off you go, into the wild blue yonder!” as I walked back up the hill to school. I haven’t eaten a date square since she died.

IMG_1761

Mom sent me this recipe (basically the Purity recipe, with extra dates). I opened the carton of dates today, and the smell hit me. I picked up my knife and put it down. I put the dates back in the carton. Then I dumped them out again. For a moment it felt like I was back in Nanny’s kitchen. But I opened my eyes, and there was just me, and a pile of dates, waiting to be chopped. Would these be close to my memory of her date squares?

Time required: 3 hr (2 hr is cooling time)

Yields: 48 squares

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $30

Cost per square: 62 cents

IMG_1753

Kitchen implements I used:

  • 8″ square pan
  • tin foil
  • pastry blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pitted dates, halved
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • ½ C water
  • 1 C flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C lightly-packed brown sugar
  • 2 C rolled oats

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 162°C / 325°F. Line pan with foil and grease.

2. In a sauce pan combine: dates, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 min or until it reaches the mushy consistency of jam. Set aside to cool.

IMG_1754

I worried that I scorched the dates, and put more water in them and simmered for another 5 minutes.

IMG_1755

3. In a large bowl combine: flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. Cut in butter.

IMG_1757

5. Cut in brown sugar and oats. My pastry blender got gunked up by the oats so I used my hands for this part.

IMG_1758

6. Press half of the mixture into greased pan. Couldn’t take a picture of this as both hands were covered in food by this point.

7. Cover evenly with date filling. I used a spoon to smooth it down.

8. Cover with remaining topping mixture. It doesn’t really crumble, but you can pinch it apart and drop it randomly, it’s not supposed to be completely covered so it doesn’t matter if there are gaps.

IMG_1759

9. Bake 35-40 min until light golden brown.

10. Cool completely before cutting.

IMG_1760

Hmm. Looks right. Smells right.

IMG_1762

Verdict: And tastes right. These were good; not as good as Nanny’s, but pretty good. I was afraid they would suck, and I would be sad. But they were good, and I was still a bit sad. But a little happy too.

Date squares are gloriously sticky, juicy, sweet, and a little bit crunchy. They go great with a cup of tea, which I am enjoying right now.

Playlist: Stateless – Bloodstream

Advertisements

Graham cracker lemon squares

I recently purchased more lemons so I’d have an excuse to make another lemon… something, anything. The lemon tart I made the other week vanished mysteriously from the fridge, and we were a house sans lemon. And that’s no state to be. I wondered if lemons and graham crackers would be good together, so I got working on a little idea.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: maybe 30

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $19

Cost per slice: $1.57

Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the KitchenAid
  • sauce pan
  • juicer
  • zester
  • mesh plate
  • shallow baking pan

Crust:

  • ⅓ C butter, unsalted
  • 1½ C graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 TBSP granulated white sugar

Filling:

  • 1 C lemon juice (2-3 large lemons)
  • grated zest of one lemon, wash and dry it first
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F. Line baking pan with foil.

2. Melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar and graham crumbs.

3. Pat into prepared pan and bake 10 min. Cool on wire rack.

4. Get started on the lemon curd. Combine the juice, zest, sugar, and butter in a sauce pan and heat on Low until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.

5. Beat the eggs and yolks, and temper in the hot butter mix.

6. Return to stove and heat on Low until curd thickens (stir often), and when it starts to bubble, remove from heat.

7. Strain and pour directly onto crust. Ah, beautiful!

8. Bake 5 min. Cool on rack, then cover and chill for at least an hour before slicing.

Swear like a sailor when the saran wrap ruins the surface.

Verdict: Very tart. Very good. Wishing I had let the lemon settle before baking, as it’s rather high on one end, and bare on the other, but aside from the cosmetic issues this is pretty good. One day I will find the bottom of my fluted tart pan, which is still M.I.A., and then maybe I’ll make, oh I don’t know, an actual tart.

Playlist: Depeche Mode

Pumpkin roll

“Pumpkiny goodness.”

(That’s what Boyfriend came up with when I said I didn’t know how to introduce this post.)

This recipe comes from Nestlé’s Chocolate 3 Books In 1 which is available from Amazon.com.

Time required: 2.5 hours

Yields: 10 slices

Cost per slice: $4.43

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $44.34

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 15″ x 10″
  • sifter
  • wax paper and plastic wrap

Roll ingredients:

  • ¾ C flour
  • ½ TSP baking powder
  • ½ TSP baking soda
  • ½ TSP ground cinnamon
  • ½ TSP ground cloves
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1 C white sugar
  • ⅔ C pure pumpkin

Frosting ingredients:

  • 8 oz block of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 C icing sugar, sifted
  • 6 TBSP butter, room temp
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 190.5°C / 375°F.  Prepare baking pan by greasing it, then line with wax paper, then grease and flour the paper. Then place a large piece of wax paper down on a flat surface and dust it with icing sugar for later.

