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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Butter Tarts and Chocolate Chow Mien Cookies


For the last several Christmas' my Mother, Sister and my niece and I get together for Mother/Daughter baking day.  The focus : Ooey Gooey Flaky Butter Tarts.  My mom found this recipe from Canadian Living, but she made a few tweaks, passed it on to us and we have been making it ever since.   It's great for us to get together and spend the day baking, laughing and sharing so we always make a point to set up this day.   Along with the butter tarts we also make Chocolate Chow Mien Noodle cookies, Hay Stacks, Spider cookies or Oodle Kadoodles, whatever you want to call them.   They maybe the easiest cookie ever, but they are so addictive and yummy.


Butter Tart INGREDIENTS:

Dough (Tenderflake - makes 6 pie shells about 3-4 dozen tart shells)

  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoons salt
  • lb tenderflake lard
  • 1 egg, stirred slightly
  • tablespoon vinegar
  • 7/8 cup cold water
Filling: (makes about 12 tarts)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp Butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • Pinch Salt
  • A few in each tart - Raisins or Cranberries
INSTRUCTIONS: 
1) Make the dough :  
  • Stir the flour and salt together.   Cut in the lard with a pastry blender until the shortening is in pea size pieces. In a measuring cup, combine the egg and vinegar. 
  • Add enough cold water to make one cup.   Stir the liquid into the flour mixture, adding just enough to make the dough cling together.  Stir the water in with a wooden spoon until mixed thoroughly, then gather the dough into a ball, and separate into 6 portions. 
  • Cover and refrigerate for one hour, you can chill overnight, covered, providing you leave it at room temp for 15 mins before rolling. 
2) Make the filling :  In bowl, vigorously whisk brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt. 
3) Roll, Cut and Fill:  On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry to 1/8-1/4inch thickness. Using about a 4 inch round cutter cut out circles.   Re rolling as needed.   
4) Spray the muffin tin or grease/flour and place in the dough to make a cup.  Add a few raisins at the bottom of each tart and then add the filling to about halfway to 2/3 full.   You do not want to overfill or the tarts will not remove from the pan easily.    
5) Bake at 350F for about 18minutes or until filling is just set and golden.

OUR VARIATIONS AND RESULTS:
We try and get a head of the game and make the dough ahead of time but this year none of us had time so we started from scratch.  Unfortunately we had issues with the first few batches of dough.  We always tend to use the crust recipe from the Tenderflake shortening box and we did this time but we didn't actually have Tenderflake, we had no name lard.  So we ended up with 5 rounds of dough that just didn't want to stay together.    At this point I went to my never fail dough, it's more of a sweet dough than a flaky dough but its really good and it worked.   PHEW!      My sister likes when the butter tarts have the wavy look just so when she puts them into the muffin tin she adds the bumpy look.   That choice is totally up to you, but it definitely gives them the homemade feel.    We did also put some cranberries in about a dozen instead of raisins.  Different but quite nice.  In the end we made about 8 dozen but due to some over filling and some broken shells we didn't quite get that many.  Not such a large tragedy though eating the broken pieces is still fun.
Ooops! Sorry about the your recipe Mom!  














MEG's RATING : D-EEE-LICIOUS!!


CHOCOLATE CHOW MIEN COOKIES

While we were waiting for the dough to chill and remaking the new dough, my sister made the cookies.
They are really quick and easy and require no baking!   We don't really use a recipe but for guidance I adapted the one from Hershey.

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 4 dozen)

  • 3 cups Chow mien noodles - slightly crushed
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 12 oz package)
  • 1 2/3 cups peanut butter chips (1 10 oz package)
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts 
  • 1 cup raisins
INSTRUCTIONS: 
1) Melt both chips in a double boiler.   Add chow mien noodles a cup at a time and mix so they are all covered in chocolate.  Add peanuts and/or raisins.  You don't have to do both.
2)  Drop a heaping spoonful on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat. 
3) Refrigerate or (put in your cold garage as what we did) until set. 

Seriously, that is it!!   I know it may seem odd with the noodles but trust me.  These are a great easy treat! Great for doing with kids as well, they may just want to eat the noodles covered in chocolate.  Case in point <<
Try experimenting with different nuts or butterscotch chips....or even skor bits.  :-)

MEG's RATING : D-EEE-LICIOUS!







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