Pecan and Strawberry Jam Mini Bars

During strawberry season, I prepared a few batches of strawberry jam. As with any jam that is prepared with a fairly small amount of sugar, it doesn’t keep as well as the sugar loaded jams. So, instead of waiting for it to spoil, I’ve decided to use some of it to prepare the following tasty mini bars.
To make things a bit more interesting, I substituted some of the flour in the dough with lightly toasted pecan, which added a nice nutty flavor. To make the dough more crispy and crumbly, I also substituted some of the flour with fine semolina.  A bit of cinnamon added another layer of aroma that worked so well with the fragrant strawberry jam.
The bars turned out very tasty and fragrant. Cutting them into mini size squares made it easier to serve them as part of a dessert buffet, but they can be cut into any size you prefer. Try them and enjoy.

Notes:
* I used homemade strawberry jam (recipe can be found HERE), but any good quality store bought can be used instead. For best results, lightly puree the jam, so it will be smoother and easier to spread over the dough.
* Any other fruit jam can be used instead of the strawberry.
* If you prefer sweeter bars, increase the amount of sugar in the dough to 1 cup, and use a sweeter jam.

Makes: about 40 mini bars, or according to your preferred size
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup semolina
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar (see notes)
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup lightly roasted shelled pecans
1 Stick (115 grams) butter, cold, cut into large cubes
1-2 Tbs half and half or milk
2/3 cup homemade strawberry jam, pureed (see notes) or good quality store bought

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line an 8×8” (20×20 cm) pan with baking paper.
2. Mix the semolina, flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans in a food processor bowl, fitted with the metal blade. Blend briefly, to form a crumbly mixture. Add 1-2 Tbs of half and half or milk, just enough to bind the mixture.

3. Transfer ¾ of the dough mixture into the lined pan, and press it with your palms, to form an even layer. Spread the jam over the dough and crumble the rest of dough on top.

4. Place the pan in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top layer is golden. Holding the baking paper, transfer the bake onto a rack, to cool to room temperature.
5. Transfer to a large cutting board. Using a large heavy knife, cut bars any size you prefer.

Lemon, Poppy Seeds and Cornmeal Cookies

Lemon, Poppy Seeds and Cornmeal Cookies Ronit Penso

Due to another hectic week, I didn’t have the time to prepare a new post, so I’ve decided to re-post this recipe, from the earlier days of the blog. Many of you probably haven’t seen it, and those who did will hopefully enjoy a reminder for this tasty recipe. See you next week with a new recipe.
These thin and crunchy cookies, are perfect for a summer day: their fresh lemony flavor, combined with the crunchiness and taste of poppy seeds, goes great with cold iced tea or lemonade, with ice cream or sorbet. Continue reading

Pistachio and Orange Cookies

Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts, and I’ve decided to use them as the main ingredient in these easy to make cookies. Continue reading

Dried Fruit and Nuts Rolled Cookies

These tasty cookies are another version of rugelach, the traditional Eastern-European-Jewish rolled cookies, that combine flaky dough with dried fruits and nuts filling. Continue reading

Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are a favorite of mine: quick and easy to make, they can have a chewy or crispy texture, and can include many additions, such as dried fruits, chocolate chips, nuts and more.
When I was asked to develop a gluten-free version of these tasty cookies, I’ve decided not to include any unknown flour substitute mixes, and instead, experiment with an “all oats” version. Continue reading

Fennel and Almonds Olive oil Cookies

Olive oil is not the most commonly used ingredient in sweet cookies, but there is really no reason for that, and the following cookies are a good proof of that. Continue reading

Cut out Almond Butter Cookies

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Spiced Brownies with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Cream Cheese Swirl

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Mini Lemon Raspberry Squares

Mini Lemon Raspberry Squares Ronit Penso

Lemon bars are among my favorite cookies; the contrast between the crispy buttery dough layer and the lemon cream on top is almost addictive for me.
Unfortunately, too many times the bars are too large and are made with a thick dough layer, covered with a thick, overly sweet lemon layer, which is far from soft and creamy, as it should be.
Therefore, I usually end up making the bars myself, exactly the way I like them:  thin dough layer, a bit less sugar, and shorter baking time, to make sure the lemon layer is still pleasantly gooey and moist. Continue reading

Coconut Butter Cookies

Coconut Butter Cookies Ronit PensoThese delicate, crispy and buttery cookies are very easy to make and will fill your kitchen with wonderful toasted coconut aroma.
Perfect with hot or cold beverages, they are great on their own, but also wonderful as sandwich cookies.
If you love coconut, these cookies are for you. Continue reading

Meringue Kisses

Meringue Kisses Ronit Penso Who can resist these beautiful little crispy, yet melting in the mouth, cookies? Not many, I think, and maybe that is why they were named “kisses”. The kisses are great served on their own, sandwiched with various creams or lemon curd, or used as a wonderful decoration for cakes. In short, they are a must in every kitchen.
Continue reading