2. Combine: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

3. In a mixer, beat eggs and sugar until it thickens.  Add pumpkin.

4. Stir flour mixture into wet, adding about one third at a time.

5. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake 13 min, when it’s done if you press lightly on the top with a spoon it should bounce back up.

6. Invert pan onto flat piece of wax paper.  Carefully peel the paper off the back (the bottom) of the cake.

7. Start at the end closest to you, and using the piece of wax paper on the bottom, gently roll the cake up onto itself, and place on wire rack to cool.

8. Meanwhile, make frosting by combining all ingredients in mixer and beat til smooth.

9. Unroll the cake, and remove the wax paper.  Spread frosting across it, and roll back up. Good luck with this part.

10. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

To prevent roll from spreading out, creatively ram it into a pan and put other items in the pan to hold it against the side.

11. Slice and serve!

Verdict:

“I don’t know how to classify this post.”

“How about delicious?”

“You liked it that much eh?”

This turned out really well. I’d recommend less frosting, the amount you get from the recipe is really too much, it was oozing everywhere.  A thin layer of frosting would be fine.

Playlist: enjoying the silence!

Skor blondies

Faithful follower: this is for you! I have emerged from my penuche-induced coma to make a batch of blondies. Actually this is the first thing I’ve baked since Thanksgiving, and it feels quite good!

I found this recipe on the back of a package of Chipits.

A blondie is similar to a brownie, however the major ingredient difference is using brown sugar instead of cocoa. These are made with Skor bits, and apparently skor is the Swedish word for shoes. Why a chocolate bar was named after shoes is a mystery right up there with getting the caramel inside the Caramilk. These are the matters I just do not understand.

Time required: 2 hr (30 min prep, 23 min bake, 1 hr cool)

Yields: 36 pieces

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $31.00

Cost per piece: $0.86 (hurrah for the most fiscally responsible thing I’ve ever baked!!)

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 9″ x 13″
  • tinfoil

Ingredients:

  • ½ C butter, softened
  • 1 C brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • ½ TSP baking soda
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 200g package of Skor Chipits (butter toffee pieces)
  • ¼ C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 177°C / 350°F. Line baking pan with tinfoil and grease.

2. In a mixer beat butter, brown sugar, and eggs until combined.

So yeah, this is the first time I’ve given poor Nemo a whirl in over a month. That’s right, I am on first name terms with my KitchenAid. All things of beauty need a name!!

Back to our wet mixture: beat until smooth and combined.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. Add dry mixture to wet, one third at a time. Don’t overbeat or the mixture will become too hard.

5. Add 1 cup of Skor pieces, and the chocolate chips (the recipe suggested 1C of chocolate chips but I only had enough for ¼C).

6. Smoosh batter into prepared pan.

7. Bake for 23 min, top should be golden brown.

8. Remove from oven and immediately pour the remaining Skor pieces on top.

9. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour. Peel off tinfoil and serve.

Verdict:

“What is that delicious smell?” asked Boyfriend when he came home.

We ate some, and they were pretty good. I have a weakness for butter toffee, buying Skor Chipits may have been a grave mistake. I expect there are all sorts of recipes which would benefit from adding Skor bits. Stayed tuned and find out.

Playlist: Matthew Good Band – Giant

Patty’s turtle brownies

Ah, turtles. Despite the fact that I hate nuts, I thoroughly enjoy Nestlé Turtles, and I really enjoy turtle brownies (sans nuts). I haven’t baked much lately because I AM SUPER STRESSED OUT, and today I was in the mood for something simple. I decided to make half with nuts for Boyfriend because I am a really nice person.

Good to know before you start:

This process involves caramelizing sugar, which I have written about before, so let me sum up: caramelizing can be rather dangerous and lead to hideous scarring. Try not to maim yourself.

Time required: 2 hours (40 min prep, 20 min bake, 1 hr chill)

Yields: about 30 pieces

Cost per piece: $1.66

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $18.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 9″ x 13″
  • parchment paper
  • pastry blender

Ingredients:

  • 2 C flour
  • divided amounts of brown sugar, 1 C and ¾ C
  • divided amounts of margarine, ½ C and ¾ C
  • 1½ C chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 C milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176° C / 350°F. Line baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix 1 C of sugar with the flour, and cut in ½ C margarine. with a pastry blender, blending until coarse crumbs form.

