Peach Cobbler Bars

There are some foods that just taste like they were made for summer.

When I think of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), I think of summer. When I eat stone fruit, it’s usually summer. A large part of this is because stone fruit season is during the summer months. But I also think it just comes down to the flavors.

They’re sharp and bright and fresh. They’re sweet, juicy and refreshing–all of the tastes that you want on hot summer days.

I can never let the summer pass without making SOME kind of fruit dessert, specifically a stone fruit one. I just can’t do it.

Fortunately, I do make a pretty mean peach cobbler.  However, if I had to give ONE downside to it, I would say that cobbler’s don’t exactly ‘travel’ well. Divvying it up after that first day can also be a little bit tricky.

Today’s recipe is a twist on the original and solves both of those pesky cobbler complications without being any more difficult to make than the original.

Most peach cobblers are made with a fruit filling on the bottom, and a puffy, biscuit-like crust that gets plopped on top, then baked for about an hour. The main difference here, is that there’s crust on the top and bottom, and the texture is slightly different.

If I had to liken it to anything, I’d say the crust is like a cross between shortbread and pie crust and it comes together very easily. The easiest way will be if you have a box grater to cut the butter into the flour, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Just cut it into small cubes and smash it up with a fork or pastry blender. Unlike some cobblers whose crusts can get drowned in filling, this crust holds up very well for all of the juicy peach filling that gets poured on top.

I think what I love most about this dish is that all of the proportions are just right. There’s just the right amount of peach filling to crust. Neither one overwhelms the other. The flavors of the peaches are sublime and they bake to a perfect, juicy gooey consistency. This is a PERFECT dish for traveling to summer barbecues, cookouts, potlucks or the beach. Once you give it enough time to cool, the bars cut very easily, and they’re simple to place into individualized portions.

Best of all, even if you’re a beginner baker, you can pull this off. So get to it. Summer will be over before we know it.

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Peach Cobbler Bars

Recipe Adapted from Taste of the South

Ingredients

  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8 cups peeled, pitted, and diced fresh peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricots (any stone fruit you want to use will work) (about 8 peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, (whole, or cubed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 1/4 cup-1/3 cup milk, if needed

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray it GENEROUSLY with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a  large bowl combine 1 cup of the brown sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir in the peaches, orange zest and orange juice until the peaches are evenly coated. Set aside.

In another large bowl combine the whisk together the other 1 cup of brown sugar with the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. If you have a box grater, use it to grate the butter into the dry ingredients. If you do not, then cut the butter into cubes and use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until they are crumbly and resemble bread crumbs in texture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Make a well into the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, using a large fork to stir together just until combined. If after stirring, it is still too dry and crumbly, you may add the milk, a little bit at a time until it does hold together into a craggy mass. (It doesn’t have to be perfect or super wet).

Press 3/4s of the flour mixture into the bottom of the lined baking dish. You can use your fingers, the bottom of a measuring cup or a spatula you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. (Don’t worry about making it perfect, just try to aim for as even a layer as you can so you get an even bottom crust.)

Pour the reserved peach filling on top of the bottom crust and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining flour-butter mixture, trying to get an even layer out of it, breaking it apart with your fingers if need be (It’s going to spread out and fill out while baking, so again, don’t stress about making it perfect).

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven until browned, set and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes. (You may have to cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly for the middle to set up.)

Allow to cool for about 30-40 minutes before cutting into bars.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #286, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Rosemary Pound Cake

When it comes to the list of my favorite fresh herbs to use in the kitchen, rosemary is right at the top.

I love the clean, fresh smell. I love that the leaves are easier to pluck off the stems than some other herbs (looking at you thyme).

Up until today, pretty much all of my culinary uses for rosemary were for savory dishes. I can’t and don’t do without it at the holidays when I’m roasting my turkey. It lends itself so well to braises and stews of all kinds, but especially those with poultry.

For this past year’s 12 Days of Christmas, I baked with it for the first time in savory rosemary and thyme flavored crackers that I really enjoyed.

Today’s post marked the first time I ever baked something sweet using rosemary. I was really intrigued going into it, but also a little nervous. The general concern with using rosemary in whatever you’re cooking, is over seasoning with it. Like lavender, too much rosemary in a dish can make it up tasting like soap. Blegh.

