Baking, Clothes Swap, and New Camera!

It’s getting close to law school finals time (OK, well finals time is here but I’m lucky enough that my exams and papers are nicely spaced out). I took the time this week, though, to try a couple of new baking recipes for a clothing swap party with some friends, and for an end-of-semester party for my favorite seminar. I’ve done many swap parties with friends from home, but this was my first in New York. My friend Jewish Girl was kind enough to host and provide tasty dessert wine (well – tasty once we managed to remove the far-too-durable wax seal on top) and these adorable cupcakes decorated to look like meatballs and spaghetti:

You should read here about her adventures making them!

I brought Bourbon Balls. I kind of cheated and got a 1960s Kentucky Cookbook out of the university library, and I just could not resist when I found these boozy little bonbons in there…Seriously. They’re really boozy. This recipe is a Southern classic and they apparently do NOT kid around down there when it comes to bourbon…

In addition to these, I whipped up some key lime bars from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Cookbook, so I’d have plenty of sweets for my seminar. I love Martha: it gets me every time that this cookbook’s table of contents is a) pictorial, b) organized by texture (i.e., one page for “Cakey,” another for “Crumbly,” etc.). This book was published only 2 years ago, but I think it’s a total classic. It’s also got a lot of great takes on classic recipes – like these bars:

Finally, before I get down to recipes…I have to give a shout-out to my dad, who is directly responsible (via my Chanukah present – a gorgeous new Olympus EP-2) for the vastly improved photo quality on this blog. Thanks, Dad! And Happy Chanukah!  And one last picture just for good measure…

Key Lime Bars (Makes about 16)

1 c. finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tbsp. finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
2/3 c. fresh Key lime juice, (about 23 Key limes total)
1 c. sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
For garnish:
1/4 c. heavy cream
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons
1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)
2. Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
3. Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
4. Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime. Ungarnished bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Read more at Key Lime Bars – Martha Stewart Recipes


Bourbon Balls (Makes about 24)

1 c. ground Nilla wafers or graham crackers
1 c. ground pecans
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 c. bourbon
1/2 c. powdered sugar, dusting

This one is super easy – you don’t even need to bake anything!

Mix all the ingredients together and form into balls 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in powdered sugar, place on a baking sheet covered in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Enjoy!