Magnolia’s Cherry Squares

Magnolia's Cherry Squares

Hello, hello! Today I’m bringing you a recipe from my favorite bakery in NYC, or anywhere for that matter, Magnolia Bakery. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a very well known bakery here in NYC known mainly for their cupcakes. These cupcakes are so good that at 9 1/2 months pregnant I walked about 10 blocks to get some at 10.30pm (those of you who have been that pregnant know what kind of commitment that is.) I sat in my house and ate two (do not judge me) and at a little after midnight my water broke. So in my personal life, they are somewhat magical. I don’t eat them often, because since the aforementioned pregnancy/water breaking/baby birthing extravaganza I’ve been trying to slim down quite considerably and unfortunately they’re not exactly low cal. These delicious Cherry Squares come from the More From Magnolia: Recipes From the World Famous Bakery cookbook and are a way I can indulge in some Magnolia goodness from my very own kitchen and without many of the calories. I tweaked the recipe a touch, which you’ll see in the pictures, just cutting it down to make only 9 bars instead of the 24 that the full recipe yields, other than that I made no other changes and the recipe with all the original ingredient amounts is what is posted here. They’re made entirely from pantry staples, simple enough to whip together for a week night dessert, tasty enough to pull out if you have company and if you can believe it each 2 inch square is only 138 calories!

MAGNOLIA’S CHERRY SQUARES

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup canned cherry pie filling (it would be delicious with strawberry or blueberry filling also!)
  • Confectioners sugar, for sprinkling before serving
  • Butter flavored baking cooking spray

Magnolia's Cherry Squares

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 13×9 inch baking pan with baking cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
    Magnolia's Cherry Squares
  4. Spread the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. With a sharp knife or a toothpick score 24 2-inch squares. Place one teaspoon of the cherry pie filling in the center of each scored square.
    Magnolia's Cherry Squares
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
    Magnolia's Cherry Squares
  6. Cool completely. Sprinkle generously with confectioners sugar just before serving.

Enjoy and if you are interested in checking out more recipes from Magnolia Bakery, pick up the cookbook here, I highly recommend it!

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Dried Carrot Bits

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Hello, hello!  This week is Valentine’s Day week, with all it’s chocolate and sugar-y treats and rich food, so I thought I’d share a recipe for a simple and super healthy snack to help balance it all out. So just eat these yummy little nuggets before and after all the fattening deliciousness you’ll have on Thursday, that’s balance…right?!

DRIED CARROT BITS

Ingredients:

  • 6 carrots, peeled
  • Kosher salt
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Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Using a mandolin, thinly slice carrots into rounds.
  3. Place carrots on parchment lined baking sheet.
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  4. Sprinkle with salt and bake 45 minutes until carrots are dried and crispy.
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  5. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!Image

Strawberry Citrus Preserves

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What on earth do you do when you find delicious looking strawberries on a crazy good sale and citrus is in season and delicious? You buy an insane amount of both and make some super cinchy Strawberry Citrus Preserves. Duh. Here’s my recipe, it’s a breeze and you don’t have to fuss with any pectin or any such thing. For the win!

STRAWBERRY CITRUS PRESERVES
*makes 10 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 8 cups granulated sugar
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Directions:

1. In a very large mixing bowl add diced strawberries, lemon juice, orange juice and sugar.
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2. Transfer strawberry mixture to large heavy bottomed pot. Set to low heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved and strawberries are very soft. With a potato masher, mash strawberries until the texture is largely smooth with some strawberry chunks in tact.  When sugar is dissolved and mixture is mashed, increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring often until mixture reaches 220 degrees. As it boils the mixture will become thicker and thicker.
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3. Immediately transfer preserves to sterile jars, leaving about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of space at the top. Process in water bath if you are canning to store, if you are going to eat preserves right away, skip the processing and move jars right to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 12 hours before opening.
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Serve on toast, mixed into oatmeal or even over ice cream. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Granola

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This granola is as quick and easy as it gets: 5 ingredients and the whole shebang takes under 15 minutes from gathering the ingredients to pulling the granola out of the oven. This recipe makes 4 servings and is delicious to munch on for a snack or to top some Greek yogurt for breakfast (I topped my strawberry yogurt with it this morning for some PB&J action and it was awesome.) Each serving comes in at 150 calories so if you’re trying to maintain your girlish figure this one won’t kill you (like most of the other things I like.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup quick cook oats

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.  Add peanut butter and honey to a medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds until peanut butter and honey are melted. Mix well until completely combined and smooth.

3.  Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.

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4.  Add oats and mix until completely combined and all oats are coated with peanut butter mixture.
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5.  Spread granola mixture onto a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Press into a thin layer.
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6.  Bake for 7-8 minutes until granola is golden brown.Image

7.  Place cookie sheet on cooking rack and cool granola until it is hard and crispy then break up into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.
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