The Simple Life

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We had a great one and I did get some baking done. I made Lemon Madelines, Orange Madelines, and Maple Pecan Squares. These were one of the first recipes in the Williiams-sonoma Baking cookbook. The recipe was actually for Orange Madelines but I decided to make the second batch Lemon to see how they would taste. Addison liked the orange the best, I liked the lemon better. I did make a mistake with the orange one's. I was being lazy and used baking spray. I know not to use it and I don't know why we buy it. It always makes everything taste different and crispy. But I was lazy for the first batch and used it, the Madelines were crispy and didn't really puff up. The Lemon batch I used butter and flour and they turned out nice and puffy. I need to keep reminding myself not use the baking spray, butter and flour is so much better.

The Maple Pecan Squares were easy to make and they turned out tasting like mini-pecan pies. The crust turned out really good and it only took about 5 minutes to make. JT even mentioned how great my crust is tasting.  I also found the Maple Pecan Square recipe on the Willams-Sonoma website here. So I thought I would share it with you guys.

Maple Pecan Squares


For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter,
cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

For the filling:
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Carefully line a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, letting the foil extend up the sides and over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil liner.

To make the crust by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt until blended. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.

To make the crust with a food processor, in the bowl of the processor, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched, 12 to 17 minutes. Set aside.

To make the filling, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and brown sugar and stir together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cream. Then stir in the pecans. Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it evenly to the edges with an icing spatula.

Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22 to 25 minutes. During baking, the filling will bubble vigorously, then the bubbles will subside and become smaller toward the end of baking. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool until the filling is firm, about 1 1/2 hours.

Using the ends of the foil liner, carefully lift the maple-pecan square in its liner from the baking pan. Run a small knife around the edges of the square to loosen it from the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. The squares will slide easily off the foil. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 25 squares.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003).

Sunday we went to the country.  JT's dad has 50 acres in the country and we love going on the weekends.  It's nice just to be outside and run around.  Addison and the dogs are so happy when we go to the farm.  JT and Addison did a little work on the driveway and the dogs just played.  I got to take some great pictures of everyone and everything.

You can check out more pictures here.

Isn't it beautiful?  Sometimes we just want to build a house out there and be peaceful.  But then we realize I have to go to school, JT has to work, and how would Addison get to his activities.  We are planning to put some Buffalo on the land so they land will pay for itself.  I would also love to start growing some vegetables out there.  JT just needs to take some time off to clear some stuff away.  The problem is JT never gets time off.   Well, we pray the next 2 years will be wonderful and we will have time to get some stuff done.  

Well, tonight or tomorrow I have to bake something with cherries.  I guess a cherry pie.  I got a bunch of cherries at the grocery store and Addison is eating them but I don't think fast enough.  I hate when fruit goes to waste.  I also have a bunch of lemons so I guess lemon bars again.   This time I will try to Williams-Sonoma Lemon Bar recipe in my cookbook.  I wonder if it has a Cherry Pie recipe too?  I wil have to check.  

Bye for now.  

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