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December 7, 2012

Food Bloggers Los Angeles' Cookie Exchange

the beautiful bloggers' spread
my contributions
The FBLA December meeting is the one meeting per year without a specific discussion topic or program.  It's simply a social party, with a glorious theme:  the cookie exchange!  No surprise, this is the one meeting where we have the most attendance, so we were sure to get a group shot.  Our hostess this year was one of our founders, Erika Kerekes. 

For 2012, I made the same Macadamia bar cookies I blogged about here, but baked them in a holly pan that lended a pretty shape.  I also used fresh lime juice from my friend's backyard tree to make Erika Kereke's lemon squares on a sheet pan so large I almost didn't think it would fit in my oven.  It did, but because of my slanted floor, one end of the bars was extra-limey and the other was a fine dry crust; the lime curd had slid to one side.  And of course, I had to try one new recipe....I've been on a bar cookie kick this holiday season due to the limits of my kitchen (no counters, only a bar sink, etc.).  I'm all for quick and easy one pan anything, whether it's main dish or dessert.  So I searched the web and hit upon Macaroon Bars with Oreo Crust.  A revelation--my favorite flavors, coconut and dark chocolate!  This is the closest I've gotten to a cookie with the flavor of Mounds candybars. 

We were doomed to be overloaded by sugar, so the call went out to bring a brunch potluck item along with your dessert.  I think four of us responded.  I'd just been to a fun day of hat decorating with another ladies' social group where I'd requested a recipe for a potato bake that had been brought to the event, and I decided to try it myself.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish, but I'm not too sorry.  I bought the potatos frozen, and dutifully thawed them overnight in the fridge.  Though I've used it to bake often, my KitchenAid Stand Mixer is still fairly new to me when main dish cooking; I learned a valuable lesson when I mixed up the potato as my Bake quickly turned into a Mash.  Next time I will use diced potatoes rather than shoestring hash, and will leave them fairly frozen when I go to mix it all up.  Still, it tasted good, and was completely gone.

Macaroon Bars with Oreo Crust
Macaroon Bars with Oreo Crust

reprinted from Better Homes & Gardens
Yield: 48 bars
Prep: 40 mins  
Bake: 350°F 33 mins
Chill: 30 mins

  • 2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling (about 20 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups flaked coconut
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • Toasted whole almonds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges. Lightly grease foil. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together crushed cookies, 1/2 cup sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla into the crushed cookie mixture until combined. Firmly press cookie mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. Stir in flaked coconut. Stir egg whites and vanilla into coconut mixture until combined. Spoon coconut mixture over crust. Using wet hands, carefully press the coconut mixture to edges of pan.
4. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until macaroon layer is set and lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
5. In a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and shortening. Heat over low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over bars. Chill about 30 minutes or until chocolate sets. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into 24 bars. Cut each bar diagonally to make 48 triangles. If desired, place a whole almond atop each bar. Makes 48 bars.

From the Test Kitchen:
  • Place bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to three days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Lime Diamonds

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole was a bit mashed but looks like a hit!

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole 

Mix one bag of frozen hash browns, 2 c. cheddar cheese, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper to taste. Pour in casserole dish and bake at 325 till warmed through and golden on top.

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