Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares shared with a Friend

January 26, 2011

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When you were a little person, did you ever have a “pen-pal”?  I did, for a very short time.  If I remember correctly, her name was Paula and she was the niece of my mom’s best friend, “Aunt Carol”.  She and I met at the age of 10, both loved Carol King, therefore instantly bonded. She lived in Northern California, which at the time, felt so far away.  We wrote briefly and then it stopped. Life of a 10 year old got in the way.

Blogging can sometimes feel like having a pen-pal.  You create your post and then sometimes you get comments and then you respond to these comments and thus conversations begin.  I have some friends whom I have never met.  They span the globe; India(passionate about baking), Australia(Almost Bourdain), France (Les Adventures Culinaires de Kiki), and South America-Patricia – Technicolor Kitchen.

It is, here, in South America where I found a wonderful “pen-pal”.  Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen, and I have struck up quite a friendship over the past year.  We both love to bake and similarly love the same books, the same magazines, and the same blogs.  We email each other and talk about the mundane, the latest recipe, our work, and our family.  Although we have never met, I feel as though Patricia and I have been friends for years.

Patricia and I always talk about how we wish we were neighbors and how if we were, we would find ourselves in the kitchen together. We are no longer going to let distance get in our way; we have decided that we are going to start baking together, regardless of the mileage between us.  After mapping out our plan via email, we have decided to start with Alice Medrich’s book CHEWY GOOEY CRISPY CRUNCHY.

I let Patricia pick our first recipe and she chose the Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares.  We both agreed that is was not a simple dough to assemble. I was so glad to hear that it was not me!  I really struggled with it yet the end results were quite delicious.  I choose to combine both dried apricots and dried cherries and added some toasted, chopped hazelnuts.  This is one of those cookies that is good anytime of the day (especially breakfast).

Patricia’s post(here) is a gorgeous display of the same cookie!

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares
adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
yield: 32 squares

1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp(8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tps. salt
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup(5.25 oz.) sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (1 lemon)
1 cup dried fruit(I used dried apricots + dried cherries)
2 Tbsp. chopped hazelnuts, toasted
turbinado sugar

• line cookie sheets with parchment
• combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk
• beat butter with sugar until smooth. add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix well. add flour and mix completely.
• divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap & refridgerate for 2 hours.
• preheat oven to 350*.
• remove dough from fridge and on a sheet of parchment, covered with flour, roll one piece of dough into a rectangle 8 1/2″ x 16 1/2″.
• scatter  half the fruit and nuts over the dough, leaving room around the edges
• fold the dough in half, at the short side (8 1/2″ side).  pinch it together.
• trim the edges and cut into 4 strips and then cut the strips 4 times (creating 16 squares).
• sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and place on the parchment lined baking sheet.
• bake 14-18 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned, rotating the pans from back to front mid way through baking.
• cool the cookies on wire racks. can be stored for 1 week.

More recipes with dried fruit:

Nutty Apricot Turnovers -Fix Me A Snack
Chockablock Cookies – Food Librarian
Double Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cookies – 17 and Baking
Oatmeal Toffee Raisin Cookies – Week of Menus
Cherry + White Chocolate Oatmeal Chunk Cookies – All Day I Dream About Food

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patricia Scarpin January 26, 2011 at 10:18 am

They look fabulous, Suz! And I love the filling you came up with – just gorgeous! I used only cranberries in mine – can’t wait to get home so I can publish the post.

Love, love, love the text – and feel extremely lucky to have you “around”.


2 Susan January 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

Patricia, I couldn’t have done it without you! I adore you and I feel blessed and grateful that we have met(through this silly little blog)!


3 Lucy Lean January 26, 2011 at 10:22 am

This post explores such a great concept – cooking together but miles apart – I love it and thanks for the introduction to your far-away friends – I will be knocking on their kitchen doors in the hope of learning something new. xx


4 Susan January 26, 2011 at 10:33 am

I agree! I love this idea. It just confirms that community does come in all shapes and sizes! Let’s you and I cook together soon!


