Ella’s Lemon Glazed Tea Cakes, Tallahassee, Florida by Molly O’Neill
Makes 24 bars
Sixteen-year-old Ella Carlyle describes herself as “an aspiring chef.” “My grandmother, who is from Arkansas, makes these at Christmastime,” she says. “They are so much better than brownies, so much more Florida, because of the orange and lemon flavors. My grandmother makes them in a pan like brownies and cuts them into bars, but the crust is crumbly so I have been experimenting with making them in nonstick, round, petite four tins with removable bottoms. The baking time is slightly less, you just have to watch them closely and you need to cool them halfway in the tin, then remove them and cool them completely on a wire rack before glazing them. It takes more time, but they look cuter and the crust and filling get a little more caramelized.”
10 tablespoons (1 1⁄4 sticks) lightly salted butter,
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, well beaten
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 cups packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3⁄4 cup chopped pecans
1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Place an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8½ x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet or two 12-cup nonstick minimuffin or petite four tins with removable bottoms.
2. In a bowl, combine 8 tablespoons of the butter with 1 cup of the flour until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes if using the baking pan, 10 to 12 if using the small cake tins. Remove from oven. Lower the temperature to 300°F.
3. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, the eggs, salt, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, and pecans. Spread filling over the crust. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes for the baking pan, 15 to 17 for the tins. Remove from the oven and cool in the baking pan or in the molds.
4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and the orange and lemon juices. If using the baking pan, spread the glaze over the cookies, allow to set and then cut into squares. If using the molds, remove each when cool enough to handle and cool them completely on wire racks before glazing.
From One Big Table by Molly O’Neill (Simon & Schuster) Copyright Molly O’Neill 2010, available to purchase at Amazon.