shortbread

Citrus Shortbread Cookies

Citrus Shortbread Cookies by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are buttery cookies with zesty lemon, lime, or orange, and topped with a champagne glaze. You can use fruit juice to make the glaze instead if you prefer. These make excellent new year's eve party cookies or simple snacks to share with friends. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Happy Almost-New Year’s Eve from one greasy human who has lived in a bathrobe and Ugg slippers for the past few days. I have intentionally unplugged from the interwebs and social media this last week in an effort to fully embrace all that comes with this time of year, and can I just say that it feels kinda good? Although I’ve resolved to dig in hard after the new year to bring you loads of goodies I’m going to keep my online banter on mute for now and simply settle into these last few days of December.

Citrus Shortbread Cookies by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are buttery cookies with zesty lemon, lime, or orange, and topped with a champagne glaze. You can use fruit juice to make the glaze instead if you prefer. These make excellent new year's eve party cookies or simple snacks to share with friends. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

To keep your sweet tooth satiated for the next few days, I have these citrus shortbread cookies to share with you. It took a few batches to get the sweet to zesty ratio just right but I kinda love the outcome. These cookies are intensely buttery, yet somehow still refreshing. Coated with a simple sugary glaze and edible glitter sprinkles, these cookies are the perfect accompaniment for your glasses of bubbly and midnight kisses this coming New Year’s Eve.

To make these citrus shortbread cookies, cream together butter, citrus zest, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. I prefer lemon here but orange and lime (or a combo of all three!) would work splendidly. Add flour, salt, and vanilla and stir until the mixture comes together into a dry dough. I found that when using a hand mixer that the dough didn’t really pack together the way I wanted, so if you have a stand mixer, use it here. Work the dough into a ball and flatten it into a round disk to chill in the fridge.

Citrus Shortbread Cookies by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are buttery cookies with zesty lemon, lime, or orange, and topped with a champagne glaze. You can use fruit juice to make the glaze instead if you prefer. These make excellent new year's eve party cookies or simple snacks to share with friends. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

 

Once you’re ready to bake your citrus shortbread cookies, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use round cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Here’s where you have a few options: for intensely buttery, semi-crisp cookies, roll the dough out thin, about ¼” thick. These will bake up golden brown and literally melt in your mouth. Otherwise, stick with the traditional thick shortbread at ½” thick for soft, crumbly butter cookies. Both taste delicious, but while I prefer the look of thicker cookies, I definitely favor the taste and texture of the thin ones. Bake in the oven for a few minutes and allow them to cool before topping with a glaze.

I used citrus juice (lemon is my choice!) for the glaze on half of these cookies and champagne for the remaining. You don’t really catch the flavor of the champagne, but it definitely adds a little something different as opposed to more tart citrus flavor. I like to keep mini bottles of sparkling wine on hand for projects like this, but if you’d prefer to use up the juice from the citrus you zested that totally works too. Your call. For color, I used a tiny bit of red and peach food coloring to make a pink glaze, and I topped the whole thing off with edible glitter and stars. Aimee totally flipped when she saw these- maybe her favorite treat of 2018. She thought they were incredibly special, and I have to agree that the edible dust certainly works overtime on these otherwise simply cookies. You can pick some up at a craft store or purchase on Amazon like I did.

Citrus Shortbread Cookies by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are buttery cookies with zesty lemon, lime, or orange, and topped with a champagne glaze. You can use fruit juice to make the glaze instead if you prefer. These make excellent new year's eve party cookies or simple snacks to share with friends. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

 

I hope you enjoy these citrus shortbread cookies and have the best time celebrating next week. On behalf of my family, this site, and myself, I want you to know what a joy you all have made this space in 2018. I’m so happy to have a home here because of you all and the love we share for butter and sugar. Many blessings, love, and cookies to you in the coming year.

If you like these citrus shortbread cookies you should try:

Lemon Blueberry Bars

Marbled Sugar Cookies

Soft-Frosted Sugar Cookies

Lemon Lavender Cookies 

 

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Citrus Shortbread Cookies

Citrus Shortbread Cookies by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are buttery cookies with zesty lemon, lime, or orange, and topped with a champagne glaze. You can use fruit juice to make the glaze instead if you prefer. These make excellent new year's eve party cookies or simple snacks to share with friends. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

These citrus shortbread cookies are sweet and buttery cookies with zesty citrus and a lemony/champagne glaze!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 20-40 1x
  • Category: dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 11/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons citrus zest (I prefer lemon or lime)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will also work)
  • 31/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3+ tablespoons lemon juice or champagne

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and citrus zest just until combined, about 45 seconds. Add the vanilla, flour, and salt and beat on low speed until the dough starts to come together. You may have to get in there with your hands to pack it together into a dough. Work the dough into a flat, round disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. When you’re ready to bake, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out ½” thick (for softer shortbread cookies) or ¼” thick (for crispier cookies). Use 2” round cookie cutters to cut out pieces of dough and place them 2” apart on the cookie sheets. Bake in the oven until the edges turn golden, about 15 minutes for thin cookies or 22-24 minutes for thicker cookies. The browner they get, the crisiper, but don’t let them bake too long! Allow to cool completely while you prepare your glaze. Simply stir together the powdered sugar and champagne or lemon juice. You want it thick enough to where it will stay on the cookie but thin enough so that the icing isn’t glooped on there. Add food coloring and sprinkles as desired! Allow to set prior to serving.

