Thursday, May 2, 2024

Berry Crumble Bars

Berry Crumble Bars

I have Instagram and Feasty Travels to thank for this recipe keeper. Sugar cookie crust with a thin layer of berry jam, and an oat crumble topping. Genius. I adjusted this recipe by adding a little salt to the cookie bottom and the crumble topping, and I also used mixed berry jam for mine. I think just about any jam, especially homemade, would taste great in these bars. 

The texture of these bars is similar to that of a brownie: edges are thick and chewy, and the center pieces are moist and tender. I think they're the perfect level of sweet, and just super flavorful with the berries, oats, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mmm. Give 'em a go.

Berry Crumble Bars

Adapted from Feasty Travels


Sugar Cookie Crust
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Berry Jam
  • 1 cup berry jam (I used mixed berry jam)
Crumble Topping
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined.
  • Spread cookie dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  • Stir the berry jam until it's loose, and then use an offset spatula or back of a small spoon to spread evenly across the cookie layer in the pan.
  • Make the crumble topping by first mixing all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with a spoon and then with your hands. Squeeze the mixture a bit to get some chunky crumbles.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the jam.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 48-53 minutes, or until top is well browned, and edges have puffed up the sides of the pan. (The edges end up pretty chewy, like brownie edges, and the center is more soft and tender.)
  • Remove pan to a cooling rack to cool for about 15 minutes before pulling out of the pan by the parchment paper and setting on the rack to cool completely.
  • Cut into bars when completely cool. Enjoy. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container.

I ended up with quite a few tools to wash.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Crisp Roasted Potatoes with Shallots

Crisp Roasted Potatoes with Shallots

Roasted potatoes are just a delicious side dish, no matter what you do to them. I think I saw on Poppy Cooks that if you add a little baking soda to the boiling water, the outsides of the potatoes get mushier, and then when you roast them in oil, they get super crisp. And it really works. 

I'm not sure if it was in the same video or another that someone infused oil with garlic and red chili flakes, using that oil for the roasting oil and then adding the garlic and chili flakes at the end. I decided this sounded great and could be even greater with some finely minced shallots.

They smelled fantastic when they made it to the dinner table that first night. As I ate them, I had this very familiar sense from the flavor of the potatoes, but I couldn't quite pin down what it was. My son felt the same way, and then he realized, "They taste like Funyons." That was it. And I do love me some Funyons. This recipe was an instant winner and family favorite. I'm putting the recipe here so I never forget it.

Give 'em a go.

Crisp Roasted Potatoes with Shallots (AKA Funyon Potatoes)

  • 3-4 pounds golden potatoes (I prefer Klondike Goldust), washed and cubed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt
  • water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes 
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh shallots, finely minced
  • Place cubed potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with water, add baking soda and salt (about 2 tablespoons). Set pan over medium high heat. Boil cubed potatoes in water with salt and baking soda. Boil until potatoes are tender and outsides just start to look fluffy.
  • While potatoes boil, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic & chili flakes, and cook until garlic is tender, but not brown -- just a minute or so.
  • Place strainer over large bowl and strain garlic & chili from oil. Set garlic and flakes aside for later. 
  • Set oven to 400/425 degrees (I'd say 400 on convection)
  • When potatoes are ready, turn off heat and drain potatoes into colander set inside a sink.
  • Pour potatoes into bowl with infused oil. Stir throughly and pour/scrape onto nonstick cookie sheet. 
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until browned and crisp. Transfer cooked potatoes to a serving bowl then toss with garlic, chili flakes, and shallots.

Serve hot, but be careful

Makes about 4 servings

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Soft Cheese Crackers from Scratch

Marilyn's Cheese Crackers from Scratch

These little gems are a family favorite. They're rich, salty, cheesy. Mmm. They're kind of like a cheese cookie, if that makes sense. Crisp on the edges, soft and chewy in the middle. We usually make them using a small jar of Kraft Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese Spread, but I since it's really just made of cheddar cheese, I thought I'd try using some block Cabot sharp cheddar I have in my fridge. And it worked beautifully. Same gorgeous results without any preservatives. 

These are great for a decadent breakfast or brunch treat, afternoon snack, or appetizers for a party. 

Heads up, this recipe requires a food processor. No way around that.

(Click here for original recipe with the Kraft jarred cheese spread.)

