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I love meyer lemons and have taken a few opportunities to gather mass quantities of them in times of abundance from unsuspecting abandoned-tree owner’s yards and fields recently. ….. 😀

I have made tons of lemon curd — heres the recipe  in one of my daring bakers challenges — but i just came across this tasty kitchen recipe for meyer lemon sorbet (i ❤ you p.w.!!)

How lovely:

(from bunkycooks.com)

i want some now 🙂

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Well, i’m a day late with posting though i had the challenge completed a few weeks ago! 🙂

My overall impression of these new treats (the first time i tasted these) was good – the filling was a bit sweet, and the chocolate cracked when you cut the bars, but the textures were interesting and i loved the bottom layer- i could have just eaten that by its self!

Mom made the graham crackers ahead of time – and did them from scratch – but no pictures. we were  both a little skeptical that they tasted a little burnt when eaten by themselves – but they tasted great inside the bottom layer when we finally got the whole thing completed.

they were a lot of work though for just an 8×8 pan, but they were tasty anyway 🙂

Here’s what happened:

our goal

Preparation time:
• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.

Equipment required:
• Food Processor
• Bowls
• Parchment paper or silpats
• Cookie sheets
• Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
• 8 by 8 inch square pan
• Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
• Saucepan

For Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
Ingredients
1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Nanaimo Bars
Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

HERE GOES!

the homemade graham crackers

the homemade graham crackers

grinding the nuts

bottom layer components: nuts, graham crackers and coconut

bottom layer components: nuts, graham crackers and coconut

the left over graham cracker crumbs

bottom layer pressed into the pan

middle layer goes on

...and gets smoothed

Mom melts chocolate for the top layer

chocolate gets poured on top

and gets smoothed out

post refrigeration, mom starts a slice

the first cut came out a little ... well, mangled 🙂

next one's a little better - the chocolate kept breaking!

and then we get one that looks really cool 🙂

Mom and I finally had a successful year making these mint meringues – something that rarely happens – and attempts are only made at my constant pleading every christmas.

this year, it was not raining, which, YES MOM – MAY HAVE BEEN A FACTOR – but, this year i also took…creative(? 🙂 ) liberty with how much i felt like following the directions which i think was more the thing that worked. and, of course i showed them the love. they know mom doesnt like them and assumes theyll fail before the whites are even whipped – but no – i WILLED them to work – and for the first year in MANY – they made it out of the shell/mixer/oven and into a ziplock bag.  i am enjoying one as we speak.

(trying to write a coherent intro is hard when snoop dog is on martha stewart and she thinks he’s referring to the brownies that they are making should be “green brownies”  – she thinks he means chocolate brownies with green sprinkles and cant seem to understand why he would want to use GREEN sprinkles on chocolate. snoop keeps cracking up that martha isnt getting it and the inuendos keep getting stonger. its hilarious!)

HA! Look at the sprinkles!! 🙂

ANYWAY – here’s the recipe:

2 egg whites – room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp mint extract
1 tooth picking of green gel (paste) coloring
6 oz chocolate chips

preheat oven to 200*F.

Use a metal bowl – or glass – NO PLASTIC – and metal beaters – make sure all equipment used is TOTALLY CLEAN – any amount of grease at all will ruin the batter. I wiped the clean bowl with a fresh paper towel very carefully just to be sure!!

Beat the egg whites in a kitchen aid til foamy (45 sec – 1 min? just til they’re frothy) and then add sugar on high speed VERY slowly until whites hold a stiff, glossy peak – (about 5-7 min? – it will keep its ribbon-ey/elephant nosey (?) texture from the beaters in the rest of the meringue left in the bowl – like a medium-whipped whipped cream )

add extract and food coloring – beat another minute or so, fold in chocolate chips.

drop tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet- NO BUTTER – one inch apart – bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour until outside is dry – BUT NOT BROWN. cool on sheet for five minutes before removing.

DO NOT open oven while baking. then, the best part: DEVOUR WITH GLEE AND BLISS!! 🙂

Let me know how it goes – success?!

first of all, my first experience with the DB,

FAILURE!

ok, now that i’ve got that out of my system – let’s talk macaroon, and Daring Bakers:

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S.

She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

THE PLAN:

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

THE TRUTH:

THE_BEGINING

getting ready for the macarooning

things are looking good – eggs separated, nuts and flour awaiting addition…things are on the move toward macaroons.

WHISK_IN_MOTION

whisking those egg whites

fun with slow shutter speed, no? good ‘ol Kitchenaid!

STIFF_PEAKS

victory! that looks stiff to me!

whoo! still lookin’ on track!

UHHH

hmmm....things start to go askew?

looks a little chunky, no? this is where i start to worry a little…

DALLOPS

all piped out

i forged ahead though and here we have little dallops…fingers were crossed!

BOTTOMS

hmmm....underdone and overdone bottoms! now that's talent!

so after the initial bake and then the second bake – both as scheduled in the recipe – the ones on the right came out first. what happened? well, the ones on the right were, well chewy and underdone. the ones on the left spent a bit more time in the oven – and they look oddly like pancakes – no? they came out CRISP. drat. drat indeed.

neither the done or underdone were puffy or airy.

too heavy flour/nuts?

not beaten enough eggwhites?

crappy oven?

baker gene-less?

im still baffled.

