Spiked Squares

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by the Chile Pepper staff

Blueberry Basil Limoncello Bars

Lemon-Bars-and-CheesecakeYIELD about 1 dozen
ZEST FACTOR None
PREP TIME 1 hour
COOK TIME 45 minutes

For the crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
13 cup sugar
2 cups flour
pinch salt

For the lemon filling:
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 lemons, juiced and zested
½ cup Limoncello
1 cup flour
1 cup blueberries
12 small basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer and slowly sift in the flour and salt until combined. Press and flatten the dough into the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow the crust to cool in the pan.

3. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: Whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest, Limoncello and flour together in a mixing bowl. Mix well and pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Stud the filling with the blueberries, and then add the basil, about 1 piece per bar. Bake for 30–35 minutes; allow to cool before cutting into bars and serving.


Chipotle Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Bars

Not only are these gorgeous, but our raspberries are kicked up twice, once with chipotle raspberry sauce and again with raspberry liqueur.

YIELD about 1 dozen
ZEST FACTOR Mild
PREP TIME 4 hours
COOK TIME 45 minutes

For the crust:
18 graham crackers, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
½ cup plain yogurt

For the swirl:
1 (8-ounce) package raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons chipotle raspberry sauce
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur, like Chambord
White chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until combined, then add the eggs and yogurt. Mix well and spread the filling on top of the crust.

4. Make the swirl: In a saucepot, stir all the ingredients together (except for the white chocolate) over medium-high heat, until the raspberries are slightly broken down. Let the mixture cool.

5. Add the raspberry mixture on top of the filling by the spoonful and swirl the fruit through the filling with a toothpick. Bake for 35 minutes.

6. Top with white chocolate shavings if desired, then let the bars cool and set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before cutting into bars and serving.


Irish Cream Brownies with Spiced Ganache

Brownies-and-Peanut-ButterThese dark chocolate brownies are bumped up with a glossy glaze—and a kick of Irish cream liqueur!

YIELD about 1 dozen
ZEST FACTOR Medium
PREP TIME 30 minutes
COOK TIME 30 minutes

For the brownies:
1¼ sticks unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup dark cocoa powder
¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon espresso or instant-coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur, like Baileys
1 egg
Pinch salt
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cayenne powder, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-x-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Make the brownies: In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, cocoa powder, sugar, chipotle powder, molasses, coffee and vanilla together. Beat in the egg and pinch of salt. Sift the flour into the chocolate mixture, stirring until incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test. Set aside to cool before removing the brownies onto a cooling rack.

3. Meanwhile, make the ganache: In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a light simmer—do not boil!

4. Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Add the cayenne and whisk the ganache until smooth and glossy. Finish it off with the butter and whisk until combined.

5. Pour the ganache over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with cayenne for garnish. Cut into bars and serve.


Spicy and Nutty Fudge Crunch Bars

This is a no-bake recipe, so why not whip up a batch of these while you’re waiting on one of our other bars to finish off in the oven? There are so many great spicy nut butters popping up all over the place, so use your favorite.

YIELD about 1 dozen
ZEST FACTOR Mild
PREP TIME 3 hours
COOK TIME 5 minutes

For the topping:
1 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the peanut butter layer:
8 graham crackers, crushed
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup spicy peanut butter, or other nut butter of your choice

For the fudge layer:
1 (12-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
2 tablespoons scotch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1. Make the topping: In a small pan over medium heat, start toasting the almonds, about 3 minutes. As the almonds get hot, add the rest of the ingredients and stir the almonds around to coat them in the melting sugar. Spread the candied nuts in a single layer on a piece of parchment to cool.

2. Make the peanut butter layer: Line a 9-x-9-inch pan, including the sides, with foil or parchment paper.

3. Combine the graham crackers, sugar and spicy peanut butter and spread into the pan in a single layer. Set aside in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the fudge layer: Melt the dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. Once melted, whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the warm fudge over the chilled peanut butter layer and top with the candied almonds. Refrigerate until the fudge is set and firm, about 3 hours. Cut into bars and serve.


For more recipes from this feature in the August 2015 Issue, get our Chile Pepper Magazine App for instant access!

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