Princess Bars

Every now and then a girl needs permission to embrace the whole princess thing.

It should include a pot of tea… and Princess Bars.

Silly me – I thought everyone knew how to make them.

I guess not, judging from the blank stares that people have given me when I asked what their favorite parts of Princess Bars were.

If I had to say what my favorite part were – the sweet, crumbly, coconutty base and/or topping or the fruit filling – well – it would depend on the moment. They’re just so right, it’s pretty much impossible to choose what’s best!

Things that make these unbeatable?

  1. They’re ridiculously easy to make.
  2. You can make them up, store them in a disposable aluminum pan in the freezer, and then bake them off at a moment’s notice.
  3. They’re a fabulous way to use up the tail end of last year’s jam or jelly!
  4. They have such a lovely, light, flavoring with the combination of extracts that you truly can use ANY fruit filling – anything from pineapple, or tropical blend, to crabapple, to berry of any type, to apple pie – and end up with an absolutely delightful result.

Add to that the fact that you will be loved forevermore whenever you happen to share them – well, a win all the way around, right?!

Princess Bars

Ingredients
3/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 1/4 Cups Sugar, granulated
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Butter (at room temperature)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 Large Egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Maple flavoring
1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
2 Cups Coconut (fine, unsweetened)
2 Cups Fruit Preserves

Preheat oven to 375° F.

  1. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and extracts/flavoring.
  2. Mix together flour and coconut just to incorporate. Add to the creamed mixture and mix to streusel consistency. Do not over mix! Scrape the bowl several times, fluffing mixture and breaking up large clumps. Use a very light hand with this mixture!
  3. Place about half of the mixture into the bottom of a clean, unlined quarter sheet pan (13″ x 9″).
  4. Pack down into the bottom of the pan with your hands; you may use a rolling pin to compact. The dough should be solid and completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Top the dough with fruit preserves. It should be fairly thick – at least 1/4 an inch thickness.
  6. With the remaining streusel mixture – make certain that it is completely broken up – no big clumps! Sprinkle on top of the fruit filling, distributing evenly. Press down very lightly.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. It will be a lovely golden brown on top. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Notes:

These freeze beautifully before baking.

You can conceivably use ANY fruit preserve as the filling.

Sunshiney Awesomeness

Someone asked me about this recipe rececently, so I thought I’d dig it out of the archives.  Enjoy!

About 20 years ago my best friend Carol and I found – and essentially – fell in love with Pizzicato. Back then it was a tiny little pizza place on Sylvan Hill – not too far away for us to sneak out for a to-go pizza boasting mouth-watering toppings like lamb sausage, feta, artichoke hearts, and lots and lots of roasted garlic.

As the years have gone by my love for Pizzicato has continued on unscathed.

My Mom actually got sucked into the Pizzicato obsession some years prior to her death, as well – and she introduced me to something new and fabulous at that time – and – well – my life was changed forever.

She introduced me to the Roast Turkey panini. The description is deceptively mild – it reads:

ROAST TURKEY, provolone, tomatoes & housemade aioli

Seems pretty – well – boring, right?

Au contraire, my love!

That housemade aioli is all sunshiney awesomeness (to borrow a phrase from my son, BiL) and enough to make you weep for joy.

One day – shortly before the Tanasborne branch of Pizzicato closed it’s doors… sniff… I was blessed enough to meet the guy who made the housemade aioli. I was explaining to him how it made my heart sing and taste buds rejoice – so much so that I always asked for extra for my sandwich, and an additional side to dip my kettle chips in. He smiled and laughed and said, “Sounds like a woman who needs to know how to make her own!”

And then the most amazing thing happened.

He walked away.

Mom and I shrugged, sat, and continuing to enjoy our shared Roast Turkey panini when – lo and behold – said young man returned, quietly slipped me a small piece of paper, then held his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhh!”, smiled, and then walked away.

BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!

He gave me the recipe for the housemade aioli!

I was nearly weak at the knees.

And I promptly went home and whipped up a batch.

Now – my friends – I shall share the wealth.

The great news is that you probably have everything you’ll need for a quick little batch of this wonderfulness. (Have I mentioned here ever that BiL adds “ness” to the end of most descriptor words?)

You’ll need a couple of cloves of garlic, some kosher salt, an egg yolk, a little lemon juice, a bit of Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, and vegetable oil.

This goes so fast – you’ll be amazed!

First – peel your garlic cloves. Yeah – I know – the recipe calls for 2 cloves of garlic. I wanted 3 – so I used 3. The world has continued to rotate on its axis. Life will go on. Okay – so I throw the garlic cloves into my cute little OXO chopper, and mince away. Once it’s pretty decently minced, I scrape the garlic into a small bowl, and add the 1/4th teaspoon of kosher salt.

With the back of a spoon I mash the garlic and salt together to make a sort of a paste. Be warned – it smells fabulous and your mouth is most definitely in danger of starting to water here! When the paste comes together into a kinda mushy mass, set it aside.

Now – in a small mixing bowl you place the egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (and yes, fresh would have been better, but I’m fresh out!), 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

With a wire whisk blend this together until it’s smooth. See? Nuthin to it!

Now, I combine the remaining oil – i.e., the 1/4th cup of extra virgin olive oil, and the 2 remaining Tablespoons of vegetable oil – in a glass measuring cup. Add those just a few drops at a time to this egg/lemon juice/mustard/oil emulsion. Be sure to mix it thoroughly – you don’t want to see any streaks of oil. It will look sort of like this after the first few additions of several drops of oil:

As you add oil and beat the emulsion, it will lighten in color slightly, and decidedly thicken in consistency. Take an extra minute or so after the final addition of oil and whisk it briskly.

Now… add the garlic/salt paste:

…and go ahead and whisk together for another minute or so.

And…

Voila!

….stuff to make your heart sing!

I transfer it to a small storage container and refrigerate for a good hour before using.

Let me just recommend taking some deli meat and cheese, rolling it up, and dipping into this fabulous stuff at the conclusion of that hour – it will make your world a better place!

Enjoy!

Aioli

Ingredients
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large Egg yolk
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  1. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with the kosher salt using a heavy knife or chopper.
  2. Whisk together yolk, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and mustard in a bowl.
  3. Combine the remaining oils and add – a few drops at a time – to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until all of the oil is incorporated and the mixture is emulsified.
  4. Whisk in garlic paste and additional salt (if needed) and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  5. If aioli is too thick, whisk in 1 to 2 drops of water. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

Notes:

If the mixture separates (at step 3), stop adding oil and continue whisking until the mixture comes together, then resume adding oil, just a drop or two at a time.

If you have a mini food processor – it would be a total breeze to use to throw this aioli together in just a few minutes, rather than whisking it in by hand.

DO try this as a spread for a lovely turkey and provolone sandwich.

DO try it as a dip to eat with your Kettle chips, pretzels, or breadsticks.

DON’T keep it for more than three or four days – this isn’t the kind of thing you make bazillions of unless you know it’ll get used. But it’s SO worth making just the perfect quantity of for a specific application. I promise!