Monday, June 20, 2011

Margarita Bars & Chocolate Raspberry Cookies with Raspberry Glaze

Margarita Bars

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies with Raspberry Glaze

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! On Saturday night, my family hosted a dinner party, and of course I jumped on the opportunity to try out some new dessert recipes! I later learned that experimenting with new recipes during a dinner party isn't always the best baking strategy, but you live and learn!

I was psyched to find the Margarita Bar recipe on a fellow blogger's page! It seemed like the perfect treat to top off a summer gathering, and they were! Plus, these tasty bars feature a tablespoon or two of tequila and triple sec, so the margarita flavor is completely authentic -- yum! One of the biggest challenges of baking is the balance between oven temperature and baking time however, and these bars proved to be no exception. Although I cooked the bars with the oven temperature and baking time suggested in the recipe, they turned out to be a bit undercooked after all. This recipe is more difficult to test as well, since the tried and true toothpick method is a no-go with the gooey consistency of the bars (no matter how perfectly they are cooked). I ended up popping the pan of bars in the fridge for a while to help them set before cutting and serving them, but they definitely would have worked better if they had been in the oven for a few more minutes. Next time! 

I love the flavors of chocolate and raspberry together, so I was really excited to tackle the new recipe for the cookies! The chocolate raspberry cookies proved to be a perfect example of why experimenting with new recipes at a dinner party can be dangerous, however. To make the cookies, I used a Paula Deen recipe from the Food Network which called for Hershey's Premier Dark Chocolate Baking Pieces Filled With Raspberry Creme. Well, on my last minute run to the grocery store to grab the necessities for my desserts, I realized that the store did not carry this item. So, instead I used a generic brand of Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes. I realized after baking the first round of cookies with these candies that this was a poor choice. The raspberry creme filling from the candies more or less melted and transformed into a syrupy mess on the cookie sheets, ruining my perfectly greased pans. That round of cookies ended up being chiseled and pried from their syrupy graves. In doing so however, I racked my brain for a plan B! There was still plenty of cookie dough left and I couldn't leave the guests hanging! For the second round, I decided to pick out all of the evil baking pieces, and instead infuse the chocolate cookie dough with raspberry flavor by adding a tablespoon or two of the raspberry preserves that the glaze recipe uses. Luckily, my improvisation was a success and I was able to salvage at least half a dozen cookies. Another perfect example of living and learning through baking!

When people ask me how I know that baking is my passion, I explain that I'm never too tired to do it, it never discourages me to the point of wanting to quit, and it is always relaxing to me, no matter what the circumstances. Not to mention that it comes with some pretty delicious benefits that make me and everyone I love happy! So, even though these recipes weren't my best successes, I still had a great weekend of baking and learned more from it than I would have if everything had gone according to plan. So, I encourage you to stick with baking, too! It isn't ALWAYS perfectly glamorous and delicious, but I promise that if you keep at it, you too can single-handedly save a near-disastrous dinner party. 

Happy Baking! :)

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