Tag Archives: dessert recipes

Toffee Almond Squares

9 Aug

Remember when I said I would have Martin and Chris over for brunch? I hosted them on Sunday, along with my friend, Jen.

Trying out new recipes for company completely and totally stresses me out, but I couldn’t let the fear stop me — there were too many new things I wanted to try. In the end, I chose not one, two or three new recipes. No sirree. I made six new recipes and am delighted to say that I’d make them all again.

First, we had a peach white wine sangria and prosciutto crescent rolls. Next, we had bacon-wrapped eggs with polenta (recipe is here) served on a bed of spring greens with sherry vinaigrette (and find that here). Last, we had toffee almond squares, as well as a fruit salad spiked with Triple Sec and topped with lemon yogurt.

Before I get to the squares, let’s discuss the bacon-wrapped eggs with polenta. I may be addicted. They look gourmet and taste just as great — even reheated the next day. Something to note: I drove around trying to find a muffin tin with extra-big cups for this recipe. I’ll save you the journey and suggest you head to Williams-Sonoma to grab the Brooksters pan. Works like a charm.

As for the squares, I’d been wanting to try a recipe from the Island Lake Lodge cookbook forever. Forever = since Christina gave it to me nearly a year ago as a thank you for reading at her beautiful wedding in Fernie.

Many of the book’s recipes are quite involved, but I figured I could handle the toffee almond squares. Plus, anything toffee reminds me of how much I used to love Mackintosh’s Toffee as a kid. So, off I went. And eat and enjoy them, we did.

Toffee Almond Squares

Base

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Topping
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 oz. good-quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
BASE Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In a medium bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until well combined. Beat in butter and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture until well combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centre of base comes out clean.
TOPPING In a small saucepan, heat sugar, syrup, butter, water and salt over medium heat, stirring until melted. Bring to a boil, then boil gently for 4 minutes. Pour over base. Sprinkle evenly with almonds. Return pan to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes or until just set. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.
In a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate until almost smooth. Remove bowl from the heat. Stir chocolate until smooth. With the tines of a fork, drizzle chocolate evenly over almonds. Set aside until chocolate sets. Cut into squares.
Makes about 24.
*****

Whether you try the egg dish or the squares (or both, to which I would say, “good call”) I hope you enjoy.

~Michelle

Glazed Lemon Bread

17 Feb

I have a thing for lemon. Which is funny, because I could’ve lived without it for my first 25 years or so.

The turning point came when I was living in Toronto and was introduced to Liberte yogurt. The Quebec-based company’s Mediterranee line of yogurts is, I’m not exaggerating, exquisite — thick, creamy and delicious. I enjoy all flavours, but eating the lemon yogurt is like eating a piece of lemon cheesecake. Without as much guilt. (However, when you eat a whole container of the stuff, as I have been known to do, it is not so guilt-free.)

To satisfy my lemon cravings, I sometimes bake this Glazed Lemon Bread. The recipe comes from Barbara Fairchild’s The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook, which I’ve written about before.

Glazed Lemon Bread

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • **There is a note that “if you want more tartness in the bread, add a little lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) to the batter and increase the lemon peel to 1 tbsp.” I do this, but add even more lemon juice, roughly 3 to 4 tbsp, because, as per above, I dig lemon.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in lemon peel. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions each. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into centre of bread comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.

Transfer bread in pan to rack. Pierce top of bread all over with wooden skewer. Gradually spoon lemon glaze over hot bread, adding more as glaze is absorbed. Cool lemon bread completely in pan on rack.

And there you have a loaf filled with lemon-y goodness. Check out how the glaze seeps into the top of it:

You could serve this as a breakfast treat, an afternoon snack or as dessert, with whipped cream and berries.

Or — I’m just thinking of this now —  you could top a piece of the lemon bread with Liberte’s lemon yogurt. It may be too much lemon or it very well may be lemon utopia. I’m willing to give it a try.

~Michelle

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