I tell ya, this Tea Party series seems like it's never gonna end, doesn't it? I assure you, it will. I think there will be just one more post after this one. Maybe 2, depending on how much I squeeze into this post.
For those of you who are just joining this Conga line, here are links to the first 7 parts.
- Part 1...The Favors
- Part 2...The Invitations
- Part 3...The Decorations
- Part 4...The Entertainment
- Part 5...The Savory Food
- Part 6...Mint Mania
- Part 7...Lemony Goodness
The Sweet Stuff
Rainbow Fruit Kebabs. I made one as an example, and dear Jonathan assembled the rest of them. Each skewer has a red grape, 2 blueberries, green grape, pineapple, cantaloupe, and a strawberry on top. They're very artistic--all rainbowy and what not.
Rainbow Fruit KebabsOk, enough of the healthy stuff...let's move on to the baked goods. We served 4 different baked confections (well 5, if you count the lemon tarts). I'll start things off with the "easiest"...Brownie Bark.
It goes by many different names--Brownie Brittle, Brownie Crisps, Brownie Chips, Brownie Snaps, Brownie Crunchies... I chose to call mine "Brownie Bark", but I think "Brownie Crack" would have been more appropriate because this stuff is so ADDICTIVE.
Whatever you call it, it's yummy, crispy, crunchy, chocolaty confectionary goodness. I think Willy Wonka probably fed this to the Oompa Loompas. There is a commercial version of these available in stores called "Brownie Brittle" by Sheila G. and you can visit her website HERE. Mom and I discovered her version and man-o-man is it good. I think we ate 10 bags of it.
They are VERY small bags.
Anyway, here is my version of this tasty treat.
Brownie Crack, er, um... Bark
- Your favorite boxed brownie mix (which will probably take oil, eggs, and water)
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C)
- Mix up brownie batter--according to its package directions
- Pour about a third to half the batter onto either a silicone baking mat in a cookie sheet or one that has been lined with parchment paper. I used my silicone baking mat.
- With an offset spatula or butter knife, spread the batter out THIN...like to a thinness of 1/8-1/4 of an inch (~1/2 cm) thick. It needs to be UNIFORM thickness to its edges. Try to fill the bottom of your cookie sheet as much as you can.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips all over surface.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until it's completely done all the way through. It may seem burnt along the edges...that's ok.
- Remove from oven and immediately cut into squares with a pizza cutter or knife...though the pizza cutter is MUCH easier.
- Move cut pieces, immediately, to wire rack to cool.
- Store in airtight container once they're completely cooled. They'll hold a week or more when stored properly.
Torrey's World Famous Pecan ShortbreadYield: a ton (3-4 dozen depending on diameter of dough log)
- 3/4 lb. (3 sticks) regular, salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups chopped pecans (reserve 1/2 cup for dipping)
- half of a 12-oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (for dipping)
- 1 tsp vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup crushed toffee candy (like Heath bars)
- Cream together sugar and butter--until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and stir into butter/sugar mixture.
- In separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together.
- Add flour/salt mix to butter/sugar mix, a little at a time.
- Add 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I chopped them by hand) to dough and THOROUGHLY incorporate them.
- The dough can either be very stiff or very crumbly and you won't think it will hold together...but it will when you press it with your hands. Trust me.
- Place reserved 1/2 cup of pecans in separate bowl and set aside.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
- By hand, form each piece into a log (about 2 inches in diameter). Wrap each log, snugly, with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
- Remove plastic wrap from dough log and slice into 3/8-inch - 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Place sliced dough onto UNGREASED parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (or foil-lined, or silicone mat-lined) about 1/2 inch apart...they don't spread.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is cooked but NOT browned (see photo above).
- After baking, gently transfer to cooling rack (they're very fragile at this stage), and cool completely. Once cooled, they're sturdy.
- You can leave them plain, OR...dip them in chocolate.
- Spread reserved, chopped pecans onto cookie sheet and return to oven for 5-10 min. until toasted. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Then, place them back in a bowl.
- In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips.
- Stir in shortening.
- Coat cooled cookies 1/2-way with melted chocolate (front, back, and sides)--scraping off excess.
- Immediately roll chocolate-dipped cookies in toasted pecan pieces. Alternately, you can use sliced almonds, or crushed toffee pieces (or leave them plain chocolate if you like) and return cookies to cooling rack.
- Chill chocolate-dipped cookies for 20-30 min. in fridge to set chocolate.
- Store in tightly-sealed container (if you have any left).
Thanks, as always, for trodding out here to Left Field...where the grass is ALWAYS greener.