JANUARY 26, 2011


When you were a little person, did you ever have a “pen-pal”?  I did, for a very short time.  If I remember correctly, her name was Paula and she was the niece of my mom’s best friend, “Aunt Carol”.  She and I met at the age of 10, both loved Carol King, therefore instantly bonded. She lived in Northern California, which at the time, felt so far away.  We wrote briefly and then it stopped. Life of a 10 year old got in the way.


Blogging can sometimes feel like having a pen-pal.  You create your post and then sometimes you get comments and then you respond to these comments and thus conversations begin.  I have some friends whom I have never met.  They span the globe; India(passionate about baking), Australia(Almost Bourdain), France (Les Adventures Culinaires de Kiki), and South America-Patricia – Technicolor Kitchen.

It is, here, in South America where I found a wonderful “pen-pal”.  Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen, and I have struck up quite a friendship over the past year.  We both love to bake and similarly love the same books, the same magazines, and the same blogs.  We email each other and talk about the mundane, the latest recipe, our work, and our family.  Although we have never met, I feel as though Patricia and I have been friends for years.

Patricia and I always talk about how we wish we were neighbors and how if we were, we would find ourselves in the kitchen together. We are no longer going to let distance get in our way; we have decided that we are going to start baking together, regardless of the mileage between us.  After mapping out our plan via email, we have decided to start with Alice Medrich’s book CHEWY GOOEY CRISPY CRUNCHY.

I let Patricia pick our first recipe and she chose the Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares.  We both agreed that is was not a simple dough to assemble. I was so glad to hear that it was not me!  I really struggled with it yet the end results were quite delicious.  I choose to combine both dried apricots and dried cherries and added some toasted, chopped hazelnuts.  This is one of those cookies that is good anytime of the day (especially breakfast).

Patricia’s post(here) is a gorgeous display of the same cookie!

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares
adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
yield: 32 squares

1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp(8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tps. salt
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup(5.25 oz.) sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (1 lemon)
1 cup dried fruit(I used dried apricots + dried cherries)
2 Tbsp. chopped hazelnuts, toasted
turbinado sugar

• line cookie sheets with parchment
• combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk
• beat butter with sugar until smooth. add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix well. add flour and mix completely.
• divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap & refridgerate for 2 hours.
• preheat oven to 350*.
• remove dough from fridge and on a sheet of parchment, covered with flour, roll one piece of dough into a rectangle 8 1/2″ x 16 1/2″.
• scatter  half the fruit and nuts over the dough, leaving room around the edges
• fold the dough in half, at the short side (8 1/2″ side).  pinch it together.
• trim the edges and cut into 4 strips and then cut the strips 4 times (creating 16 squares).
• sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and place on the parchment lined baking sheet.
• bake 14-18 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned, rotating the pans from back to front mid way through baking.
• cool the cookies on wire racks. can be stored for 1 week.