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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nutty Gumdrop Squares

 
Nutted Gumdrop Squares are a lovely colourful addition to your Christmas cookie tray.   Many people don't care for fruit cake or fruit cake squares but the humble little gumdrop is usually liked by everyone, young and old, and is a tasty ingredient in both cakes and cookies.

These Nutty Gumdrop Squares come from the Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares by Jean ParĂ©.  The boys gave me the cookbook years ago as a Christmas gift (thank you David and Peter) and I've enjoyed every recipe I've ever made from the book.  And it's no difference with these squares.  I've been making them for a long time with not much change to the recipe.  I found them a little salty (which is strange for me as I like salty) so I cut back on the amount of salt in the recipe. 

I like the nuts in this square as I think they work well with the sweet gumdrops but if you don't like walnuts, use pecans or coconut or leave out the nuts altogether, but rename them to Gumdrop Squares.

If you can't find baking gumdrops you can use the candy gumdrops found in many stores.  Just sort out the black candies and give them to someone who likes them.  Black gumdrops will leave a nasty greyish black cast to your batter which doesn't look either appetizing nor festive. 

Make these cake-like squares early in the season, if you wish, and freeze them in airtight containers. 

Nutty Gumdrop Squares
¾ cup evaporated milk
1 cup gumdrops (no black candies), finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line a 9x9-inch square pan.

In small bowl combine milk and gumdrops.  Let stand while preparing the batter.

Sift or mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and lay aside. 

In another bowl beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until well combined.  Add gumdrops and milk and combine well using a spoon.  (Don't worry if the mixture curdles.) Mix in the dry ingredients and nuts.  Stir well.  Spread mixture in the prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Frost while still slightly warm.

Makes 25-36 squares

For the icing, you can make it plain with the first four ingredients or you can kick it up with one of the optional flavourings, grated citrus peel or food colouring.  

Icing:
The three amigos--Orange, Almond and Lemon Extracts.
1½ cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
5 tablespoons evaporated milk
½ teaspoon vanilla 

Optional add-ins:
½ teaspoon orange, lemon or almond flavouring
Grated orange or lemon peel
Few drops food colouring, pink, orange, etc.

Beat together until smooth. Spread on warm squares.



I find it easier to chop the gumdrop with a pair of kitchen scissors than with a knife.  I cut each gumdrop in 4 or 5 pieces.


Soak the gumdrop in the evaporated milk while measuring the flour and creaming the butter and sugar.

While the gumdrop are soaking in the evaporated milk, measure the dry ingredients and chop the nuts.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the egg and mix well.  You don't need a stand mixer for these squares.  They mix up just as well with a hand mixer or with a spoon.

To the egg and butter mixture add the soaked gumdrops and evaporated milk.  The mixture will curdle.  Have no fear, it will go back together once the flour is added.

Add the flour mixture and nuts to the gumdrop mixture and mix well by hand.
 
 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

An offset spatula works very well when spreading batter.

When the Nutty Gumdrop Squares are baked and still slightly warm, ice them.  I used an orange flavoured icing adding a little grated orange peel and a dribble of orange extract to the icing recipe.

I made two varieties of Nutty Gumdrop Squares--coconutty and walnutty.  Both were equally good. The squares on the left with the pink frosting have the coconut and an almond flavoured icing.  The squares on the right are the original recipe with walnuts with an orange flavoured icing.

Nutty Gumdrop Squares are tasty, moist and cake-like with little jewels of candy in every bite.

Nutty Gumdrop Squares ready for your Christmas cookie tray.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent squares all my family love them, always bake them for the Holiday Season.

    ReplyDelete