Raspberry Smacks

I made these for a New Year’s Party as well, and they turned out very well. I had some homemade raspberry jam that my mom gave me, and they made the perfect filling for these squares.

There is a sweet shortbread type crust, a raspberry jam filling, and a brown sugar meringue on top. I saw a picture of these, and I wasn’t too sure about them, but I was so pleasantly surprised.

I found this recipe in one of my cookbooks – a Company’s Coming Sweet Treats book. It did not disappoint, even though I didn’t know what to expect. If you are looking for a new recipe to try that’s a little out of the ordinary, I would highly recommend this one!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 16 squares, depending on cut size

For the crust:

2 egg yolks
1½ c. flour
½ c. brown sugar, packed
½ c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt

For the filling:

1 c. raspberry jam (store bought or homemade)

For the topping:

2 egg whites, at room temperature
1 c. brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 inch square pan with foil or parchment paper.

To make the crust, whisk all crust ingredients in a large bowl until crumbly. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Drop teaspoonfuls of jam over the bottom layer, and spread evenly.

In a medium bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites until frothy. Add brown sugar, in three increments, beating well after each addition, until stiff peaks form.

Spread meringue mixture over the jam. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Slice, and serve.

Peaches and Cream Bars

These are so reminiscent of both summer, and peach pie. They are so good, and pretty easy to make as well.The best part is that you can use both fresh peaches, or canned or jarred peaches. I had some jarred peaches, and I used them, and these turned out great. They were also easy because the crust and the topping are the same mixture, you just have to save a little bit of the crust and use it at the end.I found the recipe here, and they did not disappoint. If you are in the throes of the winter blues, go make these to bring back a little bit of sunshine!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 3 dozen bars, depending on cut size

For the crust/topping:

3 c. flour
1½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1½ c. butter, chilled and cubed

For the filling:

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
¾ c. flour
Pinch of salt
2 lbs peaches, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the butter is evenly combined and the mixture is crumbly.Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture, and set aside. Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan, and press into a firm layer. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until at least 10 minutes.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add in the sour cream, flour, and salt, and whisk again. Fold in the sliced peaches.Pour the filling mixture over the baked crust, and sprinkle remaining mixture over the peach mixture in an even layer.Bake in the preheated oven until top is browned and filling is set, about 45-50 minutes. Cool at least 1 hour on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Butter Tart Squares

Here is a Canadian classic… in square form! These are even easier than making butter tarts, because you just make one big batch. Paul was a little out of sorts, because he firmly believes that raisins belong in butter tarts, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I took the “optional” directive for the raisins.

These are so easy to make, and how could you go wrong with such a classic treat? I found the original recipe here, and as I said, the only thing I changed was to leave out the aforementioned optional raisins.

I made these for a New Year’s Party, and had a ton leftover, so we decided to freeze them and have them later. These were a hit, so go make them!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 3 dozen squares, depending on cut side

For the crust:

2 c. flour
4 tbsp. icing sugar
1 c. butter, cold and cubed
1-2 tbsp. cold water

For the filling:

½ c. butter
3 c. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. vanilla
¾ c. golden raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and icing sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until pea-sized lumps of butter remain. Add water as needed to get mixture to hold together when you squeeze a lump of it.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan, and press into a firm layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a microwave safe measuring cup. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and the brown sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until smooth. Add in the vanilla and the vinegar, and whisk again. Stir in the raisins, if using.

Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling center is almost set – just a slight jiggle.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, and refrigerate for several hours before slicing and serving.

Triple-Layer Moist Chocolate Cake

This cake has been sent down from the Chocolate Gods for us all to enjoy. It is so easy to make, and DAMN it makes a good cake. I originally stumbled across this recipe a few years ago, and it came on my radar again when a friend asked if I could make a chocolate cake for her. The only hitch was that it had to be gluten-free. I turned to a good friend for a recipe recommendation, and she told me to just use a good cake recipe I had and sub in some gluten-free flour. I double-checked that all the other ingredients were gluten-free, and it was AMAZING.

So yes, I have only made this cake gluten-free, but here’s the deal. I made this cake twice: one test run, and one for my friend. I took the test-run gluten-free cake to a party, and didn’t tell anyone it was gluten-free until after everyone finished it… and they HAD NO IDEA. They said it was an amazing cake and they COULDN’T BELIEVE the cake was gluten-free. That was the only swap I made! This cake is THAT GOOD. *I did forget to get a picture of the cross-section, but this cake was incredible!*

The original recipe, found here, is not gluten-free, but that is the only change I made – other than the tweaks I made to the frosting. I’m sure it is just as good with regular flour. But man, this is a really freaking delicious cake. For the frosting, I prefer the texture of all-butter icings, so I used all butter in the frosting, and lessened the amount of icing sugar, as I got my frosting to my preferred texture and consistency with less. I have included my changes below, but if you would like the original measurements, be sure to go and check out Life, Love and Sugar. She is fantastic! If you like chocolate, then get ready. This cake will rock your world.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 triple-layer 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. hot water

For the frosting:

2½ c. butter, at room temperature
5-6 c. icing sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. cocoa powder
4-5 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom, and grease the sides.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, and oil, and whisk again.

Add the vanilla to the boiling water, and add in to mixture, mixing well.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans, and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs.

Allow cakes to cool in pans about 10 minutes before removing cakes from pans and cooling completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add in 4 c. icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp. of milk. Mix until smooth, and check for consistency.

Add in the rest of the icing sugar, the cocoa powder and 1-2 more tbsp. of milk until smooth and spreadable.

Once cakes are cool, level with a knife. On a cake plate, spread a small dollop of frosting in the center to make the bottom cake stick. Place the bottom layer of cake down, and cover with about 1 cup of frosting. Repeat with the second cake layer and another cup of frosting.

Add last cake layer, then frost rest of cake. I went for a more rustic, swooshy style of decorating, but feel free to make the frosting perfectly smooth. Slice, and serve!

Confetti Squares

These bad boys are now in the permanent rotation. They are also known as Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares, Butterscotch Squares… I’ve heard a ton of names for these little squares of deliciousness. They are one of Paul’s favourites, and SO FREAKING EASY! I didn’t realize until I made them what I have been missing out on.

I found the recipe here, but let’s just get this straight – there are a TON of variations of the recipe. The measurements are all generally the same, but I used this one because of the amount of peanut butter. Oh yeah. The peanut butter mixture was perfect. Now I just have to make these again with crunchy peanut butter… I’m a smooth peanut butter girl, but Paul loves the crunchy. I told him I wanted to stick with the original directions (in 99% of the recipes I found) that use smooth peanut butter. We’ll see how it goes!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 12-16 squares, depending on cut size

¼ c. butter
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 bag butterscotch chips
4-5 c. multicoloured mini marshmallows

Line a 9×9 inch square pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips together until smooth. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly. (If you don’t let it cool, you will melt the marshmallows – not good!)

Fold in the marshmallows when mixture has cooled. Make sure marshmallows are evenly coated. Pour into the prepared pan, and press into an even layer with a spatula.

Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 1-2 hours, or until firm, then slice.