Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars

Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Tartlets

Adapted from Little Spice Jar

Yields: 30 tartlets

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

2 medium sweet onions onions, thinly sliced

5-6 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

4 ounces grated gruyere cheese

1 package (1 pound) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoons parsley, minced

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter along with the 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the dried thyme and sugar and continue to cook for 25 minutes on medium low heat. Make sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so. If the onions are caramelizing too fast, turn down the heat a little more. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Cook until balsamic has absorbed into the onion mixture.

Turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add the gruyere cheese and mix well.

Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place them on a lined baking sheet. Make sure the puff pastry is cold before proceeding. If not, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before proceeding. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg on the squares. Place a tablespoon of caramelized onion mixture in the center. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway in between until crisp and golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Adapted from Dawn Perry

Serves: 8

2 28-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes

12 garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 ½ large onions, chopped

4 tablespoons tomato paste

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°. Crush tomatoes with your hands into a 13x9" baking dish; scatter garlic over and drizzle with 1/4 cup oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until garlic is very soft and tomatoes are jammy, 35–40 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, mash to break up garlic and tomatoes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook, checking and stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft, 25–30 minutes (this long, slow cooking draws out maximum flavor). Increase heat to medium-high, add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes. Add roasted tomato mixture and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, purée tomato mixture in a blender until very smooth (make sure lid is slightly ajar to let steam escape; cover with a towel). Transfer to a large bowl or pitcher.

Pour soup back into pot. Taste and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars

Brown Eyed Baker

Serves: 24 Bars

For the Crust:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

Filling:

3 large eggs

¾ cup light corn syrup

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1¾ cups coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chunks in a bag!)

1½ cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

For the crust, mix together the flour, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Press into the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

For the filling, beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla extract with a wire whisk. Stir in the chunks and pecans. Pour evenly over the baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cool completely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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