….

then…

i had an epiphany – (not only on how to spell the word epiphany after a weird series of text messages this morning with an ex boyfriend) but also on what to do for the filling.

what does one do with five egg yolks one wonders?

CURD_BEFORE

yeah there were five, i broke one, oops, i know! 🙂

well, that my friends, i certainly know what to do with that:

MAKE LEMON CURD!

i don’t know about you, but i LOVE lemon curd. with deep abiding passion i love lemon curd.

like it was fate, five egg yolks is exactly the number needed for my tried and true lemon curd recipe permantly mounted to my fridge after a renegade lemon heist from a stranger’s ignored and “fruitful” lemon tree last spring.

GOSEPEL

ladies and gentlemen, i give you the gospel.

the gospel that is, in my own slightly skewed way of writing recipes.

Also, i dont know if you know, but i write for a newspaper for a living and spend a lot of time writing so when it comes to recipes – im lazy and just want to remember the highlights and highpoints of the task at hand (note the constant leaving out of letters, combining words and symbols and flurry of abbreviations throughout the written recipe)

i will decipher for you though the method as the ingredients are rather legible:

“2x boiler” =double boiler.

“yoks+sug – add juiezest” = combine yolks and sugar in top of double boiler, whisk over low heat, add juice and zest …

WHISKING

whisking away

… whisk until thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon (reaches nappe).”

NAPPE

ahh...nappe!

“buttr 1x” = once thickened, add small pieces of butter one at a time until incorporated taking bowl on and off heat as necessary.

CURD2

so beautiful!

CURD

ok, one more beauty shot 🙂

ok – SO – i waited for the curd to cool a bit, but it never gets super jello-like with this recipe anyway, (a fact i appreciate!) and so i went to fill the done-er macaroons and, well, it wasnt quite as i’d hoped.

MACAROON_FILLED3

hmm...filled, but not quite puffy 🙂

MACAROON_FILLED

it looks like a drooling clamshell, no? i know that wasnt the challenge point, but i cant help but giggle at it...?

so, after biting though my model, i just ended up with the following as my method of eating thereafter:

SOLUTION

it was just as good 🙂

ahh well, maybe next month’ll be lemon curd, eh? hey, a girl can dream, cant she?  🙂

CURD_RED_POT

ok, one final lemon curd love photo, even better in the cute little red pot, no?? 🙂

My mom is an incredible chef and more importantly, baker.

She was commissioned/volunteered to make tasty treats for a fundraiser for our local hospital.

She made chocolate tuplips, hedgehogs, pumpkin purses and caramel chocolate cups – all were divine!

Check out her handi-work – I’ll post them all over the next few days … (See the second post here)

Here are the …

Hedgehogs!

HEDGIE_ON_RUN

A little hedgehog - this one was on the run!

The Hedgehog Army - I think there were over 200 individually

The Hedgehog Army - I think there were over 200 individually

are these?!

Marshmallow witches from Taste of Home!

Just in time for Halloween!

And most appropriate for the blog, no? 🙂

BUNS_GROUP2

Buns sit in the pan, fresh out of the oven.

There is nothing to fill the house with the sweet scent of homemade goodies like cinnamon rolls made from risen yeasted dough baked in a warm oven. These rolls are delicious in the traditional presentation of brown sugar and cinnamon filling, but also are tasty with the addition of blackberries rolled up in the spiral giving a familiar treat, a new twist.

DOUGH:

¼ oz. yeast

½ cup warm water

½ cup scalded milk

¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3 ½ to 4 cups flour

FILLING:

½ cup butter, melted

¾ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 cup freshly-picked blackberries

1 beaten egg

GLAZE:

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 to 6 tablespoons of hot water

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix milk, sugar, butter, salt and egg and add two cups of flour. Mix until well incorporated, add dissolved yeast and remaining flour. Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes on a floured surface and then place into a well greased bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Combine the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl and use enough hot water to make a loose enough glaze to drizzle and melt with the heat from the buns and set aside. It is a good idea to leave the glaze a little thicker than you think you need it…it can melt a lot on the freshly baked goodies.

Punch down the dough and roll out on a floured surface into a rectangular shape about ¼ inch thick. Using a basting brush, spread melted butter all over dough except for a two-inch strip spanning the length of the roll along the top edge. Sprinkle with all the brown sugar and the cinnamon and then spread the berries evenly over the surface. Starting at the side closest to you, start to roll the dough away from you as you would a sleeping bag keeping the roll taught but not ripping the dough. Work from the middle, rolling towards the outside edges and then return, working back to the middle again. When you reach the end, brush the beaten egg along the reserved two-inch strip creating the “glue” that will help seal the roll. After the strip is brushed, bring it to the roll, picking up the last bit of dough and bringing it towards you and pinching the seal tightly closed. Turn the roll seam-side-down and using a long knife with one clean motion, slice the roll in half crossways. Divide both new rolls in half and then each piece into quarters.

Loosely place the slices spiral-side-up in a well greased baking dish. Let rise again until doubled in size and place into a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before drizzling with reserved glaze.