Adapted from Ina Garten

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

It’s here! Friday has come like a beacon in the night, so please don’t mind me while I celebrate with a victory dance and a jumbo slice of this lemon berry crumb cake. I’ve got your weekend roundup set out for you, including what to read, what to watch, and what to make for all of your Easter celebrations. Let’s get started! 
Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

Yeast-Free Cinnamon Rolls

This article from Food52 is blowing my mind. Cinnamon rolls without the wait? Without the rise? Sign me up! Read the article here about how a simple dough leavened with baking powder can make all of your cinnamon roll dreams come true. 

How to Make a Living as a Food Blogger

I’ve had a million and one of you ask me how running a food blog has the potential to earn money. While I’m hardly rolling in “The Benjamins” (Mom, that’s slang for money, hundred dollar bills, okay?), I still pinch myself on the daily that people write me checks for doing something that I love. This article from Food & Wine is informative, straight-forward, and provides pointers for people who may be considering this path for themselves.

Bïeryoncé

Did you hear that someone named a beer after Beyonce? It’s a German pilsner from Lineup Brewery called Bïeryoncé, and I have to admit that I’m a little jealous. All I need is to join a chart-topping hip-hop group, start an even bigger solo career, marry a rap mogul, and accumulate a near-billion dollar net worth… maybe then I’ll have enough bad-assery under my belt to have a beer named after me. After looking into purchasing some for myself, I found out that Queen B’s lawyers served the brewery a cease and desist letter, so the brew has been laid to rest. RIP, Bïeryoncé.

Spring and Summer Bags 

I may be late to the straw bag bandwagon, but now that I’m on it I’m never getting off. I recently purchased the ultra-trendy round woven bag for my upcoming warm-weather travels, and I cannot wait to start toting. Get in the trend with a bag of your own! I love the options here

Hamilton and Carpool Karaoke

Okay, this is an old video, but my love for Hamilton is so strong right now that I thought you may want to enjoy this video too. James Corden is my Night-Talkshow-Host in Shining Armor, and this video makes me love him even more. Hamilton has just started their US tour, so be sure to check here for upcoming dates near you. Brett, if you’re reading this, remember that Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I gave you two very incredible children, okay?

Easter Baking

There’s a million and one things you should make for this weekend’s most special holiday. For a layer cake option, check out my robin egg speckled cake tutorial. If you’re interested in a bundt cake, maybe try my carrot cake with brown butter glaze or lemon almond poppyseed bundt cake. But if you prefer a simple, seasonal option for Sunday’s affair, let me introduce you to this lemon berry crumb cake. It’s fresh, entirely delicious, and perfect for sharing as a breakfast or dessert.

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

Here’s the breakdown: This lemon berry crumb cake is a moist and tender butter cake filled with a tart berry jam. The whole thing gets baked under a mountain of lemony shortbread-style crumbs that add a bit of salty crunch to the otherwise sweet cake. The result is an impressive single layer cake that will make all of your spring brunch dreams come true. 

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.comLemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

To make the lemon berry crumb cake, we start with the batter. Butter and sugar are creamed together, followed by the addition of eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. The dry ingredients are stirred in to make a somewhat thick and spreadable batter. About 2/3 of the mixture is smoothed into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and is topped by a smear of your favorite jam. The cake is sweet, so I recommend a tart jam to offset that sugar. The remaining batter is spread on top of the jam and a basic crumble is sprinkled on top. 

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

Fresh from the oven, this lemon berry crumb cake is fab all on its own, however I like to top it with a simple drizzle made from powdered sugar, lemon juice, and sour cream. You can pass on the glaze, but I think it fancies it up a bit, don’t you? 

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

I hope your Easter weekends are filled with lots of jelly beans and golden eggs and lemon berry crumb cake. The miracle of this holiday bowls me over every year, so I’m looking forward to gathering hope in that as well. Happy Friday and happy baking!

If you like this lemon berry crumb cake, you should check out:

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Lemon Almond Tart

Blueberry Galette

Strawberry Almond Skillet Cake

Raspberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake

 

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Lemon Berry Crumb Cake

Lemon Berry Crumb Cake recipe by Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple lemon zest flavored spring time single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a simple shortbread crumble. The cake bakes up into an easy dessert that can also serve as a breakfast of brunch item. Pour on a thick powdered sugar lemon glaze for extra decoration. Find the recipe for this Easter favorite on thewoodandspoon.com

This lemon berry crumb cake is a sweet single layer cake filled with a tart raspberry jam and topped with a crunchy shortbread crumble. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 9 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the crumb:

  • ¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (115 gm) all-purpose flour

For the cake:

  • ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 21/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 11/2 cups (195 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (100 gm) full-fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup blackberry, raspberry, or blueberry preserves, according to your preferences

For the glaze (optional):

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (buttermilk can be substituted in a pinch)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

To prepare the crumble:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the butter and lemon juice. Add the sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Fold in the flour until large clumps form. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the cake.

To prepare the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” springform pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add ½ cup of the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt. Stir on low to barely combine. Stir in the buttermilk and then add the remaining flour on low speed just until integrated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated batter.
  3. Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of the springform pan. Smooth the preserves over top pf the batter, leaving a 1” border around the perimeter of the cake. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top and sprinkle the whole thing with the crumble, breaking up the big clumps into a crumb size you prefer. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is puffed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the glaze:

  1. When you’re ready to prepare the glaze, whisk together all the ingredients until a viscous glaze forms. Add more powdered sugar to thicken it up and more sour cream or lemon juice to thin it out. Drizzle over top of the prepared cake and enjoy!

