My sister Jane has been making these for years. It’s from a cookbook called Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts. When I asked her to send me the recipe, she had 20 years of notes scribbled all over the pages. So she has worked out the kinks and figured out the shortcuts for all of us. I made a test batch yesterday, and then ate half the pan, not kidding. They are so good I had to throw the rest away this morning, or I would have gone into a diabetic coma. So, make sure guests are coming over when you bake these or you won’t fit into your jeans in the morning.

PASTRY SHELL
Ingredients:
½ pound (1 cup) unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp. salt
Finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
2-3 cups of all-purpose flour.
*butter and egg must be room temperature…I don’t know why, but Jane and Maida say it is crucial.

Directions:
Adjust the rack 1/3 up from bottom of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Butter a 15 1/2×101/2/1 inch jelly roll pan (I used a square baking dish, but that’s all I had and they came out too thick) and place in the freezer. (It’s easier to spread the pastry on a cold pan.)

In a large bowl or Cuisinart cream the butter and the sugar, beat in the egg, salt and lemon rind.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

Gradually add the flour and BEAT ONLY until mixture holds together. TIP: you want it to become the consistency of thick pancake batter, not crumbly like pie dough, so add 2 cups of the flour and then if you need more add tablespoon by tablespoon. As you can see in the picture mine is a little thick, but they were still fantastic.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

Place mixture by large spoonfuls all over the bottom of the cold pan then with floured fingers press into all the corners. This for some reason makes me nervous and I feel I am doing it wrong, but just shove it around. Prick the bottom with at ¼ inch intervals with a fork. Chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

Then bake for 20 minutes until half-baked and lightly colored. Next, take it out to cool completely. Finish this before starting the pecan topping.

PECAN TOPPING
Ingredients:
½ pound ( 1 cup) butter, cut in pieces
½ cup honey
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
4-5 cups pecan halves, I like them chopped in half again.

Directions:
In a heavy 3 quart saucepan over moderately high heat, cook the butter and honey until butter is melted. Add both sugars and stir to dissolve.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

Bring to a boil and DON’T STIR for exactly two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the heavy cream and pecans.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

I like to use less pecans because I like the caramel gooey stuff, but if you like it more “nutty” then add the full 5 cups. Immediately spread the hot mixture evenly over the half-baked crust. Spread with the back of a wooden spoon to make as even as possible.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Pecan Bars

Bake in a 375 degree oven (rack in same position as pastry shell) for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. I put mine in the refrigerator once it had cooled, and it helped to pop it out of the pan. Cut into small squares, with a long knife. Yum.

I have become obsessed with Chicken Pot Pie since moving to the United States, and it’s the perfect meal for your picky family. 

Tarragon Chicken Pot Pie 

Serves 6

Ingredients
5 Chicken breasts, rib on, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large leeks, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
12 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons tarragon, roughly chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine, such as chardonnay
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups frozen peas
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
2 eggs, beaten in a bowl

Equipment
6 – 8oz Ramekins

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375°F

Pat dry chicken breasts, lay on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  Set aside, let cool, pull chicken from bone and cube into 1 inch pieces.

In a large pot or a dutch oven, over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and cook for about 8 minutes until well softened. (do not brown).

Add garlic, mushrooms and tarragon, stirring well for about 1 minute. Add flour and stir for another minute. Pour in chicken stock along with the wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 3 – 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste.

Add in cream, peas and chicken, bring to a simmer for 2 minutes, cover and set aside.

Turn up oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on a floured surface. Using the ramekin as a guide, cut out circles and place pastry circles on a baking sheet. Repeat until you have 6.

Brush pastry with egg wash. Bake in oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Scoop chicken mixture into ramekins and top with baked puff pastry. ENJOY!

The Bourbon Chocolate Cherry Soda Float is both a cocktail and a dessert, which is brilliant. I love multitasking.

Can’t wait to try it? I don’t blame you. Here is your grocery/liquor list:

Ingredients:
1 pint of dark chocolate ice cream
2 to 4 shots (to taste) of Bourbon
2, 12 ounce bottles of dark cherry soda

Directions:
Scoop the dark chocolate ice cream into some fancy highball glasses and pour the bourbon over top. (You may want to try 1 shot in each at first; add more if you want them a bit stronger). Next pour the dark cherry soda over the ice cream, top with a straw and slurp away. No one will blame you. Cheers!

Images via www.howsweeteats.com

Spring has finally sprung where I live; how about in your neck of the woods? If not, you can close your eyes and pretend while you sip this Spring Fling Cocktail.

Now this one does step out of my comfort zone, just a bit. I’m normally not a gin girl but I’m easing my way in by trying it with ingredients I already know I like. Join me, won’t you?

Ingredients:
– 2 ounces of dry gin
– 2 ounces of lemon-lime soda
– 2 ounces of cranberry juice
– lemon or lime for garnish

Directions:
Pour gin into a tall glass filled with ice. Add the cranberry juice and then top with the soda. Stir with a straw and then place your lemon or lime wedge on the rim. Raise your glass and toast to a Happy Spring! Cheers!

So? Do we like cocktails with gin?

This fudge is pure bliss. It is made from Baileys Irish Cream and coffee. Fudge with booze and coffee? I’m in! The fudge smells unbelievably good and it’s so silky smooth – the taste is heaven.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 Tbsp instant coffee crystals
3/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 cups sugar
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 pkg vanilla morsels or butterscotch chips
1 tsp vanilla
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka? Irish Coffee Fudge
Directions:
In a small bowl, combine Baileys and coffee crystals. Microwave on high for 15 seconds or until melted and dissolved. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter, evaporated milk, sugar, and marshmallow cream. Slowly add the Bailey’s coffee mixture. Stir well. Boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in chips and vanilla extract. Stir for approx. 3-4 minutes, until smooth. Pour in a foil lined 8×8 pan. Chill to set.

Enjoy!

In the first few months of the year, I always feel this dreary kind of lull wash over me. So when I set out in search of a new cocktail, I had one thing in mind; it needed to be bright and cheerful. The cocktail I stumbled upon at Two-Tarts was JUST what I was looking for … it is called The Winter Sun Cocktail.

Ingredients:
– The juice of 4 clementines (about 1/2 of a cup)
– Juice of 1 small lemon (1 ounce)
– 1 oz of Triple Sec
– 3 ounces of vodka
− 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
− Lemon zest
− Sugar

Directions:
Moisten the rim of your glass with some fruit juice. Combine zest and sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Turn the glass over onto the plate and coat with sugar. Pour the juices, triple sec, and vodka into a shaker with ice, shake well and then pour into a tumbler glass over ice. Garnish with rosemary sprigs – makes 2. Isn’t it gorgeous??? Cheers!

Images via www.two-tarts.com