Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Chunky Chocolate Fruit-and-Nut Bars

January 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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chunky chocolate fruit-and-nut bars

Dorie describes these Chunky Chocolate Fruit-and-Nut bars as both nougat’s crunchy cousin (a very timely comparison, since we made her Honey-Nut Nougat just last month) and as a homemade version of a Chunky candy bar. The raisin-hating child version of me would not have touched a Chunky with a ten foot pole, but the adult version of me has more evolved tastes and would now gladly consume this mass-produced packaged product. Haha.

This is an easy recipe– it really is. You just need some toasted nuts, some chopped dried fruit and some melted chocolate to make it. It’s totally customizable to your tastes and to the contents of your cabinet. It’s not even really a recipe, it’s just stuff mixed together. And yet, I managed to screw a few things up and fumble my way through it. Ironic, since my day job is actually making chocolate candy.

For my nuts I used cashews, which I burned when I toasted them, so I toasted more. For my dried fruit, I used a pre-mixed blend of golden raisins, cranberries, cherries and blueberries that I buy at TJs. I also put in some crystalized ginger and some candied orange peel. For my chocolate, I used a bittersweet 72%. I decided I didn’t need to eat a full 8×8 pan of this, so I scaled everything back by a third to fit in a small loaf pan I have. Or I tried to, at least…I must have divided the chocolate incorrectly in my head, because I only had enough to coat my add-ins, not to stick them together. I just eyeballed a little more to seal my fruit and nut glob together and pressed it into the pan. Even if it looks a little rough and I needed a nap afterwards, it was all good and tasty in the end (I secretly ate up all the little bits with a spoon and they were fab!), and that’s the moral of today’s story.

Dorie recommends lining your pan with cocoa-dusted parchment paper and then dusting more cocoa on top of the finished chocolate mix and laying another piece of parchment on top as you press it in to the pan. I did line my pan with parchment, and I lined it so it acted as a sling, but I skipped all the cocoa powder and also the top parchment sheet. I’m guessing the cocoa is to help the mass release from the pan, but when chocolate gets cold it contracts, and since this is stored in the fridge, I didn’t see the need for it.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here, along with a great video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD DC Rewind: Cocoa-Almond Uglies

December 31, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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cocoa-almond uglies

Cocoa-Almond Uglies– such an unfortunate name for something so tasty! I’d say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but I really don’t think these chocolate-almond meringue blobs are that bad looking. Knobbly with chopped nuts and chocolate, they do kind of do what they want to in the oven. But they’re unique, not ugly, and they’re very, very good. They also happen to be gluten- and dairy-free. The cookies stay chewy inside but have a crispy crust and they have great chocolate flavor. They’re like the cookie version of a Ferrero Rocher. Need I say more? I’ll have one with a glass of bubbles tonight. Happy New Year!!

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s rewind on the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Honey-Nut Nougat

December 24, 2019 at 8:42 am | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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honey-nut nougat

Happy holidays! Is Christmas Eve too late to show you a fabulous edible, homemade gift idea? I admit that I am one of those last minute types, but I really think it isn’t too late, as this Honey-Nut Nougat can be ready to cut up in a just couple of hours (provided you have a candy thermometer and an abundance of nuts in your pantry). And anyway, we still have plenty of party-time ahead of us. This isn’t difficult to make, but the instructions are lengthy, and since you’ll be dealing with a hot sugar syrup, it’s advisable to read them all the way first. Trust me, I would almost never say that, as I would almost never do that, but here it’s important, because timing is everything in candy-making.

You can find nougat in every Italian deli/specialty shop year-round, but the nice thing about making it yourself, aside from the freshness and the fun, is getting to choose exactly what goes into it. Dorie’s recipe uses heaps of roasted nuts, so I went for a combo of hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios, along with tart dried cherries. Nougat is traditionally formed between sheets of edible rice/wafer paper to help with the stickiness, but you can use cornstarch and powdered sugar instead. I actually had the rice paper, which I bought the last time I was in Australia (now that I write that down, it seems like a weird souvenier)…you can also get it online and in decorating supply stores.

This is delicious–chewy and full of nuts and honey flavor–and it lasts for a few weeks, so if you don’t take it to a holiday party, you can just cut off little hunks as you want them. Which will probably be often.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD BCM Rewind: Basque Macarons

October 30, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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basque macarons

Why on Earth did I skip out on Basque Macarons last month? There isn’t anything precious or fiddly about this type of macaron…this is an easy recipe to throw together. At its heart, there are just four ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, sugar and salt. Okay, you have to whisk and fold in some of the egg whites, but I made and baked these at 7:00 in the morning and managed not to screw them up, so I’d call them low stress. I did add in a bit of cinnamon and a dash of almond extract for extra flavor. And I pressed a whole almond into the tops of half of them just ‘cuz. But you don’t have to do any of that if you don’t want to.

These bake up with a sweet, crisp shell and a nice, chewy inside. If feel like I say this with every cookie, but they are so good with coffee! I could even give them to my DF/GF bestie, so they win extra points with me.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see other Rewind make-ups!

TWD DC Rewind: Pistachio-Berry Slims

July 31, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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pistachio-berry slims

I’ve always thought of pistachios as “fancy” nuts. Hazelnuts and macadamias are also fancy nuts. Almonds and walnuts are regular nuts. Cashews are somewhere in between. I’m working on drawing up my nut hierarchy diagram for you…it’s actually very complex. Because for whatever reason I consider them fancy, I usually use pistachios sparingly. For Pistachio-Berry Slims, though, I had to go all out. (I admit that I briefly considered cutting the pistachios with half almonds, but then decided not to be so stingy.) These are chewy nut macaroons– no wheat flour, no dairy– just ground pistachios, sugar and egg whites, formed and baked into a log. They are further fancified with a trench of nice raspberry jam and fresh berries running through the middle. Sliced into dainty slims, these are lovely little cookies, to be eaten with pinkies up. As Dorie says in the recipe intro, no one needs to know they take 10 minutes to prepare.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s rewind TWD Blogroll!

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