Entries in Holidays (2)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas shared with family and friends.
Now go grab a glass of milk and get ready for some ooey-gooey goodness.
When I think of holiday baking I automatically think about baking with my mom when I was little. Magic bars and chocolate chip cookies made with love for Santa. Well the cookies were for Santa. The magic bars were for us. We just got to share the cookies with Santa, hehe. I don't remember when we first started making magic bars, but they were definitley made during the Christmas holidays in our house.
A couple of Christmas' ago someone gifted our family some homemade baked goodies. I couldn't believe what I saw when I opened the tin.
I bet you can guess.
Yep, MAGIC BARS! Well I of course had to have one, and oh wow!
It was like my childhood exploded in my mouth!
The holiday just wouldn't be complete without making a batch of these squares.
Traditionally my mom never fully followed the original recipe. She got rid of the nuts, used more chocolate chips, and added mini marshmallows to the mix. Instead of pouring the whole can of condensed milk over top of the graham crumb base she would pour half and save the other half to pour on top of the chocolate chip/coconut mix. But the best part about making these is that there's real mixing required.
Magic bars, also know as seven layer bars normally consist of:
- A graham crumb and butter bottom
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Flaked coconut
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Chopped nuts
- And sometimes butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips
These are such a treat. If you've never given them a try then you simply must. They're easy as anything. Even for those people who say they can't bake without setting a fire. Sweet, rich, and delicious. The hardest part is waiting for them to completely cool before you can eat one.
Magic Bars (makes 12-15 bars)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 (14oz) can sweetend condensed milk
- 1 1/3 cups shredded unsweetend coconut
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 350*F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in an 8x8 baking pan (I like to use a non-stick aluminum pan). Make sure the butter is evenly mixed with the graham crumbs. Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan.
- Pour half of the condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. In a large bowl, toss the coconut and chocolate chips together and then sprinkle evenly into the pan over the condensed milk.
- Next, layer the marshmallows on top of the chocolate and coconut. Evenly, pour the rest of the condensed milk over top to finsih.
- Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
- Cut into bars and enjoy!
I know I promised chai tea lattes, but do to complications of a broken milk frother, that will have to wait for another day.
So instead I've got a double shot for you. I'm going to share two recipes;
1. The best pastry dough you've ever rolled out! and...
2. A classic deep dish apple pie.
This comes on the heels of Thanksgiving of course, so everything you see is clearly indulgent. I just thought I'd put that out there.
Now I am going to do this in two parts mainly because I've found that there aren't many sites that give a detailed explanation on how to make a good pie pastry (accept for the pioneer woman of course). So today I'll show you how to make the pie dough and in my next post I'll give you my recipe for a huge classic apple pie.
If you have ever been anxious about making pastry (let's face it, it's not always an easy feat), then this is the pastry dough for you. It's flaky, it's tender and it rolls out like a dream come true. There's no cracking or crumbling when rolling this pastry out. It turns out perfect every time. It also makes a lot of dough, which freezes well.
This is actually the pastry that Marty's World Famous Coffee House in Bracebridge Ontario uses. If you've ever been there then you know that they're famous for their giant buttertart's and pies. They even come with a warning on the box: "Do not drive and eat these tarts; you will wear them". It's a very old recipe, literally a century old, that was used by La congregation des Soeurs grises (The Grey Nuns) in Quebec, that was passed down through Marty's family. I realize some of you don't know what buttertart's are so here is a picture.
Getting back to the pie dough, here is the starting lineup of players:
Before you get started I'm going to give you a few tips for making perfect pastry:
- Always use a chilled stainless steel bowl.
- Chill the Tenderflake/Crisco for an hour before using.
- Don't over-cut the lard into the flour; it should be loose and light.
- Whip the egg white in a clean, steel bowl. Any residue from the lard will reduce fluffiness.
- Ice-cold water is important to use.
- Wrap and chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour before rolling out.
Century-Old Nun's Pastry Dough (makes 1 "head" of dough: 3 pie crusts)
- 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1lb Tenderflake (lard or shortening)
- 1 egg, separated
- Sift the flour into a large chilled stainless steel bowl. Whisk in the salt. Cut the lard into small cubes and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter work the lard into the flour until the mix resembles a course, floury crumble.
- Separate the egg white into a bowl for whisking (if you have a mixer fitted with a whisk; all the better) and the yolk into a measuring jug. Add the lemon juice to the egg yolk and top with ice cold water to the 1-cup line, and stir well.
- Whisk the egg white until foamy and white. About 2-3 minutes on high-speed if using a stand mixer.
- Using your hands, make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mix and gently fold together with your fingertips from the outer edges in just until it starts to come together. While the mix is still a bit floury, add the whipped egg white and gently press and fold the dough from outside to inside, until all the flour comes together into a paste-like ball.
- Divide the dough into 3 separate balls then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before using.
If you'd like a visual demonstration of how to make this pastry check out this video. And don't forget to come back Monday for a classic apple pie recipe!
I think it's time a for green smoothie now.