bars · cookies

Brown Butter Sugar Cookie Bars with Salted Caramel Buttercream.

You. Guys.

This Brown Butter Sugar Cookie Bars with Salted Caramel Buttercream recipe from The Recipe Critic’s blog is the stuff of dreams.

There is nothing in this recipe that I don’t love. Brown butter? Check. Sugar cookie? Check. Salted caramel? Double check. Buttercream? Hell, yes. Yaaaasss, even.

There are two things I would adjust in the recipe – aside from the author’s use of  “course” when referring to a type of sea salt. I’m an English major, so these things bother me.

  1. I’d recommend using the flaky type of sea salt for sprinkling over the frosting. Specifically, I recommend Maldon’s Flaky Sea Salt. It’s somehow simultaneously soft and crunchy. I can’t explain it, but I think it’s the best salt for finishing.
  2. To get the nice light caramel color on the bars like in my picture (which I prefer to the darker color on the recipe), just keep an eye on the bake time so that the bars don’t overbrown. It’s totally your preference, but I like a blonder cookie bar.

As an aside, you can expect to see a lot of salted caramel stuff on this blog. It’s my unicorn flavor.

cookies

My Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

My son is 12, and when I ask him what kind of cookies I should make, 9 times out of 10, he asks for peanut butter.

These cookies, from Handle the Heat, are fantastic. The cookies themselves have a good peanut butter punch, and they’re filled with peanut butter chips and Reese’s Pieces. Triple peanut butter PLUS chocolate chips. They’re just soft enough and deliciously chewy. People. You cannot go wrong with these cookies.

As written, these cookies are a good size. When I made them for my friend’s restaurant, I used a full 1/2 cup of cookie dough. PER COOKIE. That, my friend, is a giant cookie. If you go that route, double the recipe and watch the bake time to maintain the soft and chewy texture.

 

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All Butter Pie Crust

My tried and true recipe.

Ingredients

For a double-crust pie.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur, unbleached AP flour)
  • 2/3 cup salted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water

For a single-crust pie:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water

Tools:

  • Pastry cutter
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Plastic wrap or waxed paper
  • Rolling pin (with sock, if desired)
  • Roulpat or other flour-able surface

Instructions:

In a big bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add the chilled butter and work it through the flour mixture with the pastry cutter until it looks like coarse meal. To ensure a flaky crust, you will want to have pea-sized bits of butter visible. Add half of the iced water, and continue to cut in with the pastry cutter. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together. You may need to use your hands at the end to get the remainder of the flour mixture incorporated. Just be quick about it; you don’t want the butter to get soft.

If you are making a double-crust pie, divide the dough evenly into two pieces. Form the dough into a ball, and place it on a square of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using the plastic wrap or waxed paper, shape the ball into a disk. Wrap up the dough and put it in the fridge (or freezer, if your kitchen is hot) for a bit to chill while you make the pie filling.

When you’re ready to roll out the dough, prepare a floured surface. I use a Roulpat and a wooden rolling pin covered by a cotton sock, all dusted with flour. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Transfer the dough to a buttered pie plate (I like ceramic or stoneware pie plates), and press down with your fingers to remove any air bubbles.

At this point, you’ll follow your recipe — whether you pre-bake the crust or not.

Good luck! Butter is better!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The Bakary is open!

I’ve started this blog because I love to bake, I love to write, and I always get requests for the recipes I use. I thought this would be a good convergence of the three things.

This weekend, I’m having a few friends over for dinner. Of course, this means I had to make a dessert, so I decided on strawberry rhubarb pie, since both are in season right now where I live. I first had strawberry rhubarb pie when I was a teenager, working as a hostess at Baker’s Square in Minneapolis. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve used the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction website before, and it’s amazing. Usually, strawberry rhubarb pies tend to be pretty runny. I like a pie that holds together and doesn’t get all goopy once you cut into it. The addition of a good bit of cornstarch helps the filling to hold together without tasting gluey or pasty. And Sally is a genius and uses brown sugar and orange juice in the filling — this variation from the norm adds a nice complexity to the flavor.

Sally shows her pie with a lattice top. It’s beautiful, but I almost always do a full, two-crust pie. This is because I’m not great at lattice work and also because I love the crust almost as much as I love the pie filling.

I always make an all-butter crust. I am trying to avoid processed foods, like shortening, whenever possible. Plus, I think a good salted butter and a pastry cutter are the keys to a flaky and perfect pie crust.

I prefer my pie warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. How do you take yours? Ice cream, whipped cream, or plain?

Welcome to the Bakary! Let’s make stuff.