Monday, June 13, 2011

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares and a Sweet Give away

Roll it, fill it, fold it, cut it

The time comes in every blogger's life when they reach that point. A milestone, a moment of victory, a moment of triumph. That moment is when they reach their 139th post! This is a moment that is often overlooked, and under here I am giving this post its well deserved credit. WAY TO BE POST NUMBER 139!!!

In honor of this accomplishment I bring to you my very first sponsored give away! Thank you Alice Medrich, for sponsoring this give away, and for sharing your wonderful recipes with us! I knew we were kindred spirits when I read your thoughts on using unbleached flour in your recipes, and when I saw your beautiful and creative ideas on cookie making.Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies not only has great recipes, it also has great tips on how to make the perfect cookie. Tips on softening butter, melting chocolate, mixing, rolling, baking, and storing. All little things, but all important in order to produce successful cookies. The book is uniquely divided into sections according to texture...Crispy, Crunchy, Chunky, Gooey, Flaky, and Melt-in-your-mouth. I can't wait to try every single recipe in the book! So far my favorites from each sections have been:

Crispy: Vanilla Bean Tuilles with fresh Thyme
Crunchy: Great Grahams
Chunky: Pannelets - sweet potato cookies
Gooey: Turtle Bars
Flaky: Pecan Tassies
Melt-in-your-mouth: Coffee Walnut Cookies

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies has recipes for all the basics like Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal, but also has a plethora of new and exciting recipes. Alice also has an index in the back that lists which recipes are Wheat-Free, dairy-free, whole grain, only 2 0r 3 points on the Weight Watchers plan, doughs that freeze well, and cookies that last up to 2 weeks. A very helpful resource for anyone making cookies!!! The allergen-friendly cookie recipes taste good and don't call for an extensive list of rare ingredients...which is a nice breath of fresh air!!! Compared to other cookie cookbooks on the market this one is a win-win for everybody. That is why I am so happy to be able to give one away to my wonderful readers!!! If you don't win it I highly recommend you go buy one today! You can buy it on Amazon by clicking on the book link to the left of this post, or go to

The first recipe I tried from this cookbook was the "Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares" recipe. I loved it! It was truly inspired, and different...very different. Thanks to Artisan Books for providing us with the beautiful picture and recipe from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies.

Photograph by Deborah Jones.

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares
From CHEWY GOOEY CRISPY CRUNCHY MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH COOKIES by Alice Medrich. Published by Artisan Books. Copyright © 2010.

These crunchy-crisp and chewy cookies with sparkling bumpy tops started out to be simple raisin cookies. Indeed, you can pair lemon zest, cinnamon, or anise with dark or golden raisins. But you can also make the cookies with prunes, apricots, cherries, dates, cranberries, or candied ginger. Verbatim from our testing notes: anise is best with the prunes but smells divine in the oven, no matter what fruit we use. Try a ginger/cranberry combo for the holidays (and note that the cookies are sturdy enough to ship). If dried fruit is especially hard or chewy, it will only get harder after baking. To avoid this, soak pieces in a small bowl with just enough cold water (or fruit juices or wine) to cover for 20 minutes (longer will dilute and oversoften the fruit). Drain and pat pieces very dry before using.

Makes thirty-two 21⁄2-inch square cookies


1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (8.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest or ground cinnamon or anise

1 cup moist dried fruit (one kind or a combination): dark or golden raisins; dried sour cherries; dried cranberries; coarsely chopped dates, dried apricots, or prunes; finely chopped candied ginger

1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) turbinado or other coarse sugar


Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or greased

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

With a large spoon in a medium mixing bowl or with a mixer, beat the butter with the granulated sugar until smooth and well blended but not fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and form each into a rectangle. Wrap the patties in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes to soften slightly. On a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, roll one piece of dough into a rectangle 8 1/2 inches by 16 1/2 inches. With a short side facing you, scatter half of the dried fruit on the bottom half of the dough. Fold the top half of the dough over the fruit, using the paper as a handle. Peel the paper from the top of the dough. (If it sticks, chill the dough for a few minutes until the paper peels easily.) Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Flip the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and peel off the remaining paper. Sprinkle with half of the coarse sugar and pat lightly to make sure the sugar adheres. Use a heavy knife to trim the edges. Cut into 4 strips and then cut each strip into 4 pieces to make 16 squares. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the lined or greased pans. Repeat with the remaining dough, fruit, and sugar.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. For lined pans, set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool; for unlined pans, use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for a week.

Here is how this give away is going to work.

