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Friday
Aug262011

brown sugar chewies -- dried apple-cinnamon or dried plum-pecan

These are simple old-fashioned things-- sweet, tasty things that fall somewhere between a really chewy blondie and a brown sugar cookie-bar.

But they make everyone ask --

What do you call them?

My brother-in-law suggested Chewbaccas. Star Wars is pretty present around here.

Julia draws C3PO with sidewalk chalk and sometimes makes me Darth Vader when we need a "bad guy" to run around the house.

Usually, Julia says she's Firestar from the old 80's "Spiderman and His Amazing Friends" reruns, but sometimes she's Princess Leia.

Jack's usually Spiderman, but she also likes to call him Luke. As in, Skywalker.

She runs around the yard saying "Luke, save me!" as he chases her around.

So I went with something that isn't copyrighted/trademarked -- chewies.

And they are chewy. And addictive. Especially for those with a sweet tooth.

A thin brown sugar crust forms over the top as it bakes, and a whole bunch of nuts add crunch.

I also threw in an extra kick of kosher salt to get that sweet-and-salty thing going.

The recipe called for dried plums (or prunes), which gave them a Fig Newton-esque quality.

They were good, but I've been getting the Autumn itch, so I switched it up with a little spice this time.

I dried my own apples and added a bit of cinnamon to the mix.

You can just cut these into itty-bitty squares and watch them disappear.

They stay fab in the fridge for days.

In fact, I thought they were even better after chilling out in there for a few days.

With great power comes great respons...wait. I'm confusing my movie cliches.

I mean...Do or do not. There is no try.

And, with these, I say "Do." 

Do it. Do it. 

Brown Sugar Chewies -- Apple Cinnamon-Walnut or Dried Plum-Pecan

adapted from Dried-Plum Pecan Chews in Gale Gand's Just a Bite: 125 Luscious Little Desserts

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar (or half dark brown sugar, half white sugar)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (use if doing the dried apple version, omit if using dried plums)
  • 2/3 cup dried apples or dried plums (i.e. prunes), chopped into bite-sized pieces (see note)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9X13 baking pan with foil so that it goes up the sides of the pan, and butter or spray foil with vegetable spray.

Spread the nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or with a handmixer, beat the eggs until they are foamy and fairly thick, about 5 minutes with the stand mixer or 7 to 8 minutes with the handheld mixer.

Gradually add the brown sugar until well blended, about 2 minutes.

With mixer on low, add salt, vanilla, flour and cinnamon, if using, blending until just combined. With spatula, fold in dried apples or prunes.

Pour the mixture carefully and evenly over the nuts in the pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a brown sugar crust forms over the top and the center is set. DO NOT UNDERBAKE -- it makes for gooiness, rather than chewiness.

Allow to cool in pan on rack to room temperature. Can be served at room temperature, but I think they are better chilled. Stow away in refrigerator until completely chilled, then cut into little squares.

Note: You could really use any dried fruit here -- cherries, apricots, figs, dates, blueberries, cranberries, raisins. The recipe is super adaptable. I will probably play with different dried fruits and spices depending on the season. Or my mood.

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