Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Best, bar none

I know maybe three or four things to do with the end of the jar of jam: put it into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; mix it with a cup of water and a tablespoonful of cornstarch, and cook until slightly thickened--use on pancakes; make Tightwad Gazette jam-and-milk popsicles (I've tried them but I couldn't get the jam really mixed with the milk, so they're not my first choice); or make these bars, which are so accommodating that you can make half the pan one flavour and half the pan another, if your jam jars are really close to the bottom.

Also these have a very nice flavour--I think it's the combination of the almond flavouring and the cloves. They're from the first Harrowsmith Cookbook.

JAM BARS

½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour (I use unbleached all-purpose)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
Jam, any flavour you like--and the amount is up to your sweet tooth. (Apricot is very good.)

Cream the shortening and sugar with the flavourings, and beat in the egg. Sift the dry ingredients together (I just mix them in another bowl) and add to the creamed mixture. You may need to sprinkle the dough with just a LITTLE water if you find it's too dry.

Spread half the dough in a greased 8" square pan. Cover with jam, which isn't always easy to do without messing up the dough--you just have to spread it out the best you can. Cover with the rest of the dough mixture (it's okay if it doesn't quite cover all the jam) and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool before you cut them in squares. Even then, they can be a bit crumbly for eating out of hand--but they're good.


CHOCOLATE FINGERS

These are a family favourite at Christmas time, and we make only ONE PAN. I linked last year to where somebody had posted the recipe on a message board. Since then that's disappeared, so I decided it was time to post it myself. (We found it in Canadian Living's Family Cookbook.)

1 pkg (400g) digestive biscuits (For those of you who can't get digestive biscuits, you can substitute 1-3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, or maybe 'Nilla wafer crumbs.)
½ cup finely chopped nuts
½ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 Tbsp hot water

2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla

GLAZE:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp shortening

INSTRUCTIONS

Line 8-inch square pan with waxed or parchment paper, leaving enough paper hanging over the edges for easy removal later.

1. Using food processor or rolling pin, crush biscuits until in fine crumbs (or use a food processor). Transfer to bowl and add nuts.

2. In saucepan or bowl set over simmering water: melt butter; whisk in sugar and cocoa.

3. Dissolve coffee in hot water; add to pan and cook over simmering water, whisking for 1 minute or until thickened and sugar is dissolved.

4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla; cook, whisking, for 4-5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from heat.

5. With fork, stir in crumb mixture. Mix well.

6. Press firmly into prepared pan (lined with wax paper). Cover and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

GLAZE: (don’t prepare this until base is cooled and ready)

1. In saucepan over simmering water, stir chocolate with shortening until melted and smooth.

2. Pour over base, spreading evenly.

3. Cover and refrigerate until set.

4. Using waxed paper as handles, lift square from pan. Cut into small squares or fingers.

5. Keep covered in refrigerator. These will keep for several days.

3 comments:

Marsha said...

I'm going to make the jam bars. I WAS going to make the pumpkin pie today but decided I wasn't in the mood to whip egg whites (feeling fluish and therefore wanting as little work as possible).

But the tofu chocolate pie has become a company staple.

Mama Squirrel said...

You're making me hungry, and I just had breakfast.

What kind of crust did you end up making for the pie?

Hope you're feeling better...

Marsha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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