You have to do 2 things

1. You either have to be or become my follower...yes I realize this is bribery...but do it anyway : ) You can do this via Facebook by going to the Networked blogs box to the right of this post and clicking on "Follow this blog"...if you do this every time I post it will show up in your Facebook news feed. Or you can scroll farther down the page and when you see all the little faces of people following me just click the "follow" button. Easy Peasy. If you are a follower and you want an email every time I post shoot me an email at, and I will add you to my list.

2. The second thing you have to do is comment on this post by answering the following question:

What is your favorite texture for a cookie and why? Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth, flaky, or chunky?

In one Week I will use to find a winner and post it on the blog. Be sure to check back and see if you win so I can get your address and have the book sent to you. This contest is only open to people living in the US...for shipping cost reasons, you can only enter once...but if your son who is 2 wants to enter as well that is cool with me : ), pass this on to your peeps...the more followers I get the more sponsored contests I can have!

P.S. Let me know if you do try the Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares recipe!
P.P.S. In the cookbook Alice also gives a wheat free version of the recipe, and a few variations...check them out in her cookbook!
P.P.S. I just took the double oat wheat free cookies out of the oven, they are amazing! Best Oatmeal Cookies ever! Thank you Alice Medrich!


  1. i like crunchy best. when made with real butter, a crunchy cookie is just sublime. And all the mix-ins are surprises in texture, making the contrast with crunchy soooooo delightful.

  2. I can't decide which texture I like the best. If its a warm chocolaty cookie then probably gooey would be favorite. I just love melty chocolate and buttery goodness. But if its not warm or not chocolaty than crunchy would be favorite. I love a god crunchy cookie!

  3. Is "bready" an acceptable answer? I also really enjoy "oatmealy". But if I had to chose one of the given answers.... I would pick gooey!

  4. Has to be chewy and gooey! Love it when the cookies are just a bit warm and there has to be milk nearby, just a gallon or two! Want to try the Fruit squares very soon, Congrats Dagny!

  5. Warm and goey is my preference! I love how a goey cookie just melts into your yummy! Contgratulations Dagny. You are an inspiration to me on trying new recipes!
    ~Anne Guzman

  6. my favorite is gooey (think melted chocolate) and crispy...but definitely RICH. Rich with whatever flavor it should be. It doesnt necessarily have to be warm, but bonus points if it is. :D Send me my book, Dagny!!

  7. Dagny, this is AWESOME!!! My favorite texture would be gooey and chewy.....SO GOOD!and they both usually imply either chocolate or caramel or both. =) Hope I win! =D

  8. I've gotto say...Chewey with melty in the middle. The best cookies are always warmed.

  9. Chewy, Gooey, & melt-in-your-mouth!

  10. My favorite texture is all of the above. Which is why I need this cookbook.

  11. CRISPY, most definitely. Especially if it's an oatmeal cookie!

  12. This is a constant battle in my house as I love soft, warm, gooey, and my husband likes crunchy. I tend to go back and forth on what I make so as to please both of us. =)

  13. I love gooey and chewy cookies - especially if chocolate is involved!

  14. Hard to say - it depends on the type of cookie I guess. These sound wonderful. Love that last photo!

  15. This looks amazing i must try them :)

  16. Gooey/chewy--my mom's cookies were always that way and they were the best.

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  18. I'm with my husband--gooey and chewy. Or moist and chewy. Chewy is definitely the best! And, I don't think that chocolate is always a necessity--only sometimes. :)

  19. You said 2-year-old sons could comment, too? How about 2-month-old sons? I asked Ignatius, and he most clearly said the best cookies were ones made by Dagny. :)

  20. Chewy is my favorite but can I just say that I love how the book is divided by texture. That gets to the heart of any cookie craving right away :)

  21. Chewy and gooey! I love a brownie that is just chewy on one side and gooey towards the middle, or an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie that is piled high so that the edges go chewy and the middle stays gooey.

  22. Chewy. But, I think melt-in-your-mouth has to go along with the chewy in order for it to be truly chewy. Not the 'chewy' as in 'under-baked chewy' but the chewy that is perfectly baked, fluffy, and overall satisfying.

  23. I love cookies in just about any shape or form. If I absolutely had to choose though, I'd go with crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside with just a hint of gooey chocolate somewhere in the cookie.

  24. These bars look wonderful! My favorite texture for a cookie? Is a warm gooey, melty chocolate chip cookie. But I guess that probably doesn't really answer the question. So when not fresh out of the oven I will with chewy - there is just something about that, and the texture of the chocolate that is just so good!

  25. I am a follower of your blog!

  26. Ok mine favorite is whatever those heaven bars are... chewy? almost gooey? totally delicious??