 

 

Pretzel Millionaire Bars

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

Last week felt like fall. Outside, the air was cold and smelled of wood and ash- the kind of smell that reminds me of staring at friends across the glow of a fire, their faces all dancing with reds and yellows and golds from the flames. Those early bits of fall are always a welcome change of season from the relentless summers we experience in Alabama, but as soon as that first cold hits, my heart longs for the holidays. I dream of Thanksgiving hams and Christmas carols; I want Nat King Cole on my radio and peppermint babka in my oven. Fall starts and I immediately crave the flavors and sights and sounds that come with the holidays.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

It’s not so much the holidays themselves as it is the feelings that they bring. I love the connection and joy that is inspired by time spent around a big table crowded with the faces of people I love. Gratitude, while accessible all year round, feels so tangible and easy to express during a time of year centered around just that- thanksgiving. Every year as the holidays approach, I do my best to soak up all the goodness as it starts trickling in, but often schedules, shopping lists, and dinner parties come between me and (what should be) a time of year when all is calm, all is bright. I want to change that.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

This year, let’s spend less time fussing and more time loving. Let’s shy away from the grind and the work and the stress of the holidays and ease into observing the moment. Maybe we could use this season to sow into the people we love and decide to simplify the rest.  Let’s make it easier on ourselves.

I’m starting in the kitchen. There’s no reason to go overboard on fussy menus (read: extravagant desserts) when delicious, indulgent treats can made quite easily. Take for instance these pretzel millionaire bars. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust topped with a gooey caramel filling and rich chocolate ganache, these pretzel millionaire bars are sweet and salty bites of goodness that can be made with few ingredients and in a short amount of time. Need to bring a dessert to your Friendsgiving party? Pretzel millionaire bars. Want to pack up some sweets as a gift for your neighbor? Pretzel millionaire bars. Decadence is only but a few minutes away when you’ve got a recipe like this on hand.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

To make the bars, we start with the pretzel shortbread crust. Combine crumbled pretzels with flour, brown sugar, and some ice-cold butter and press the sandy mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish. Pop the crust in the oven while you get going on the caramel filling.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

Although I typically employ a homemade caramel recipe, these bars keep it decadent and simple by using Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Combine the milky nectar with butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook it until the mixture has thickened, darkened slightly, and caramelized. That gooey goodness is spread over top of the shortbread crust and allowed to chill. 

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

Once the bars have cooled, a rich, two-ingredient chocolate ganache comes next, prepared by stirring together warm cream and chopped chocolate. The ganache gets spread all over the cooled caramel and is garnished with a few more pretzels or a sprinkle of salt. Truly, if there’s anything more delicious than the sweet and salty combination of pretzels, caramel, and chocolate, I don’t want to know.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

I’m sharing this recipe as part of Eagle Brand’s “UnCookie” exchange that they have launched to keep our holidays sweet and fuss-free. Treats like these pretzel millionaire bars are simple to make and fun to serve, leaving you with less time spent in the kitchen and more moments shared with the people you love. While planning your holiday menus this year, be sure to remember these bars and the many other UnCookie recipes that can be found right here. Enjoy these next few months and don’t forget to treat yo’ self to some UnCookies.

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

This post was sponsored by Eagle Brand. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible!

If you like these pretzel millionaire bars, be sure to check out:

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Cookie Butter Pretzel Mousse

Brown Butter Blondies: Two Ways

Derby Pie Bars

Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

 

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Pretzel Millionaire Bars

Pretzel Millionaire Bars by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are a simple holiday bar recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk. A buttery pretzel shortbread crust is topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache topping. These bars are quick, sweet and salty, and will feed a crowd. Find the recipe and the how to on thewoodandspoon.com.

These sweet and salty pretzel millionaire bars have a pretzel shortbread crust, a caramel filling, and a chocolate ganache topping.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the pretzel shortbread:

  • 2 ounces (55 gm) salted pretzels (see notes)
  • ½ cup (65 gm) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, cold

For the caramel filling:

  • 6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
  • 114 ounce can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream.
  • 3 ounces (85 gm) semisweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions

To prepare the pretzel shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8” square metal pan with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  2. Pulse the pretzels in a food processor or mini chopper until they are reduced to a coarse sandy mixture. You can leave a few small chunks, if desired. Pulse in the flour, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until small clumps come together. Pat the mixture out into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven until the shortbread is soft but slightly set, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool briefly while you prepare the caramel filling.

To prepare the caramel filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter and sugar together, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup and bring the mixture to a boil. Begin stirring continuously and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has turned lightly golden and has thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Remove from the heat immediately and stir in the salt. Pour the mixture over the pretzel shortbread and set aside to cool completely. You can expedite this process by refrigerating it.

To prepare the chocolate ganache:

  1. Heat the heavy whipping cream until hot but not simmering. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and pour the cream over top. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow the chocolate to melt for about 5 minutes. Stir the chocolate and cream together until smooth, microwaving in 10 second spurts as needed to help melt unmelted chocolate. Smooth the mixture over top of the caramel filling and garnish the top with extra pretzels or flecks of salt. Allow to cool completely before cutting into pieces.

Notes

  • I prefer to purchase mini salted pretzel twists. Avoid using thick pretzel rods. Flavor will differ if you use unsalted or fat-free pretzels.
  • If desired, feel free to stir 3/4 cup roasted chopped nuts into the caramel just before spreading on the shortbread. I have tried it with pecans and it is DELISH!

Derby Pie Bars

Derby Pie Bars Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog. This buttery shortbread bar is based on favorite Kentucky recipe. With a crumble crust, bourbon pecan pie and brown sugar filling, and a drizzle of chocolate these simple bars bake up quickly and are enjoyable for a crowd. Get the recipe in time for the Kentucky derby at www.thewoodandspoon.com.

In two days, I’ll be celebrating my fourth wedding anniversary. Yes, I already know what you’re thinking. You think I’m going to spend the next few paragraphs spouting about marriage, right? About love. About how my husband is the best, or how married life is hard, or about any number of silly things that I may have learned over the course of the past four years. Well, joke’s on you! Today we’re talking all about these derby pie bars.

