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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Anna's adapted Deluxe 8 Inch Pan Brownies

I was so excited to see Anna's post on Cookie Madness  here today!  I tried it as soon as I saw it.  Sometimes a recipe just hits me hard between the eyes!  Also, I had all the simple ingredients. I only made ONE, yes, ONE change!   I followed her recipe exactly except I used salted butter (omitted the extra salt), and added 2 more tablespoons of flour, and used decaffeinated coffee.   OK.  You caught me.  I made THREE changes!  The crust is crispy and from Anna's teaching, I believe that is from beating the eggs for 3 minutes...They came out a little fudgier for me, but that may be because I just might have under baked them a bit.  I added the extra flour and I believe that helped the chocolate chips stay dispersed through out the batter and not sink.
If you try them you won't be disappointed!
See Anna's post for the recipe!

The "flashy" photo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yummy, shiny, chocolate chip deliciousness

Just a short post to steer you to some excellent CC cookies!  Darlene by way of Anna at Cookie Madness steered me to these cookies.   I made them twice.  The first time I added a 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.  Not so great.   The second time I made them with no changes (for a change).  Great.  I've eaten and baked a lot of cookies.  They are near or at the top of my list.   You can get the recipe here:  Lee's chocolate chip cookies See photos below of CCC and my neighbor's  rescued King Charles spaniel mix named Finnegan.  He is so cute I can't help but post him!!!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Easy Cuban-style guava pastelitos (pastelito de guayaba)

Have you ever tried Cuban pastries? A few years back I fell in love with the  Cuban guava pastelitos I purchased at a kosher bakery in Miami Beach called Rolling Pin Kosher bakery.  I liked them so much that I purchased 6 more of them and carried them on the plane back to Minnesota.  They were the perfect combination of tart and sweet with a flaky, rich, shiny pastry.  As you know, Miami is a long way from Minnesota-too far to travel for this treat (even though I have been known to put on some 120 miles to buy my favorite caramels!) so I searched the Internet and came up with a couple of recipes. I was happy to learn Pepperidge Farm Puff pastry could be used for the dough-I don't like to make dough from scratch. It doesn't turn out for me.  The recipes also called for guava paste and had instructions on how to make it from canned guava shells.  So for the last two years I've been lazily checking my local Super mercado to find guava shells in order to make guava paste.   I checked local grocery stores also, but I couldn't find guava shells.  I didn't think about using guava jelly and it may exist in Minnesota, but I don't know where. So here I was in Fort Myers last December and low and behold not only did they have the guava shells, but they also had pre-made guava paste!  So I said to my self who needs to make paste when Publix grocery store is loaded with it!  So, I lugged three 21 ounce containers of it home!

To me guava filling tastes a little bit like rhubarb, but not exactly.  Plus guava is a fruit and rhubarb is vegetable. The pre-made paste is thick and does not spread easily on toast unless you microwave it for 15 or 20 seconds.  Anyways, I took some tips from Three Guys from Miami- TGFM (if you look at their site, scroll down to the For The Less Dedicated section) and 5 Star Foodie and came up with a hybrid   First I tried them without cream cheese and in a strudel shape per TGFM.

I also sprinkled some sea salt on one of them right after brushing on a simple syrup.   I liked it that way.
Next I made another batch with cream cheese, but kept the same shape because it just seemed easier to do it that way rather than making individual pockets.   Next time I think I would do the individual pockets because they look better and then you don't have to make a mess trying to cut the pastry.

It was probably the way I prepared the cream cheese, but I could barely find it in the finished product.  It seemed to melt into the guava paste or the pastry and I wanted it to be layered.   Oh well!!  My taste testers liked the cream cheese pastries better for some reason.

Here is the recipe for just the guava filling with a few easy steps. 

Utensils you will need:
1 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
1 small saucepan
1 potato masher 
1 microwaveable bowl

Ingredients for simple syrup:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt (about 1/16 of a teaspoon)

Ingredients for egg wash:
I large egg
2 oz water

Ingredients for guava filling:
1/3 cup guava paste
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Ingredients for optional cream cheese addition:
4 ounces cream cheese (Maybe you could use 6 ounces?)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 egg ( if you are going to use the cream cheese, beat the one egg listed above for the egg wash (you should have about a quarter cup of egg) and then divide it in half.  Mix half with the cream cheese and to what's left of the egg add a tablespoon of water and use that for the egg wash.    Beat all ingredients together until smooth.  See pictures on how to spread it on top of the guava paste.

Ingredients for dough:
1/2 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, or make your own.

Sea salt for sprinkling on top-If using cream cheese I'd leave it off.  

Set dough out to thaw per package instructions (set out on a plate for about 40 min at room temperature).

Make simple syrup first.   Combine sugar and water in a small pan.  Mix together over medium high heat until dissolved then stir until boiling.  Reduce heat to low, add pinch of salt, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. 

Mix egg with water and set aside. 

Microwave 1/2 cup of guava paste for about 20 seconds. Mash guava paste with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice until it is mostly smooth.  

Once dough is almost ready to use, preheat oven to 350°.

Cut the pastry dough lengthwise in half and then cut the halves in half again so that you have four long strips of dough. Place two strips of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spoon to spread a stripe of guava filling down the center of each dough strip.
Moisten the edges of the dough strips with a little water. Cover each filling covered strip with the remaining two dough strips. Seal the edges on all sides of the dough by pressing and smoothing gently with your hands (some people use fork tines to make a design).
Brush the top with the egg wash (recipe above). Bake approximately 30 to 40 minutes (I baked mine 32 minutes) – pastry should be crisp on top and browning. Remove the pastry strips from the oven and brush with syrup (recipe above). If you are going to use sea salt, this is the time to sprinkle it sparingly on each pastry.  Return to oven and bake an additional five or six minutes.
Let cool for about 7-10 minutes and then cut the pastries into individual serving-sized squares. The simple syrup coating hardens and makes it difficult to get clean cuts if you wait until it is cool to cut it.