Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blackberry Jam Shortbread Bars

Hello and welcome to Adventures In Baking.  I searched all over the web to find this weeks recipe.  I just couldn't find anything that was calling out to 'bake me, bake me'.  I almost made a brownie, but switched to the bar at the last moment.  I've saved the brownie recipe for a later time so I'm sure they'll pop back up eventually.  This weeks recipe is from Recipe Girl and can be found here. 

The ingredients.  Lots of butter and sugar.  I also invested in a large bottle of vanilla cause I've been using it like crazy. 

Now, let's talk flour.  I've been very open about my lack of baking (and cooking in general) knowledge.  Having never spent much time in the baking products aisle of the grocery store, I was aware, somewhere in the far corners of my brain, that there were several types of flour (white and wheat are all I can come up with, though).  When I started exploring the aisle a little more I discovered there's all-purpose and cake flour.  Then, this weeks recipe calls for Almond Flour......Huh?  So, off I went searching the aisle for Almond Flour.  The first two stores I went to didn't have Almond Flour and, since I didn't know what the purpose of it was, I wasn't sure if I could substitute regular flour.  Between the baking aisle and the natural foods aisle, I found almost 20 (!!!) types of flour.  Who knew?  I've discovered  flour made out of all kinds of beans and even green peas.  A few other flour highlights you may not know about:  Hazelnut flour, kamut flour, amaranth flour, coconut flour and even hemp flour.  Hemp?  Flour?  And what the heck are kamut or amaranth's?  I finally found Almond flour in the third store and boy is it pricy $$$$.  $12 for the bag you see in the picture.  Good thing it can be stored in the freezer.  I've sure learned a lot about flour this week.  Next time you go to the store, take a little time and check out your flour section.  You never know what you'll find. 

Let's get started.  Prepare the shortbread.  Combine the butter and sugars, beat until creamy, add the vanilla and salt and beat some more.  Beat the almond flour and regular flour into the mixture just until a smooth dough forms.  Divide the dough in half.  Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Next step.  Press the other half into the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, just until it starts to turn brown around the edges. 

Final step.  Place jam in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Spread jam evenly over partially baked crust.  Crumble the refrigerated dough over the jam to form a crumbled topping.  Place back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  

Taste test.  I put the taste test off for a few hours after it came out of the oven because I wasn't too anxious to try this.  To be honest, there's not a single thing about it that I find appetizing.  I'm impressed I made it, but I don't really want to eat it.  I wanted to make something I wouldn't normally make and it's kinda cobbler-ish.  I did finally try a piece.  It's pretty good, but super sweet.  Too much sweet....sugar overload.  If I made this again, maybe with a different fruit flavor, I would definitely use a sugar free jam.  My chocolate-is-the-only-dessert-worth-having taste tester friend stopped by to try out the bars and she liked them also. Her comment was that they got better with each bite.  That's a glowing review as they don't contain a drop of chocolate!  I like them much better the next day so maybe this is one of those things that's better after it settles a little.

On the next episode of Adventures In's cookie time!  And St. Patty's Day.  Let's see if I can find something that combines the two.

Till next time


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