Brett and I got married on my grandparent’s farm in Kentucky the week before The Derby. It was a small, outdoor ceremony on a private corner of the farm’s rolling green hills. I shivered through the ceremony, half nervous, half chilled from the wet air that blew on that gray day. We said “I Do,” tried not to make out in front of all of our friends and family, and headed to the reception which took place in a tobacco barn a short walk away. 

Derby Pie Bars Recipe

Derby Pie Bars Recipe

Derby Pie Bars Recipe

Derby Pie Bars Recipe

Derby Pie Bars Recipe
Photos by 509 Photo

Like any good Kentucky party, we served stout bourbon cocktails and danced to the music of a five piece bluegrass band. Our caterer passed small plates of Southern-inspired dishes to our guests, while others picked at the dessert table filled with bourbon balls, lemon squares, and even a humble little wedding cake that was made by yours truly. The day contained more than a few nods to our families, heritage, and even the Bluegrass state itself, but on the week before the Kentucky Derby, one dish that we really should have served is derby pie.

Derby Pie Bars Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog. This buttery shortbread bar is based on favorite Kentucky recipe. With a crumble crust, bourbon pecan pie and brown sugar filling, and a drizzle of chocolate these simple bars bake up quickly and are enjoyable for a crowd. Get the recipe in time for the Kentucky derby at www.thewoodandspoon.com.

If you’re not familiar, derby pie is fudgy, chocolate and nut-filled pie that is traditionally served that first Saturday in May at Kentucky Derby. Rich and chocolaty with a subtle crunch from walnuts, the original pie is decadent and one of the few desserts that just screams “KENTUCKY” to me. These derby pie bars are adapted from the original pie but have a few twists of their own that make them a delicious Southern treat you can enjoy all year round.

Derby Pie Bars Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog. This buttery shortbread bar is based on favorite Kentucky recipe. With a crumble crust, bourbon pecan pie and brown sugar filling, and a drizzle of chocolate these simple bars bake up quickly and are enjoyable for a crowd. Get the recipe in time for the Kentucky derby at www.thewoodandspoon.com.

To prepare these derby pie bars, we start with a shortbread crust. Sugar, flour, and the rest of the dry ingredients work in with a few tablespoons of butter to create a flaky bottom layer for our bars. Once baked, the crust is topped with a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips before being slathered in gooey, brown sugar pecan pie filling. Made with butter, brown sugar, a swig of bourbon, and more than a handful of pecans, the pie filling layer of these bars is sweet and not for the faint of heart. The whole thing gets baked in the oven, drizzled in chocolate, and cut into bite-sized bars. If you love pecan pie and chocolate, these bars are for you. If you love boozy desserts, crumbly crusts, and serving decadent treats at your Kentucky Derby party, these bars are practically begging to be made.

Derby Pie Bars Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog. This buttery shortbread bar is based on favorite Kentucky recipe. With a crumble crust, bourbon pecan pie and brown sugar filling, and a drizzle of chocolate these simple bars bake up quickly and are enjoyable for a crowd. Get the recipe in time for the Kentucky derby at www.thewoodandspoon.com.Brett and I have no plans to attend the Derby this year, but I absolutely adore any treat that reminds me of our wedding day. While we may not actually share these bars on our anniversary this year, I am delighted to pass the recipe along to you. I hope that you’ll give them next week on Derby day and think of me! Stay tuned for next week, when I’ve got not one but TWO recipes to share with you guys! It will be a mouth-watering few days in these parts.

And on the off-chance that he’s reading- Brett, I love you. You make my life better and I’m grateful to be yours. Happy Anniversary.

Derby Pie Bars Recipe

If you like these derby pie bars, you may also like:

Kentucky Bourbon Balls and Homemade Chocolates

Homemade Chocolates

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pecan Toffee Bars

Pecan Toffee Blondies

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting

Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting
Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting

 

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Derby Pie Bars

These derby pie bars are based on the favorite Kentucky pie. A shortbread crust, bourbon pecan pie filling, and a drizzle of semisweet chocolate make these bars rich, decadent, and delicious to serve a crowd.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the crust

  • ¾ cup (90 gm) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (35 gm) corn starch
  • ½ cup (55 gm) confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, cold and cut into teaspoon sized pieces

For the filling

  • ¾ cup (170 gm) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (160 gm) brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons good quality bourbon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups (320 gm) coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup (130 gm) mini chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

To prepare the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” square baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on each side to easily remove the bars from the pan once baked. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, corn starch, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or the backs of two forks, cut the diced butter into the dry ingredients until it becomes a coarse meal consistency with pea-sized clumps. Press the mixture evenly into the square pan and then chill for 5-10 minutes in the fridge. Then, bake in the preheat oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is set and then edges have just started to turn golden. Do not overbake. Set aside the cooked crust while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and optional bourbon in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Once melted and no graininess from the sugar exists any longer, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, boiling for 3 minutes. After three minutes have passed, remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped pecans and heavy cream to a medium sized bowl and stir in the butter/brown sugar mixture until evenly combined.
  2. Sprinkle ½ cup of the mini chocolate chips over the cooked crust. Spread the warm filling over top of the chocolate chips and smooth out. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges and parts of the center are bubbling and the bars have turned caramel in color. Allow the bars to cool completely prior to removing from the pan (you can speed this process up in the fridge). Remove from pan by pulling out the foil liner. Melt the remaining chocolate chips in a microwave on low heat in 15 second increments or over a double boiler. Drizzle bars with chocolate and allow to set. Cut into 16 bars and serve at room temp.