I said in a post a couple months back that pound cake is a blank canvas recipe. That means, that It tastes wonderful all on its own, but the addition of extra ingredients can take those muted flavors and turn them into something even tastier. I’ve tried this concept multiple times with other pound cakes on the blog and I thought that it would interesting to try and see what rosemary could do as a flavor booster.

I was very pleased with how this turned out. The texture itself is just as pound cake should be, but the obvious star is the rosemary. It gives such a unique, but delicious flavor that manages to temper the sweetness of the cake, while also giving a freshness that can almost fool you into thinking it’s “lighter” than pound cake actually is. It almost makes it taste more….grown up, flavor-wise. If that makes any sense.

This is an easy and special dessert and I think you should try it. The End.

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Rosemary Pound Cake

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour (make sure it’s not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or preferably vanilla bean paste)
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk

For Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A few teaspoons of water or milk

 

Directions

Grease and flour a 16 cup tube pan (Or 2 9×5 inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium size bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt. Stir together with a fork, then set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld one) cream together the butter, sugar, chopped rosemary and vanilla on medium speed until pale and fluffy (it’ll take about 4-5 minutes).

Add the eggs and the egg white, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined after every addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk (starting and ending with flour) mixing just until combined after every addition.

Spread the batter into the prepared tube pan (or loaf pans). Tap pan a few times against the countertop to minimize air bubbles.

Place the pan on a sheet tray and bake on the middle rack of the oven, 50-65 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached. (The baking time will be dependent upon which pan you used.) Inner temp of cake should be 195-200F.

Allow the cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes before turning out of the pan and allowing to completely cool.

If desired, stir together both ingredients for the glaze, until it reaches the consistency you want. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle it on top of the cooled cake. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes, until glaze has completely hardened before serving.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #284, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Lemon Bars

Whenever I think of the best summer desserts, lemon bars are right up there at the top of the contenders.

From the ingredients, to the method to the flavors, they’re so simple, clean and fresh. I’m kinda disappointed in myself that I haven’t gotten around to including them on the blog yet. But, better late than never.

I’ve seen lemon bar mixes in the store, but honestly you guys, making it from scratch isn’t that much more work. It really isn’t. In fact, I’m so confident that everyone can pull this off that I’m putting today’s recipe in the “You Can’t Mess this Up, No Seriously” Category.

There’s very little fuss to them at all. The crust is a basic shortbread that gets pre-baked for about half an hour until golden brown. I added the zest of a lemon to the dough just to give it extra lemon flavor.

Lemon curd is typically made over the stove and requires a little bit of extra TLC to ensure that it comes out perfectly smooth and set. I think what I love the most about this recipe is that you don’t have to give the curd that extra TLC. The oven does all the work for you on the second bake.

The shortbread crust of these bars makes for a delicious, lemon scented cookie all on its own. The crisp texture and golden brown flavor pairs great with the smooth, sharp flavor of the lemon curd on top. I didn’t see the need to add the traditional powdered sugar you often see on top of lemon bars. Trust me: these babies don’t need it.

So do me a solid, and don’t bother buying a lemon bars mix with preservatives in it that you can’t even pronounce. Make them yourself, from scratch. I repeat: these are simple. You can’t mess them up. Try them and see.

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Lemon Bars

Recipe Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered/confectioner’s sugar, plus more if desired
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • the zest of 2 lemons, divided
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup flour

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.

In a medium size bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour with the 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, pinch of salt and the zest of 1 lemon. Stir together with a fork.

Use your fingers (or even better, a box grater) to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork or your hands until it begins to form large and slightly sticky clumps. If it’s still too dry to hold together, you can add some water or milk (only 1 tablespoon at a time) just until it does.

Spread your fingers or a spatula with cooking spray and press these clumps into the bottom of the pan, forming as level a layer of the dough as you can.. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the eggs with the 1 1/2 cups of white sugar, the zest of the second lemon, and the lemon juice. Whisk thoroughly until the egg yolks have broken up. Add in the flour, whisking again until all of the clumps are smoothed out.

Pour on top of the cookie crust. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until the lemon curd is set.

Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle the top with powdered sugar if desired before cutting into bars.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #283, co-hosted this week by Antonia @ Zoale.com and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.