Do you know what Tweed Squares are? I didn’t, until I met the ECBF. Truthfully, I may still not really know – as the only experience I’ve had with them are the ones I’ve made myself, and I can’t say for sure if they’ve turned out the way they’re supposed to (and maybe the ECBF is too polite to tell me they haven’t).
Tweed Squares, as far as I can tell, are an East Coast take on the Nanaimo Bar. Instead of the brownie base of a Nanaimo Bar, they have a cake-like bottom, which is white but flecked with chocolate shavings, and then there’s a custard middle (which all the recipes call a “frosting”, with a chocolate layer on top. The ECBF’s mom made them for him back home and apparently they are the best thing in the world.
The ECBF had a hankering for them and asked his mom to email the recipe to me, which she did. This is where the problems started. Her recipe started with a list of ingredients, all of which I had in the house – nothing unusual here, but then as I read through the instructions, they didn’t use up all the ingredients listed above…nor did she indicate a bake time… I wasn’t sure what to do with the extra stuff and I didn’t have the slightest idea how long to bake these things for. Of course I asked the ECBF and he was no help. I didn’t think his mom was committing recipe sabatoge, I just think she makes it from memory, like so many moms do, and so reducing the recipe to paper lost a little bit of its…accuracy? So I went to Google for advice. There aren’t a lot of Tweed Square recipes on the internets. One I did find that seemed to include all the same ingredients was the one Natalie MacMaster’s mom makes for her (see what I mean about East Coast?). I combined the two recipes to make a “super recipe” and got to work. That was the first time I made Tweed Squares. There are no pictures. I don’t need to explain why. The ECBF politely exclaimed that they were “just like mom’s” but he’s a liar because there’s just no way that’s what the recipe was supposed to look like.
I’ve tried making Tweed Squares twice. This weekend was my second attempt. I was determined to have them turn out just right. Epic Fail Number Two.
The worst part about this recipe, is just that – the recipe. The Natalie MacMaster version, describes them as “fussy”. Oh they are that. My custard the second time was runny so I modified it slightly – but it didn’t help. The ECBF’s mom’s recipe states that the chocolate on top was often an Easter bunny left over from Easter, that she grated up and melted for the topping. If only I’d had an easter bunny. What I did have? $12 worth of couverture left over from my Christmas chocolates project (a post for another time) and I still couldn’t get it to lay nicely on top of the runny custard. Gah. The ECBF looked at my high quality topping and declared that that wasn’t what his mom’s looked like. Easter bunny, hmph.
It isn’t clear in the light of day whether or not I’ll be making another Tweed Square attempt any time soon. Stay tuned.
By the way, almost five years ago now I saw and purchased a 10″ square spring form pan. I thought, “what a great idea!” but then sadly, never came across a recipe that called for that size pan. Well guess what? Tweed squares work in this size pan, provided you modify the baking time accordingly (if, you know, the recipe included a baking time to begin with…). The great thing about the spring form part of the square pan is that you can lift the edges right off, rather than trying to chisel whatever it is you baked out of the glass or teflon baking pan. Alternatively, you could line your pan with tin foil so you can just lift the baked product out, peel off the tin foil and slice it on a flat surface.