Notes

  • Be sure to allow bars to cool completely prior to cutting. You can place them in the fridge or freezer briefly to expedite this process.
  • The drizzling chocolate can seize up if it gets too hot while melting. Be sure to melt on low heat and (if microwaving) in short increments so that you get smooth chocolate.

Recipe Adapted From: Once Upon A Chef

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple, individual mini tarts made in removable bottom tart pans. An easy cheesecake and canned pumpkin puree filling swirled together with sugar and fall spices like cinnamon. The press in crust is easy to make and the whole thing is topped with sweet and salty walnuts or pecans or other nuts. Find this great dinner party dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

What age is too old?

This is the question I’m faced with more and more frequently. 

For example, I secretly love Harry Styles, but am I just way too old to admit that? I want to buy a chokers and lace up shirts, but wait, didn’t I wear those twenty years ago!? And then what about my secret stash of Mary-Kate and Ashley movies? AM I TOO OLD FOR ALL OF THIS? PLEASE INFORM. 

I’m stuck in this purgatory age known as 28 where (to quote the great philosopher Britney Spears) I’m not a girl, not yet a woman, and I have no gauge of where my awkwardness fits in society.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Ok, I can already hear you rolling your eyes at me, and that’s fine. You can judge me. You can hate me for getting antsy about nearing my thirties, or you can laugh at the immature desires of my old, wrinkly heart. But I’m just being honest here, ok? 

This past weekend, we traveled with friends to Atlanta for a football game and 36 kid-free hours of food and shopping. Following an afternoon of day-drinking, pre-dinner cocktails, and a few poured bottles of wine throughout dinner, I was feeling pretty fancy. And to be clear, by fancy, I mean Ready. To. Dance. 

We attempted to crash a wedding at our hotel, but security swiftly asked us to leave (#proudmoments). Instead, we decided to walk to a club around the corner. Brett paid our cover, the thick velvet curtain was drawn back for us, and for a minute, I was 21 again. Yes, in my mind’s eye, I was young, fresh-faced, sans stretch marks or nursing boobs, and for all intents and purposes, a BABE. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Well, that moment lasted about as long as it took for me to get to the dance floor, because then the question hit me: Am I too old? 

I am choosing to believe that the age to enter this club had to have been, like, 14 because some of these kids looked downright preteen. These were tiny, infant children, playing pretend with their mom and dad’s stash of Bud Light and cocktail straws. That has to be it. Otherwise, the alternative is that I was the old one.

Well, I danced. I danced and jumped and sang and did a bunch of other fistpump/pelvic thrust movements because when you’re old, you don’t have time to practice your moves in the mirror of your bathroom anymore. The DJ amused us by playing an assortment of hits from the 90’s, and at one point, Brett and I were booty dancing (do we still call it that?) and yell-singing the six or seven words we were able to make out of “It’s Tricky” by Run D.M.C. I have no doubt in my mind that those fetus humans we danced alongside went home and told their friends about the crusty old people who humiliated themselves doing the hand-jive in the middle of a struggling dance floor, but honestly, if you can’t dance when you’ve been casually drinking for 12 hours, WHEN CAN YOU DANCE!?!

The moral of this story is that growing up is hard to do, but if you manage to dance your way through it with your friends, you’ll make it out with not much more than a dull headache and a few blurry photos to fondly laugh at later. 

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I’ll be 29 in a few weeks and I’m considering these pumpkin cheesecake tarts as an ode to my earlier years. They’re cute, petite, and wildly delicious. I shared them with a friend who said they would make a terrific alternative to the usual Thanksgiving desserts, but honestly, life is short and we really don’t need an excuse to indulge in delicious desserts. The time for dancing and pumpkin cheesecake tarts is now. 

The recipe for these pumpkin cheesecake tarts is adapted from my bruleed key lime pies, so if you’ve tried those you know how simple these are to make! We start by pressing a shortbread crust into the bottom of 4″ tart pans. I used my favorite shortbread crust from these blueberry lemon bars. The filling is sweet and creamy, similar to a cheesecake, with swirls of pumpkin and all of our favorite fall flavors. After a quick bake in the oven, the tarts are cooled to room temp before being topped with toasted hazelnuts. Sound awesome? Yeah, I thought so.

You can make these pumpkin cheesecake tarts ahead of time and warm slightly just before eating.Whipped cream isn’t mandatory, but I really can’t think of a reason not to go for it; a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg in that whipped cream would be magical. I’ve also tried adding the hazelnuts directly to the shortbread crust, and let me just say that I was NOT disappointed. If you don’t have mini tart pans, you can make this in one larger 10″ tart pan (or maybe even a jelly roll pan as a bar??) as well! You will most definitely have a little extra dough and filling, though, so I recommend making only 2/3 of the recipe and lengthening your bake times.

I hope you give these pumpkin cheesecake tarts a shot. I also hope you weren’t at that bar secretly laughing at my dance moves. 