Marilyn's Cheese Crackers from Scratch

  • 5 ounces quality sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place grated cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until nearly a paste. It probably won't completely turn to paste, but will sort of bunch up into a sort of dry cottage cheese texture. 
  • Add the butter and salt, and process until smooth.
  • Add flour, pulse a few times and then process until flour is incorporated. 
  • Remove blade, carefully scraping off any dough and then incorporate any flour or cheese left of sides of bowl.
  • Make balls using about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of dough and place at least 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 11-12 minutes or until puffed and well browned on edges.
  • Allow to cool 5 minutes or so before eating.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container and consume within 1 day.

Makes 20 crackers

Cheese, butter and salt processed smooth

After mixing in flour

I scooped dough with cookie scoop before rolling smooth

Almost like a cheesy macaron

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'd like to say I've finally found my ultimate favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I think I may have said something like that before...several I'll just say this one is my current favorite. I took the other Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I have here and tweaked it to omit the need for self-rising flour (since I'd been mixing it up on the side anyway with ingredients that were duplicated in the recipe) and I've browned a quarter of the butter. And I've given up on bagged chocolate chips for the time being and am sticking with my favorite Dove Dark Chocolate. They're worth every penny and every minute of unwrapping and chopping them up. 

So what we have here is a relatively dense, tender, soft, chewy, chocolatey, buttery, nutty chocolate chip cookie. If you eat them fresh, they're also melty with a crisp edge. Mmmm. 

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

    Adapted from Cupcake Jemma's Recipe on Youtube


  • 230 g cold butter, divided
  • 160 g granulated sugar
  • 160 g brown sugar
  • 450 g dark chocolate chunks (I used Dove Dark Chocolate)
  • 200 g walnut pieces (optional)
  • 430 g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • (Scroll to the photos at the end to see what this unconventional process looks like.)
  • The night before you plan to mix up the dough, brown four tablespoons of the butter. Place in a glass container, and either refrigerate or allow to sit at room temperature.
  • Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a small-ish bowl and set aside.
  • Cut the cold butter into tablespoons sized chunks and then add that and the browned butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for about a minute, just to break up the butter--do not cream the butter. 
  • Add the granulated and brown sugar to the butter and mix again on low/medium low until little nuggets of butter & sugar form--again, do not cream this mixture. (If you refrigerated the browned butter you may need to cut it into smaller pieces.)
  • Add the chocolate chunks and walnut pieces (if desired), and mix again just to incorporate the chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk until completely mixed. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/chocolate/walnut mixture in the mixing bowl and mix on low until combined, about 30-45 seconds. It will still be dry and sandy looking.
  • Add the vanilla to the egg mixture and then add that to the mixture. Mix on low/medium low until dough starts to come together, taking care not to mix too long.
  • Using a large cookie scoop or a large spoon, make 60 gram gently formed balls of dough -- it's best if you don't pack the dough into a tight ball. Then flatten each ball into a disk that's about an inch thick.
  • Cover and freeze dough disks at least 90 minutes before baking.Preheat oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the oven to get hot while the oven preheats.
  • When pan and oven are heated, remove the pan from the oven, place frozen dough disks on pan allowing a couple of inches between them.
  • Bake at 360 degrees for about 14-15 minutes, until puffed and starting to crack. Take care to not over-bake. Underbaked is better than over-baked.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet at least five minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Alternately, if you have a rimless baking sheet, you can slide the parchment with the baked cookie sheets onto a cooling rack to cool until ready to eat, about 5-10 minutes. This is what I try to do so the cookies will not continue to bake on the hot baking sheet.
  • Place unbaked dough disks in a zip top freezer bag and store in the freezer until you want more cookies. 
  • Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container.
  • Heat cooled cookies in the microwave on high for 10 seconds if you want to melt the chocolate.

Butter & browned butter are mixed a bit, but not creamed.

Add sugars to the butters & mix until...

Butter & sugar mostly mixed until it's an almost uniform chunkiness
with some chunks of butter remaining.

Add the chocolate chunks and walnuts. Yes. Different.

Then mix in the dry ingredients until it looks like what you see below.

Lastly, add the eggs and vanilla.

Mix until you have something that looks like this.

Weigh out 60 g portions.

Form into a thick disk, making sure to not make it too tight.

Place on a wax-paper lined pan, cover and freeze until solid.

Before baking.

After baking.

I actually baked these like a minute too long. Still good though.