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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Tweed Squares


Tweed Squares are a cross between a cookie and a cake.  Moist and dense, a chocolate speckled cake is spread with vanilla frosting and topped with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate.  Tastes almost like chocolate chip cookies. How good is that?

Tweed Squares weren't something I grew up with as Mom and Dad's tastes ran more to puddings, pies and drop cookies or cake for special occassions.  I first ran across Tweed Squares when I started teaching here in my now hometown.  They showed up at potlucks, parties and just about anywhere there was a cookie tray.  Since that time I've come to know that Tweed Squares were quite popular all around Newfoundland.  You don't see them as often now because so many people buy their cookies and squares instead of baking them at home. 

The squares aren't too complicated.  You do have to whip egg whites and fold them in the batter but that's not hard to do.  And when you grate the chocolate, have it at room temperature (unless your room is very hot) because it will grate much easier.   The recipe I'm using is based on Jean ParĂ©'s from Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares but I've changed it some so now it's mine. 


Tweed Squares
½ cup butter, softened
⅔ cup white sugar
2 egg yolks 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⅓  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk  
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, finely grated

Vanilla Icing
1½  cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ tablespoons water or milk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Topping
2 ounces/60 grams semisweet chocolate baking squares chopped or ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line with parchment paper a 9x9-inch baking pan. Let the parchment paper hang over the sides for easy removal of squares. Do not use a smaller pan. 

Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. 
   
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. (3 flour and 2 milk)
   
Beat egg whites in separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter until no white streaks remain.  Fold in grated chocolate.  Spread evenly in prepared pan. 

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden. Let stand in pan on wire rack until cooled completely.
   
Vanilla Icing: Beat the butter, icing sugar, water and vanilla together until smooth, adding more water or icing sugar if needed until spreading consistency. The icing should not be runny but fairly thick.  Spread evenly over the cake layer. Let stand a few minutes until a crust forms.  You may also place in the refrigerator to help set the icing.
   
Chocolate Topping: Heat chocolate and butter in small saucepan on lowest heat, or over water, stirring often, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly so it won't melt the icing layer. Carefully spread evenly over icing. This will give you a thin layer.  Chill until top layer is set.

To cut squares, use a long sharp knife.  Dip the knife in hot water and wipe dry and make a cut across the squares.  Wipe crumbs off knife and repeat dipping it in hot water.  Do this for every cut and your squares will look like they were professionally cut at a bakery.

Makes 25-36 squares.


Each square of baking chocolate is 1 ounce or 30 grams.  I used a box grater to to grate the chocolate.


I whip the egg whites before I make the batter.  Then I transfer it to a small bowl until I'm ready to use them.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla.


Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the creamed butter and sugar.  The batter will be quite thick.


Fold in the stifly beaten egg whites.


 Finish the batter by folding in the grated semi-sweet chocolate.  


Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  You can see the specks of chocolate look like a tweedy pattern.

Bake 35 minutes or until golden and baked through the middle.

Beat the ingredients for the icing until fluffy and light.  


Spread the icing over the cake layer.  As you can see I've removed the cake layer from the pan using the parchment paper as handles.


Melt the chocolate and butter together.  Mix until smooth.  


Spread the cooled chocolate evenly over the icing.  Let set until the chocolate has hardened.


The squares can be cut into 25 or 36 cookies.  Use a long sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut neat even squares.


Moist and dense, full of chocolatey goodness--Tweed Squares

2 comments:

  1. These have always been my favourite cookie but we didn't often have them. My Mother has the recipe written I an old scribbler full of acquired recipes. It calls for the egg whites in the batter but doesn't say to whip them. Now I have often wondered wondered if that wasn't an evil ploy by the donor to prevent them from being replicated or if she just knew they had to be whipped and didn't bother writing it down. For years I just folded the white in and it worked but the texture is so much nicer with the whipped ones. I believe the yolk was used in the frosting in her recipe but raw eggs have certainly fallen out of favour. Thanks for sharing, I think I need to need to try these again soon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Judy. I hope you enjoy these as much as you always did. And you're right--the yolks are often used in the frosting but I hesistate to use raw yolks when serving them to grandchildren and the elderly. That's why I tried the recipe using the yolks as well as the whipped egg whites in the batter and they turned out really good.

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