Cheers to you and happy Monday!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple, individual mini tarts made in removable bottom tart pans. An easy cheesecake and canned pumpkin puree filling swirled together with sugar and fall spices like cinnamon. The press in crust is easy to make and the whole thing is topped with sweet and salty walnuts or pecans or other nuts. Find this great dinner party dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

These pumpkin cheesecake tarts are a pumpkin pie and cheesecake mashup, baked in a shortbread crust and topped with toasted hazelnuts. It’s a perfect fall dessert!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 21/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 18 ounces block of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 11/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup of toasted hazelnuts
  • Whipped Cream (if desired)

Instructions

To prepare the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 6- 4″ tart pans with removable bottoms with baking spray and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla. Add the flour and salt all at once and stir on low speed until large crumbles begin to form.
  3. Divide the dough between the 6 tart pans and lightly press the dough out evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Place on a sheet pan and in the freezer for the dough to set up for about 10 minutes.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, carefully press out the bottom or any areas where the dough may have gotten droopy in the pans. Be sure to do this while it is still warm from the oven! Set aside while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling

  1. Cream the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Add 1/2 of the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat briefly to combine, scraping the bowl as needed. Add 1 egg, the vanilla, and salt, beating together to combine. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture in a medium sized bowl.
  2. To that 1/2 cup of cream cheese mixture, add the pumpkin, the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, an egg and the egg yolk, and the pumpkin pie spice. Beat to combine, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of the pumpkin mixture in each of the cooled tart shells, and drizzle 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over top. Drag a knife through the filling to create swirls, if desired.
  4. Place each tart pan on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the outer edge of the tart has set well. Allow to cool briefly on the counter for about 30 minutes and then place in the fridge to cool completely. Serve each tart with a sprinkling of hazelnuts and a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Notes

  • Be sure the cream cheese is room temperature! If it is still cold while beating, little clumps will form in your batter and you’ll be forced to whisk it through a fine mesh strainer prior to pouring in your tart shells.
  • You can add your hazelnuts directly to your crust by finely chopping them and stirring into the dough clumps. You may have a little extra dough if you use this method, but I totally approve eating little handfuls of it raw. (gasp!)

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

Are we ready to close out the summer? Is it really already time?

Saying goodbye to summer feels a lot like saying goodbye to an old friend. Summer is that lively, carefree friend who shows up out of nowhere at your front door, sleeps on your couch and eats all your food, but gives you a load of funny stories and blurry photographs to save as memories. You shared some good moments and probably even got burned a time or two, but at the end of the day, there’s always promise that they’ll come back around again. 

For my family, this summer was filled with a ton of joyful, big life moments, but was also not without its share of challenging learning experiences. Here’s a few things I learned: 

 
  • I learned that I could keep two humans alive, surviving on minimal hours of sleep.
  • I learned that hormones are the wild, unbridled beasts of a postpartum body, generous enough to treat me to a receding hairline (at 28) and sweat production akin to a linebacker in a snowsuit on the Fourth of July.
  • I learned that my toddler is SMART- smart enough to learn the ABC’s (thanks preschool!) and smart enough to wait until I leave the room to crawl up on the counter and put her grubby paws in my freshly iced sugar cookies.
  • I learned that I probably don’t have a future in gardening, as it turns out my green thumb is actually more like gangrene- decrepit, black, and in desperate need of an amputation STAT (sorry, tomatoes). 

Blueberry Lemon Bars

This summer was a series of ups and downs, learning and unlearning, and trial and error, so while I’m sad to leave my jean shorts and tank tops behind, I’m excited for the next page in our book. Plus, I can keep some of those summer repeats on replay for at least another couple weeks, right? (I’m looking at you, ice cream cones!)
 
Blueberry Lemon Bars
One thing I did manage to get right this summer? Blueberry lemon bars. 
No other fruit is so quintessentially summer to me than blueberries. With their beautiful purple skins and juicy innards just begging to burst in my oven, I usually can’t keep blueberries in my fridge long enough to test out new recipes. BUT! This summer, I set out to perfect my blueberry lemon bars, and hold the phone because I think I did it.
My goal with for blueberry lemon bars was to create a good crust to fruit ratio, for that crust to be lightly scented with lemon, and for the bars to easily be sliced into neat squares for serving. After a few trial runs, this is the recipe I nailed down.
Blueberry Lemon Bars
The crust is a lemon shortbread/sugar cookie hybrid and doubles as the crumble sprinkled on top of the bars as well. The filling is simple: berries and sugar, with a sprinkle of a few other ingredients, all tossed together quickly in a bowl. The whole thing bakes up pretty quick in the oven and stays good for DAYS. Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used for these little pals, although if you don’t take advantage of the inexpensive seasonal fruit then I just don’t know what’s the matter with you.
 
BONUS! I’m also including an expanded recipe in the event that you want to make these bad boys for a crowd. The smaller recipe still make more than you’d expect though, so don’t go too crazy right off the bat (actually, go wild, because who cares. I’m not holding you back.)
Blueberry Lemon Bars
 
Blueberry Lemon Bars
Blueberry lemon bars should be the cherry on top, the encore, or whatever you want to call it of a delicious and well-lived summer. I hope you share one or two of these before we fall face first into autumn.
 
Cheers to you and have a great week!
 
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Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

These blueberry lemon bars boast a sweet and salty lemon shortbread crust and crumble, and are filled with juicy blueberries!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 11/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 21/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ square pan with aluminum foil, covering all sides of the pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and lemon and stir to combine. Scrape the bowl, then add the flour and salt. Stir on low speed until clumps begin to form. Scrape the bowl as needed, continuing to stir only until combined. Pat out 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and toss gently. Strain any extra juice from the berries and sprinkle them evenly over the crust.
  4. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries and crust.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the crumbs on top are golden brown, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
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Blueberry Lemon Bars for a Crowd

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

A slightly adapted version, these blueberry lemon bars boast a sweet and salty lemon shortbread crust and crumble, and are filled with juicy blueberries!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 21/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 11/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a quarter sheet pan with aluminum foil, covering all sides of the pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and lemon and stir to combine. Scrape the bowl, then add the flour and salt. Stir on low speed until clumps begin to form. Scrape the bowl as needed, continuing to stir only until combined. Pat out 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and toss gently. Strain off any extra juice the berries produce and sprinkle them evenly over the crust.
  4. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries and crust.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the crumbs on top are golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a layered dessert made in a sheet pan. A salty pretzel shortbread crust with butter and brown sugar. There is a soft and creamy peanut butter cup filling. The whole thing is topped with a chocolate chip brownie made from melted chocolate bars and chips. Adapted from ina garten's brownie recipe. This serves a crowd and is great for a party barbecue or gathering. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This past weekend, I traveled to Orlando to visit family one last time before I’m due to crank out this baby. At 33 weeks pregnant, waddling around the airport with a wiggly toddler and a carry-on bag full of snacks, diapers, and a well worn copy of “Goodnight Moon” made me a sight to see. By the time we arrived to the sunshine state, Aimee was covered in Goldfish crumbs and chocolate, I was covered in Aimee’s Goldfish/chocolate drool, and we both were in desperate need of a little personal space.

