Apple-Raisin Walnut Bars

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 20 bars (one 8-inch square pan)
Recipe: 88/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 63

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     Oh how the months have passed me by! They fled at the speed of light. Almost December already! Finally having some free time on my hand and a spare apple to use, I decided to make these apple-raisin walnut bars. Let me tell you, these are delightful!! They are ultra moist with all the right flavors: apple, the sweetness of raisins and that touch of cinnamon. I had never used applesauce in a recipe, especially not combined with grated apples, but this combination generated such moistness that I will use this trick in the future. Let’s not forget the pleasant texture and nutty flavor provided by the walnuts. Don’t be fooled by the presence of raisins, this recipe makes for a delicious dessert or late-night snack. If you closed your eyes you (maybe) even wouldn’t know that they’re there. You have to trust me on this one. Go for it.

Ingredients for bars:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnut pieces

Ingredients for glaze:

  • ⅓  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or apple juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat after each addition.
  4. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and beat well until blended.
  6. Stir in the grated apple, raisins and walnut pieces. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean. When there is about 15 minutes left of baking, start preparing the glaze.
  7. For the glaze, stir all the ingredients together in a small saucepot except for the vanilla extract. Bring up to a simmer, stirring often. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  8. Once the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze over the hot cake and let it cool completely in the pan before removing it to slice into bars. Enjoy!

Valerie

Cinnamon-Apple Almond Streusel Squares

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: one 8-inch square pan, about 20 squares
Recipe: 85/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 72

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Bars

     Surplus of both apples and free time has led me to make these cinnamon-apple almond streusel squares. As Anna writes in her cookbook, this dessert does indeed smell like apple pie in the making, but it takes considerable less effort to make! The taste is as expected: the deliciousness of apples merged with cinnamon and butter. The format of these squares makes them easy to eat and to share!

Ingredients for base:

  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

Ingredients for streusel:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 ½ cups peeled ad coarsely grated tart apple such as Granny Smith
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. For the base, mix together in a food processor the ground almonds, flour and icing sugar. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a rough and crumbly texture. Alternatively, you can mix all the ingredients but the butter in a bowl, then cut in the butter using your hands or a fork. Press this mixture into the prepared pan and chill it while preparing the streusel.
  3. For the streusel, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Cut in the butter by hand until a rough and crumbly mixture is obtained.
  4. Stir in the grated apple until it is coated with the flour and sugar mixture. Gently press this onto the chilled base.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes, until it just begins to turn golden. Cool completely before slicing, and dust with icing sugar to garnish.

Valerie

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: about 16 bars
Recipe: 70/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 216

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     Due to the appealing photograph represented in Anna’s cookbook for this streusel coffee cake, I have wanted to try this recipe for the longest time. Fortunately I did not long ago and was very pleased with the result. Be warned, this cake does not contain coffee, but its name rather refers to the fact that it is a prime candidate to go along with a coffee enjoyed at any time of the day. This cake is moist and flavourful without being overwhelmingly so. It is the perfect  late-night snack to go along with any warm drink. Enjoy! 

Ingredients for topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  2. For the streusel topping, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl with a fork. Add the melted butter and stir well until the mixture is evenly moistened.
  3. For the cake, using a hand or stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the whole egg and the egg yolk. Beat well after each addition.
  5. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just blended.
  8. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the streusel topping overtop. Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cut into squares when the cake is cooled completely and enjoy!

Valerie

Cinnamon Sugar Cutout Cookies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Recipe: 62/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 49

Cinnamon cookies

     It has been way too long that I have baked anything. I am not sure why – perhaps time just passed without my noticing it. Well thankfully I realized this aberrance and made these cute cinnamon cookies today. They are simple to make yet make for a sweet tasty snack. I will post more recipes in the common week. Simply put, I need to get back to baking!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until the mixture is fluffy and homogenous.
  2. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Add this to the butter mixture and combine until the dough comes together.
  4. Shape the dough into 2 discs, then wrap them in plastic wrap. Rest the dough for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the first disc to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2  1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or any desired shape) and cut out the cookies. Use a spatula to life the cookies and place them on the baking tray, leaving a one inch gap between each cookie. Repeat this with the second disc. Note: any scraps can be re-rolled after they have rested for 15 minutes.
  7. Whisk the egg white to loosen it and brush it over the cookies.
  8. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and sprinkle this over the cookies.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the edges turn slightly golden. Cool the cookies on the tray before removing.

Valerie

Snickerdoodles

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies
Recipe: 34/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 23

Snickerdoodles

     I will freely admit that I never had a snickerdoodle cookie. Not only that, but I never really knew what they were. I guess I never bothered to look it up. However, following a small pause in my usually very frequent baking, I felt like making cookies that were new to me and I thus made these. Unbeknownst to me during all this time is that snickerdoodles are actually soft and chewy, sugary and sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cookies! How no one ever told me is a mystery. They are very simple to make but taste oh so delicious! I am glad that I now know what snickerdoodles are, and you should too.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Follow the steps to the Basic White Sugar Cookie Dough recipe.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  4. Spoon out a tablespoon of the cookie dough, form a rough ball with your hands and drop it into the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Roll the dough ball in the mixture to cover the entire surface. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Press down on the dough balls with your fingers to flatten the cookies.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, just until the bottom of each cookie is a light brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes prior to transferring to a rack to cool down completely.

Valerie