Thursday, January 2, 2014

Party Squares

These are very popular in my husband's family. Family legend has it that Aunt Martha was always asked to make these bars for every family function. Mysteriously, nobody else in the family can get them to turn out quite as good as hers. My husband, in a Boston accent he often exaggerates for effect, calls these "Aunt Mahtha's Pahty Bahs."

Anyway, what are they? The bottom "crust" layer is a butter cookie, softer than shortbread but with a similar flavor. The middle layer is melted chocolate chips (how easy is that?) and the top is a sweet layer of crisp meringue.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Jelly Roll pan 
*Note* I have made these in a 9x13 pan but they turn out a little too thick. The bottom crust is too soft and the meringue does not get crispy like it should. If all you have is a 9x13 pan instead of a jelly roll, make this recipe but use only about 2/3 of it in your pan. If you have a bread pan or something small like that, you could make a separate mini batch in that pan to use up the leftovers.

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
2 1/2 Cups Flour

12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
dash of salt
3/4 cup sugar

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and whip until fluffy. Add flour gradually, slowly mixing until well combined. Press the dough into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, until it is set and beginning to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and WHILE STILL HOT, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. When they have melted, take a spatula and spread the chocolate around to even it out and cover the crust.

Beat the egg whites together with the salt and the cream of tarter until stiff. Add the sugar slowly and beat again until very stiff (the meringue should lose its gloss and stand in very stiff peaks when you lift the beater up.) Spread over the chocolate to the edge. It will be a thin layer. Return to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the meringue is crisp and starting to brown on top.

Cool in the pan, then cut into squares.


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