Winding down the last few weeks of pregnancy is a lot like the last couple weeks of school before summer break. I have a never-ending checklist of things to do, things to buy, things to make, and things to wrap up. Baby items to purchase, baby room decor to hang, and a baby quilt to finish sewing. Recipes to test, blog posts to write, photos to take, and groceries to buy. Start a load of wash, make dinner, go to the grocery store again, and do more wash. Feed toddler, bathe toddler, play with toddler, change toddler’s diaper. Go to work, work out, go pee for the millionth time, and try to remember to shave legs/ bathe/ put on deodorant sometime before my husband comes home.

Never. Ending.

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie

Meanwhile, my pregnancy app on my phone keeps saying, “Relax! Put your feet up! Pamper yourself! You’re glowing!”

What? Is that supposed to be a joke? Ain’t nobody got time for that. And if by “glowing”, you mean “sweating like a pig” then OK, yes, you’re right.
 
My hand is tempted to write that being a mom or being pregnant is hard work because those are two incredibly true statements, but really what it boils down to is that being a grown up is tough stuff. People expect things of us, we expect things of ourselves, and with a to-do list longer than the Mississippi River, it’s easy to get bogged down. There’s no pause button, much less a rewind option, and life can sometimes just wear us in ways that affect us from the inside to the out. 
 
If you’re experiencing even a taste of this nowadays, take heart, because you are not alone. If you’re feeling behind on your check list, or even behind on life in general, you are not alone. Life is beautiful, but it’s also hard work and I think that sometimes we need to be okay with being a little bit of a mess. And when things get to feeling out of control, out of order, or out of service, we may just need to stop the grind and go back to what makes us happy for minute.
 
Kinda like these pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies. Admittedly, these brownies will not help me fold another load of wash or soothe a crying baby or make my to-do list one inch shorter. But baking these buttery, fudgy, little bars of goodness and eating their warm crumbs straight from the pan alongside a big glass of milk feels a lot like a big hug from life. Some days, that’s just what we need.
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
So let’s break down these bars. We have a pretzel shortbread crust and a peanut butter cup filling, all topped with a dark, rich brownie and an extra sprinkling of chocolate chips. The shortbread is modified from my brown sugar shortbread cookies and the brownies are adapted from Ina Garten’s outrageous brownie recipe. The peanut butter filling tastes a lot like the inside of a Reese’s cup mixed with a little fairy dust and tiny food angels, which I think is pretty much the same thing as being next level delicious. Plus, this recipe makes a substantial batch of pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies which makes it a shoo-in recipe for parties, a crowd, or even just a quiet weekend at home alone after a really hard week. The whole recipe can be whipped up in a food processor which makes cleanup a whole lot more simple than most other layered desserts.
 
Give pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies a try and then just give yourself a mental pat on the back. You probably deserve both. 
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
 
 
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Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread Brownie Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a layered dessert made in a sheet pan. A salty pretzel shortbread crust with butter and brown sugar. There is a soft and creamy peanut butter cup filling. The whole thing is topped with a chocolate chip brownie made from melted chocolate bars and chips. Adapted from ina garten's brownie recipe. This serves a crowd and is great for a party barbecue or gathering. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This bar has three layers that consist of a pretzel shortbread crust, a creamy peanut butter cup filling, and a rich, chocolate brownie on top. They are sweet, salty, decadent, and everything in between.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the pretzel shortbread

  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) salted pretzel crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For the peanut butter filling

  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 11/4 cup confectioners sugar

For the brownie

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15″x10″x1″) with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, prep the brownies. Cut up butter and chocolate into small pieces and places these in the bowl, allowing to melt while you prepare the other layers of this bar. Be sure to check in on it every couple minutes or so, stirring as needed. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Keep on the stovetop only as long as the chocolate and butter is continuing to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pretzel crumbs until they are the consistency of sand. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt, pulsing briefly to combine. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor until a dry, crumbly dough comes together. This took about 1 minute of pulsing on my machine.
  4. Pat the dough out into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
  5. While pretzel shortbread is in the oven and the chocolate and butter is melting on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter and milk in the same bowl of your food processor. (It’s not necessary to wash it out yet- hooray!) Whiz in the food processor until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners sugar and pulse until thick, dry clumps come together. This mixture will appear similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup. Set aside in another bowl.
  6. Back in the same food processor bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for your brownie layer. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and pulse to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and mix just until combined. Remove from machine and stir half of the chocolate chips in by hand.
  7. Sprinkle clumps of the peanut butter filling evenly over the top of the shortbread crust. Pour the brownie batter over top of the shortbread and peanut butter clumps and smooth out evenly in the pan. Your pan will be full. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, carefully rap the pan on the rack of the oven several times to help air to escape the pan. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out with barely moist clumps on it. Do not overbake.
  9. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then cool completely in the fridge before slicing.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog BY Kate Wood. This is a simple crumbly butter cookie inspired by Emeril Lagasse brown sugar shortbread bars. Buttery cutout shortbread cookies that can be slice and make. Drizzle with chocolate or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Find the simple, easy, few ingredient recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

My husband says I have a Type A personality. While I would suggest that I’m somewhere between a Type A and Type B personality, I do see some inclinations that support his thinking. Time urgency, impatience, and a short-fused temper are all tendencies that I wear frequently like a behavioral scarlet letter, however, this is often offset by a sprinkling of Type B attributes.

