Friday, April 30, 2010

Lemon Bars

I once had a Lemon Bar recipe that people actually asked me for their secret (okay, only 2 people asked, but that's pretty good, right?).  I got the urge to make these for a Cub Scout bake sale, but my old recipe was incomplete!  I found this one on a blog--it seemed like a good one to try.  I'll have to keep looking for my old recipe for two reasons; (1) this seemed to be a lot of work and (2) I remember lemon bars being a little sweeter.  They still sold at the bake sale (but I couldn't help thinking it might have been more profitable if I had just given the scouts the money I spent to make them--then I could have claimed 2 more hours of my day!).

1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temp (16 T)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t almond extract (a lovely hint of flavor!)
3 c all-purpose flour, divided
1/8 t kosker salt 
7 large eggs
1 c honey
2 T lemon zest (looking back, I would have made the zest a little finer, it didn't seem right to bite into the lemon square and have the texture of zest)
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 5-6 lemons)
powdered sugar, for dusting


1.  Preheat your oven to 350° and greasing a 9×13 baking dish.
2.  Cream together the butter, sugar and almond extract. Gradually add in 2 c of AP flour and all of the salt. 3.  Press the resulting dough into your baking dish. It’s likely that the dough will get really sticky, more so the warmer your hands are. If it’s hard to work with, stick the dish (dough and all) in to the fridge for a few minutes to help it firm up. It will be a lot easier to work with once it’s chilled. Prick the dough with a fork once it’s all pressed into the dish.
4.  Bake the shortbread bottom at 350° for 25 minutes, until it begins to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
5.  Beat together the eggs, honey, zest, juice and remaining 1 c of AP flour.
6.  Pour the curd mixture over the shortbread and bake (still at 350°) for 25-30 minutes. You want everything to be firmly set before you pull it from the oven – no jiggling.
7.  Cool completely and cut into squares or triangles, depending on your preference.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Magic Cookie Bars

From Eagle Brand


  •    1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  •    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  •    1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  •    2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  •    1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  •    1 cup chopped nuts


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

2.  Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.

3.  Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

*I made these for a bake sale.  They were easy and tasted good, but there are other desserts I would choose before making them again (I'm not a huge coconut fan).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fancy Chicken Cordon Bleu

It wasn't too long ago that I posted a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu, but today I wanted to try a new recipe (I love my old recipe, it is simple and delicious, but it was missing the elegant factor that I wanted to capture).  Chicken Cordon Bleu has to be one of my very favorite meals.  I remember going to my college roommate's home for a Sunday meal prepared by her mother.  She served a beautiful Chicken Cordon Bleu and I thought, "I'll never be able to cook like this!"  Fortunately, this is every bit as good as I remember hers being.

For the site I found this recipe and great pictures, click here.

25 Ritz crackers (I used 20 Town House Flip Pretzel crackers)
4 slices hearty sandwich bread, white or wheat (I used a bagel I had on hand, I crumbled the cracker and bagel with my blender--this made plenty of crumbs.  I could have reduced the crackers to 15 probably)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 thin slices deli ham (about 8 ounces)
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
4 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), see note
Salt and pepper
2-3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour  (
1/2 cup is enough)


Top each ham slice with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese. If your ham slices are too small, shingle two ham slices on top of each other to create a larger slice and roll the cheese up in that. Roll tightly and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Cut a pocket in the thickest part of the chicken breast and stuff each pocket with 2 ham/cheese rolls. Pull the top flap of chicken over the rolls and press to seal (you can use a toothpick to gently secure the pocket edge, if you like). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the stuffed chicken, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the crackers and bread in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse to incorporate together. Transfer the crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow baking dish (a pie plate works great!). Leave the oven on.
In another shallow dish or pie plate, beat the eggs and mustard. Place the flour in a third shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one stuffed chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour and then dip in the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dredge the chicken in the toasted bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken. (The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.)
Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until the bottom of the chicken is browned, about 10 minutes. Move the chicken to a middle rack in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400 (you don’t have to leave the chicken out of the oven while the temperature adjusts, just put it back in the oven and then reduce the temperature), and bake until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees on an thermometer), about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

*Delicious and beautiful (my camera/photographer didn't do them justice).  In comparing this recipe and my original recipe, I loved how the bread crumbs looked on this take.  They were golden and delicious--making your own bread crumbs takes time, but you are going to impress, they are worth the effort.  Toasting them was the key.  Also, if you don't like to pound your chicken, favor this recipe.  Flouring the chicken breasts before rolling them in egg then crumbs makes the crust more of a separate entity, I liked the hint of tang the Dijon mustard added.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Artichoke Dip

1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 T diced pimento

Combine all ingredients in little crock pot.  Cover and heat 30 to 60 minutes or until hot.  Serve with tortilla chips.

*This was fair, but unless you really love artichoke hearts, I would go with another dip.  May I recommend the Creamy Spinach Dip?