Since this is my first post of 2010, I guess a Happy New Year is in order! I hope all of you have had a great start to this new year and that you will have the inspiration, energy and passion needed to reach success in all of your goals. How wonderful it is to get a fresh start every new year!
I can hardly believe my blog is 2 years old today! I feel like it was just yesterday that I decided to post a few photos and recipes and see what would come of it. 130 some posts and 122 followers (!) later, I'm still at it, albeit a little inconsistently lately. Balance is hard to achieve between obligations and the things I love to do, choices have to be made. I'll get there though, that's what life is all about!
I want to share one of my family's favorite desserts with you today. When I get a request for pecan pie but I don't have time to make the pie dough, I make these squares. They're so easy to make, almost too easy, I could have them everyday! For a change I used hazelnuts and golden raisins in this batch but you could use walnuts, pecans, currants, dried cranberries or pretty much any combination of dried fruit and nuts you like. As I said, it's all about choices!!! :)
Maple Hazelnut Butter Tart Squares
adapted from here and here
for the base:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
for the topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups golden raisins (or other dried fruit)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnut, skins removed, coarsely chopped (or other nuts)
To make the base:
Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment or aluminum paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with your mixer of choice, cream the butter and sugar together well. Add the flour and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes. The base with be golden when ready. Don't over bake it as it will become hard but don't under bake it either or it will be too soft.
To make the topping:
Combine all the ingredients for the topping and mix well.
Spread the mixture over the base and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. The top will be golden and cracked and beautiful!
Let cool to room temperature in the pan then cut into squares. Top with whipped cream or the ice cream of your choice.