Friday, August 7, 2020

How to Woo a Brit: Custard Creams

I decided for the month of August I would post British cookies/biscuits. We perhaps would be traveling there now if the situation were different, but it is what it is. My husband is British, and we often go to the British store that is just a couple of towns over. I love to look at the candies and chocolates there, but then tend to actually purchase things that we need, like tea. One of the things that I have seen there are Custard Creams, and we may have even purchased them once. When I saw this recipe for a homemade version, I thought that would be fun to bake.

The cookies are very simple, although many people don’t have custard powder on hand. I do, and I use it from time to time. This recipe uses the largest quantity of custard powder I have ever encountered, half a cup, but I have plenty. I always forget that custard powder has a pink tinge to it, and I wondered if that would show up in the cookies. I didn’t, thankfully.

One difference between my cookies and store-bought ones is that mine are quite puffy, which does make them a little difficult to eat. I guess you could flatten them, and that would help. The filling is a small quantity but is just enough to fill the cookies. My batch made 24 cookies, or 12 sandwiches. My husband ate a cookie before they were filled, and I said that they were paired. He took care of that unevenness quickly! They are great with the filling, and for some reason make me think of Christmas cookies rather than custard cookies. Either way, they are fabulous.

How to Woo a Brit: Custard Creams

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup Bird’s custard powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
A few drops of vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, custard powder, and baking soda; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium for 3 minutes. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture.

Shape the cookies into small rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. With the tines of a fork, press a cross-hatch design into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, just until the bottom of the cookies begin to color. Allow to cool completely before proceeding. 

Make the filling: in a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Mix the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy. Use the filling to sandwich together two cookies of equal size.

Recipe from Christina’s Cucina

Friday, July 31, 2020

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I had a different recipe planned for today, using up some ingredients that I had on hand. Out of the blue my husband sent me a link to these bars, and he said that he was looking out for me since he didn’t want me to have to turn on the oven. I do appreciate that, but sometimes cooking a mixture on top of the stove is just as warm! I figured I could adapt this recipe and make it my own and avoid turning on the oven.

The original recipe for these bars was a combination of chocolate and oats, which is quite classic for a no-bake cookie. I’m not the biggest fan of uncooked oats, but these are cooked slightly on the stove so I thought that would be an improvement. I didn’t want to make another cookie with chocolate filling, as I seem to have made a lot of those lately, so I changed the milk chocolate chips to peanut butter chips. There was already peanut butter in the filling, so I knew that would be a fine substitution.

I was getting ready to make the bars and I knew I was low on oats, but I was REALLY low and didn’t have enough to make the recipe. I went online and searched to see if ground almonds would be a good substitute, as I had those on hand. The Internet was not helpful, and darn it, I don’t want to make oat flour. I tried it anyway and it seemed to work ok, although perhaps a little less butter would have been even better. I refrigerated my bars overnight and I certainly recommend cutting the cookies when they are super cold. Peanut butter and oats is a wonderful combination, but keep them stored in the refrigerator or they will get melty.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars 
1 cup butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup ground almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
2/4 cup peanut butter

Line an 8” square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Heat oven medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Add the oats, ground almonds, cinnamon and salt and cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.

Press about 2/3 of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Make the filling: in a large glass measuring cup, combine the peanut butter chips and peanut butter. Cover the measuring cup and microwave the mixture in 30 second increments, stirring frequently, until melted. Pour all but ¼ cup of the peanut butter mixture onto the prepared oat crust.

Sprinkle the remaining oat topping over the bars, pressing down slightly. Top with a drizzle of the remaining peanut butter mixture.

Refrigerate the cookies for at least 4 hours before cutting into bars.

Recipe from My Incredible Recipes

Friday, July 24, 2020

No-Bake KitKat Squares

Some of the travel restrictions in my area have lessened a bit. I still am not to sure about being around people, so my husband and I haven’t done anything very extravagant. We work and stay at home a lot. A couple of weekends ago we did visit my parents one afternoon and had lunch. We also exchanged gifts for Easter, my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, and Father’s Day. Needless to say, we were a bit behind on things!

My parents gave me some KitKats for Easter, along with some other things. One of the things they gave us were the homemade Take 5 candies that my dad made. They were so good and just perfect, and we ate those up right away. I figured that I could find a recipe using KitKats, so I went looking and found a couple of different options. This week I made these no-bake squares, as I had all of the ingredients on hand.

Ok, so I did have to replace my very stale Vanilla Wafer Cookies, but otherwise I was good. This is quick to come together and I didn’t have to turn on the oven. I chose to melt the chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk on the stove and the mixture got a touch warm, but ok. Maybe the microwave would have been easier. I made these with KitKats, but you could certainly use leftover candy as the original recipe suggests. These bars cut best when cold, and if your house it at all warm, I’d store them in the refrigerator.

No-Bake KitKat Squares
½ cup butter, melted
8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
4.5 ounces KitKat Bars (3 packages, or other candy)

Line an 8” square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, process the vanilla wafer cookies until they are crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a separate bowl and add the melted butter. Mix until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set the food processor aside as you will use it for the topping.

In the microwave, or on the stove in a small saucepan, melt the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips over low heat. Stir frequently until the mixture is smooth. Spread the chocolate filling over the vanilla wafer cookie crust.

To make the topping, place the KitKat Bars in the food processor and process until crumbly. Top the bars evenly with the KitKat crumbs and press slightly to adhere. Refrigerate the bars for several hours before cutting into bars.

Recipe from A Baker’s House