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Peaches and Cream Bars

When a neighbor extends an offer to you to grab some fruit off of their tree before they start pruning it back, you do not hesitate and say “Thank you!” I don’t eat peaches (or any kind of baked fruit) myself, but how could I say no to an offering of fresh free goodness and a new challenge?

What was the new challenge? Learning how to prep and peel peaches. I had no idea there was a processes due to the fruit being so soft.

Peaches and Cream Bars - crust and filling prep
Peaches and Cream Bars – crust and filling prep

Seeing as only one of us in the house was going to be eating whatever I made with these fresh peaches, I opted for bars instead of a cobbler or pie. They’re more versatile for snacks and desserts instead of just a large dessert. I was not surprised to find myself leaning toward a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, as her recipes have turned out great in my experiments before. This time was no different.

Let’s dive in.

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Preparing Peaches
Score a small X at the bottom of each peach. Don’t cut too deep.
Prepare a pot of boiling water and a separate bowl with an ice bath (ice cubes and water).
Once the water is boiling, lower each peach into the water using a slotted spoon. Turn the peaches occasionally. Let sit in the water for 30 secs – 1 min until skin loosens (time will vary by ripeness).
Using the slotted spoon, move each peach into the ice water bath and let sit for 1 min to stop the cooking process.
Take a peach out of the path one at a time. Starting at the X, begin peeling the skin off in strips, pulling up toward the top of the peach.
Toss out skin strips. Cut or slice peach as desired.

Peaches and Cream Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Crust/Topping
1 cup (125 g) All purpose flour
1/2 cup (42 g) Old Fashion or quick cook oats
1/3 cup (67 g) packed brown sugar (light or brown, your choice)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (70 g) chopped pecans (optional)

Prepare an 8″ or 9″ square pan by lining it with parchment paper with overhangs on all sides (for easy pull out after baking). Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two forks, until coarse, pea-sized crumbs form (see Sally’s Baking Addiction post for reference photo).
Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and put it into a small bowl. Add the pecans. Set aside as the topping.
Evenly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 mins.

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp (8g) All purpose flour
2 medium peaches, pealed and chopped (about 1.5 cups)

Whisk the egg and the sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add flour. Whisk until combined.
Fold in the peaches.
Remove the crust from the oven after 15 mins and pour filling over the hot crust. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top.
Bake for 30-32 mins or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 mins. Move to fridge and chill for 2 hrs. Once chilled, life out of the pan and cut into squares.

Icing
1/2 cup (60 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together. Add more milk to thin it if needed. Drizzle over each square.

Squares can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days if tightly wrapped or in a sealed container.

Peaches and Cream Bars
Peaches and Cream Bars
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Muggles Market and Geek Gala 2019

If you follow Casual Confections on social media, you’ve seen a lot of chatter leading up to the Muggles Market and Geek Gala which both took place last Saturday. Both events were a huge success!

Want to try your hand at making any of the goodies Casual Confections sold or donated to the events? Go for it! These are the recipes I started with and tweaked to end up with the current versions on my menu:

  • Cookie Cat Cookies
  • Butterbeer fudge (gluten free)
  • Dean’s I-Want-Pie Bars (gluten free, vegan)
  • Zuul Slime Cake
  • Strawberry Shortcake-ish Cake
    • Cake – yellow box cake mix
    • Topping – same fluff recipe as above, just add ground freeze dried strawberries, strawberry flavor oil, or strawberry Jell-O mix in place of the vanilla extract. Start with a small amount and add more to taste. Sprinkle with ground freeze dried strawberries.

 

Cookie Cat
Cookie Cat: brownie cookie with strawberry and plain marshmallow fluff

ButterbeerFudgeTray
Butterbeer fudge tray

PieBars
Dean’s I-Want-Pie Bars are very customizable, gluten free, and vegan

ZuulSlimeCake
Zuul Slime Cake: black cocoa cake with vanilla pudding slime

StrawberryShortcakeIshCake
Strawberry Shortcake-ish Cake

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Passover Chocolate Raspberry Pecan Squares

Passover is a time of family gatherings which means it’s a great time for baking! The challenge with Passover bakes, though, is that they cannot have rising agents. That means that most cakes and cookies are out. For this Passover, I made two bakes. The first is a chocolate raspberry pecan square recipe from Esthero Design.

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Passover Chocolate Raspberry Pecan Squares

Dough:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 cups potato starch
2 6oz bags of ground almonds

Topping:
12 oz chocolate chips (I went with milk chocolate)
8 oz chopped pecans
15 oz raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the dough ingredients together.

Grease an 11″x17″ cookie sheet and press a piece of parchment paper onto the bottom. (Note: having some parchment paper hang over the sides will help with releasing the bars from the cookie sheet. Otherwise, you may end up needing to cut the bars on your sheet, which isn’t good for the sheet.) Press the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making sure its distributed evenly. Bake for 20 mins.

Take the dough out of the oven. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. The jam will get easier to spread as it is heated by the hot dough. Sprinkle the chocolate and the pecans over the jam.

Bake for an additional 25 mins.

Allow the squares to cool completely before cutting.

Note: squares taste great frozen!

Passover Chocolate Raspberry Pecan Bars
Uncut tray of Passover chocolate raspberry pecan squares

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Chocolate Pear Cake

Some family was recently traveling in Italy and started sending my photos of some goods in the local bakeries. They’re returning back this weekend and asked about two different cakes. After some Googling and talking with some fellow bakers, we determined that one was a chocolate pear cake and the other was an Italian apple cake. Today I tried the chocolate pear cake using a recipe by An Italian in my kitchen.

It smelled delicious while it baked and looks very tasty now that it’s done. Looking forward to everyone tasting it tomorrow.
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Chocolate Pear Cake

2 large pears either William, Anjou, or Bartlett – I used Bartlett
1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, dark chocolate (I chopped up some full-sized morsels instead)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease and flour or parchment a 9” cake pan. I used a spring-form pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and milk until combined. Set aside.

Peel, core, and slice the pears.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Then, slowly add the vegetable oil and beat until combined (about 1 min). Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the yogurt mixture. Beat until combined (about 1 min).

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Top with pear slices, sliced side down. Sprinkle with mini dark chocolate chips.

Bake for approximately 45 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.