Sunday, December 30, 2012

Walnut Tartlets

Over the Christmas holiday, I was lucky enough to a.) go back to Chicago for some quality family dinner time and b.) attend a mini 10-year reunion with some of the girls I was close with in high school.  Being one of the few of us who still live in the area, my friend Liz graciously invited everyone over to her apartment for a tea party (we're a bunch of classy ladies), and I decided that no proper tea was complete without mini walnut tartlets. I found the recipe in my mother's enviable stash of random recipes, so I don't know who originally created it - but I do know that the crunchy walnut filling provided exactly the wintery spice I had been craving and that the dough turned out so sweet and flakey that I will definitely be incorporating it into my usual repertoire of pies. Happy New Year!

For the dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt

*In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and sugar; stir until combined. Add flour and salt, stir until well mixed. Roll dough into small (about 1") balls and press into the bottom and sides of mini tartlet pans. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the filling
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup (I used dark because that was what was in my mother's cupboard)
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
spices to taste - I a combination of vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon and ground cloves

*Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl, then stir in sugar, corn syrup, butter, walnuts and spices. Spoon about a tablespoon of mixture into each tartlet pan. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in tins for 5 minutes, then gently remove tartlets and cool completely on a wire rack. I found that running a very thin skewer along the edges of the pan helped to ease them out without breaking (they're pretty fragile). Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a steaming cup of tea ;)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday bark

 I decided to jump on this season's bark train and make my own version of this holiday treat (is it only at the holidays one can eat bark? Note to self: make bark in July, be a rebel, enjoy.) I made two kinds: Pumpkin Pie Bark (pie blog...) and Cranberry Bliss Bark (because it sounded good). One thing about the Pumpkin Pie Bark - pumpkin puree doesn't freeze well, so resist the urge to add a lot into your chocolate mix. Compensate for the lack of puree with a healthy shake of the spice jars. Happy barking!