You can do this the smart way and use pre-measured blocks of margarine, or you can do it the foolish way. Anyway, moving right along…

3. Pat mixture into baking pan.

4. Sprinkle nuts onto crust. Ugh, disgusting. I’m only doing this for Boyfriend’s sake so I’ll put nuts on half. Or… one third. Yup looks like half to me!

5. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the remaining amounts of sugar and margarine (¾ C of each), and stir constantly. Once mixture is boiling, let it boil for 1 minute, then immediately pour onto crust.

Use a spatula to carefully spread the caramel, work quickly because as the caramel cools it will firm and start to tear up the crust.

6. Bake in the oven for 20 min.

7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust. Wait 3 minutes, giving the chocolate time to melt.

8. Use spatula to gently spread chocolate.

9. Chill for at least one hour and cut into squares.

His and hers! No nuts for me. Seriously, why would anybody want to spoil turtles with nuts? Reptiles lay eggs anyway.

Verdict: Delicious! I love turtle brownies, they are cheap, they are quick, and they are easy to make.

Playlist: Lacuna Coil

What is your favourite stress-free dessert to fall back on?

Boyfriend’s First Blog Post… Ever ;~)

Boyfriend here.

So I have my own blogging account now, never had one before, and don’t know if I’ll even keep up on my own blog, but here is my very 1st blog post, on my girlfriends’ blog.  Thats right world be jealous, my girlfriend is a Spatulagoddess.

My lovely girlfriend had never really made Rice Krispies Squares(RKS) before, but I have many times, so when I heard she was gong to try making them, I put my 2 cents in about making Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Squares(PBCCRKS).  She wasn’t interested :~(  so she went ahead and made her RKS which turned out great.  I told her that was fine, I would just make mine at a later date.

And that date was tonight.

For starters PBCCRKS are made the EXACT same way that one makes regular RKS, only I added 3 large soup spoons worth of Peanut butter in, and then eye-balled out the semi-sweet chocolate chips, mix it all together. 

Now take it from me, it is much better to prep all this before, hand because once the melted marshmallows start to cool it becomes real “fun*sarcasm* trying to mix it up.  I decided to make these tonight on a whim, and just went to er.  It would been much less messy, and easier on the arm if I hadda prepped everything 1st.

Thank you to Mom, for making these for me as a kid, and for always being there for me when I call to find out what it was you actually did.  I know I could always google it, but Mom always knows best.

And thank you to my wonderful Girlfriend who always inspires with her treats.

This is Boyfriend signing off


P.s. Lol she is checking my punctuation.  Must be careful you don’t want to anger a Spatulagoddess

P.s.s.  LOF’nL not allowed to spell them the way I want to, I “have to spell it the same way as on the box” for the Record I spell them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Rice Crispy Squares.

P.s.s.s. I love this woman from the bottom of my heart

no really signing off now ;~)

Rice Krispies squares

Eureka! I have done it!  I have finally made Rice Krispies squares! Fourth attempt was successful. There was no burning or marshmallow shrinkage this time.

Am so happy. Never making these again!

Recipe:

  • ¼ C melted butter
  • 400 g bag of large marshmallows (official recipe uses one 250 g pkg)
  • ½ TSP vanilla extract
  • 6 C cereal

Instructions:

1. Grease 9″ x 13″ pan.

2. In a large glass bowl melt butter for 1 min.

3. Add marshmallows, stirring until evenly coated. (I cut the marshmallows in half first.)

4. Microwave on High until melted smooth (it took 4 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds).

Wow making these sucks. It’s gooey and sticking to everything, ugh!!

5. Stir in vanilla, then stir in cereal. Hmm. This is the largest glass bowl that I have, and it wasn’t large enough. Yet another excuse to never do this again.

6. Press into prepared pan and chill for an hour.  I used a buttered spoon but it’s impossible to get this crap off the spoon and into the pan. Forget “square”. It is quite lumpy and not sitting flat in the pan, after 5 minutes I’m pissed off from fussing with it and just stick it in the fridge.

Verdict: They tasted pretty decent. I used a lot of marshmallows.

Boyfriend tells me they taste just like they are supposed to. We have a lot of cereal and another bag of marshmallows left over, and he has a different way of preparing them, so my next post might be written by him. 0_0

I was feeling very ashamed of my deficiency, but now I have crossed these squares off of my list of things to make. Never again!!

What supposedly-easy food item is your personal bane?

Playlist: Diablo dungeon theme