One area I typically lean a little Type A heavy? Decluttering.

I love a good clean-out. I love a freshly organized drawer. I love a trip to Goodwill with a car full of stuff. It’s kinda like when you get a new manicure or like that first day of school when you get to crack open that box of pens and write for the first time in a crisp, new notebook. It’s a new lease on life!

Over Christmas, my friend Jesse told me about a book by Marie Kondo, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Curious, I purchased a copy, and after a fairly substantial skim of the book, I was in. I drank the Kondo Kool-Aid. The next day, I began to tidy.

To say that this method of cleaning was life-altering is an understatement. Whole-heartedly, unabashedly, I will tell you that this book has changed my home and life, maybe forever.

Kondo’s method of “tidying” (or as I would describe it, total-home overhauling) is a systematic process of sorting through categories of items in your home by discarding any belongings that don’t spark joy. Yes, I actually handled nearly every item in my home and asked myself the question, “Does this item bring me joy?” Quite often, the answer was no. That item got the boot.
Of course, there were exceptions. Hammers and dental floss and pencil sharpeners aren’t among things that bring me an abundance of happiness, but they do help to achieve other things that I do enjoy- art hanging on the walls, satisfactory gum health, and a newly sharpened pencil so that I can jot down thoughts to share with you kind folks. So those necessary, everyday items sometimes got to stay.

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

It took me 6 days, 20 garbage bags, and 2 trips to the massage therapist after I overdid it with my large, pregnant self before I was able to phone Goodwill to pick up my load. And ohhh, it was a load. 98% of the items in those bags were mine; I was living in such excess and I didn’t even realize it. Years of buying new storage bins and more plastic hangers and new drawer organizers was like trying to put a band-aid on the huge, gaping wound that was simply TOO. MUCH. STUFF.

The week long clear-out rid me of piles of things I no longer cared for, and likely, an infinite amount of future purchases I am now less likely to make. While I didn’t follow every facet of the book’s proposed methods, I can tell you that the ones I chose to utilize brought me an incredible amount of joy and lifted a burden of “stuff” that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I have recomended this book to countless people over the past month and now I’m passing this tidbit along to you: DO IT.  It’s fantastic. Bless someone else with your stuff and see how much easier it is to breathe when you don’t have piles of “unnecessary” staring at you in every closet.

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

Another tidbit? These shortbread. Ohhhhh, these shortbread.

Buttery, rich cookies that are addictive and practically beg for a cup of coffee. You cannot eat just one, but take it from my personal experience: you don’t want to eat more than three at a time unless you want a bellyache combined with an irrational desire to EAT. MORE. COOKIES. 

This is a recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse, and it’s one of the first things I remember baking as a teenager. Emeril’s recipe calls for baking a very similar dough in a springform pan (so delicious), but I find cookies are easier to share with friends. I’ve included two variations for these cookies: one with a cinnamon sugar topping and one drizzled with chocolate. I lean more towards the warm cinnamon flavors for this cookie, but certainly chocolate is never a bad choice. I’ll also mention that I prefer the thicker, smaller cookies as descibed in the instructions, although you’ll notice I went thinner and wider for the cookies I photographed. Either way, these cookies are incredibly worthwhile and a must-have in your arsenal of shortbread cookies. (Sidenote: if you’re the type of person who has arsenals of things like cookies, I want to know you. Let’s be friends). 

Check out Marie Kondo’s book while you’re at it. 

 

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

 

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Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Brown sugar shortbread cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog BY Kate Wood. This is a simple crumbly butter cookie inspired by Emeril Lagasse brown sugar shortbread bars. Buttery cutout shortbread cookies that can be slice and make. Drizzle with chocolate or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Find the simple, easy, few ingredient recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

These buttery brown sugar shortbread cookies are sweet, rich, and perfect for dessert or with an afternoon cup of coffee.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar, reserved (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, reserved (optional)
  • chocolate ganache, chocolate melting wafers, or melted semisweet chocolate chips for drizzling (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse flour brown sugar, and salt together until well combined. Add butter chunks and vanilla to dry ingredients and pulse together until a dough forms into one ball. Try not to overwork the dough, but keep in mind this dough is dry and will take more time to come together than some. Flatten dough out into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness. (See notes) Using a biscuit cutter or a 2 1/2″ round cutter, cut out cookies and place on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2″ apart. If desired, combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over cookies. This will turn your regular old brown sugar shortbread to cinnamon sugar shortbread! If your dough has gotten warm or soft, pop in the freezer for 5 minutes to set cookie’s shape.
  3. Baked for about 12 minutes or just until edges have set. Cool on a cooling rack and if desired, drizzle with warmed chocolate. 

Notes

  • For cinnamon brown sugar shortbread, sprinkle cookies liberally with cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking. If chocolate dipped brown sugar shortbread cookies is what you’re after, apply after cookies have been baked and cooled.
  • The cookies as photographed were rolled to 1/4″ thickness and cut with a 2-1/2″ biscuit cutter. For a more traditional shortbread cookie shape, roll a smidge thicker and cut with a smaller 2″ round cutter. Any shape cookie cutter will do. Baking time will differ based on cookie shape so keep an eye on them in the oven and remove when edges are set and are just barely beginning to brown.

Recipe Adapted From: Emeril Lagasse