5 Amanda January 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

What a fun relationship!! And AWESOME fruit squares! Thanks for the recipe!


6 Susan January 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

Amanda, now if only you could give me a fondant lesson via our virtual relationship! What do you think?


7 Nancy@acommunaltable January 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

I love this idea!!! It is so much more fun to be able to talk to someone about making a recipe and sharing your successes and failures – can’t wait to see everything that the two of you bake!!

These look definitely like my kind of cookie too…


8 Susan January 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Nancy – these were a tough cookie to make, but in the end were pretty good. It was really fun baking with a friend across the globe!


9 dragon fruit January 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

wow these look absolutely fantastic. this is going straight into my recipe-asap folder. thanks! 🙂


10 Susan January 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

the look and taste better than the process. i think you would be just as happy with a biscotti with the same flavor combos!! thanks for coming by and be on the look out for more of mine and patricia’s baking across the globe!


11 susie r January 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I love that you guys are doing this and such nice sentiments you wrote! can’t wait to hear more!


12 Susan January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

thanks so much, Susie! We are really excited about our new found project, exploring cookbooks and favorite blogs! Let us know if you try anything and what your experience is!


13 Chris January 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Fun! These look delish.

A few years back, several of us (the Bakenistas) chose a day to bake a recipe and skyped during it. Total fun! Blogging beings about fabulous friendships. 🙂


14 Susan January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Chris – blogging can be about fabulous friendships. Who knows – maybe down the road this little project will grow!


15 Brooke@foodwoolf January 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Great story and delicious recipe! I had a pen-pal when I was a kid–my great grandmother! It was an important and formative relationship formed on the page. Thank you for reminding me of it and how blogging is so similar. Thanks for the great recipe and memory!


16 Susan January 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

What a lucky girl you were to have a great-grandmother! Blogging, I have come to realize, is about community, support, and loyalty. Similar to an authentic and honest friendship. xx


17 jocelyn silverman January 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

susan, i love the story behind the cookies, just for that i think that i will make some. maybe i can go on the “journey” with you.

thanks for posting and blogging.


18 Susan January 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm

You are invited and welcome to come on to this journey with me! xx


19 Allison [Haute Box] January 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I love everything about this post!

Those fruit squares kind of remind me of a fig newton. Yum!


20 Susan January 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm

allison – you are so right. this dough (although a super mother to work with) would be great with a fig filling. Oh my, I may have to make these again! You are a genius!


21 Kim January 27, 2011 at 4:33 am

It is so great to blog and to have comments from all over the world. I love your blog, and I like what you do, that’s why I’m leaving comments. These squares looks gooooddddd! By the way, I’m not from France, but from Quebec (where we too speaks french:) Have a good day!


22 Maria January 27, 2011 at 5:18 am

I will be trying these!


23 marla {family fresh cooking} January 27, 2011 at 9:03 am

Susan, LOVE the idea of having an adult pen pal! Wish I had these goodies for skiing right now 🙂


24 Megan @ FeastingonArt January 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Such a beautiful photograph! Just lovely.


25 Maria Beatrix January 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi, Susan
You know what? I’n from South America too. From Brasil, too. I follow Patricia with my reader for a some time but I don’t know why I think I have never left a comment in her blog. I read the post she wrote about this recipe and your project. I thought I’d like to taste those squares too.
Then you visited my blog and left a comment. And I came to your blog to find out who you were!
Isn’t it funny? Small world!
Anyway, your Fruit squares are stunning and I’m definetly going to try it. You both did a great job.


26 Kristen February 2, 2011 at 7:03 am

Oh I love Patricia… we started blogging around the same time, many moons ago. She is such a talented writer, baker and photographer!


27 Susan February 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

she is one of the good ones! she and I have shared so much and know so much about each other that I am trying to figure out a way to get
myself to south america so we can meet personally! wanna come?


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