Baked Birthday Box


As I’ve mentioned in the past, my sister-in-law gave me a copy of Baked for Christmas, and even since then, I’ve been plotting the best way to thank her for such an outrageously awesome gift. The cookbook has yielded some very delicious treats; the brownies alone may have cemented my reputation as the English department’s best baker (grad student division).

My sister-in-law’s birthday was April 11, and so, as a gesture to honor her 38th birthday (she’s five months older than I!), I baked a bunch of goodies from the cookbook and mailed them to her in Scottsdale. (I sent one to my brother, too, who turned 33 on March 3.)

Included in the box are the Baked Brownies, Monster Cookies, Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti (recipe below), and Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars (recipe below).

They have a whole jar of peanut butter in!

I was really keen to make the biscotti, as that is uncharted terrain for me (along with macarons, a gap in my baking education I hope to bridge soon). My father-in-law is a big fan of biscotti, so there’s a baggie of them in the freezer awaiting the trip to Arizona for his birthday next week.

Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti
unwittingly adapted from Baked.
1 1/3 c sugar
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon (I included this by accident; too stupid to explain, but it didn’t hurt the flavor at all)
4 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
3 1/4 c flour
1 c pistachios
1 c dried cherries
1 large egg white

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and the sugar mixture together until the color is uniform and the mixture is thick. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds. Add the flour in two batches and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for a few seconds more. Add the pistachios and cherries and beat until just combined.
    Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a log about 16 inches long, 3 1/2 inches wide, and 3/4 inch thick. Use an offset spatula to smooth the surface of the dough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until firm, but not browned. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes.

    Lower the oven temperature to 325.
    While the log is cooling, whisk the egg white and 2 T water together and use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash onto the top of the log.
    Cut the log into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife, set them on the baking sheet cut sides up and down, and bake for 25 minutes.

    Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual biscotti to a rack to cool completely. The biscotti will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

The cookbook says the recipe yields 24, but I think I got 16 or 17 biscotti.

And just to mix things up a bit, I made these Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars. Really tasty, and maybe not too fattening? Not too sweet, and really appropriate for dessert (or breakfast). I had to borrow a food processor for this one, as I only have a wee 3-cup one that would not have been up to the task of grinding the crust.
For the crust and crumb
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 c rolled oats
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling
1/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 T grated lemon zest
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T all-purpose flour
1 lb raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the crust and crumb

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment. [ed. note: I did not find this useful. In fact, I found it kind of dumb and a waste of parchment.]
    Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.
    Reserve 1 c of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 ro 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling

    In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together.
    Add the raspberries, lemon juice, and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars

    Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
    Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Yield 24.

These were super tasty.

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Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Lisa

     /  April 21, 2010

    I may have to adapt that breakfast bar recipe. Looks delicious!

    Reply
    • boxingoctopus

       /  April 21, 2010

      It IS delicious, although I’m not sure how making it GF would affect the flavor.

      Reply
  2. Abby

     /  April 24, 2010

    Yummy! There’s drool all over my keyboard now. I think I recognize some Easter MM’s in there too – maybe that’s how I’ll finish mine up too.

    Reply

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