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Bars Chocolate Cheer Cookies

I Make A Pretty Mean Cookie Bar. Oh, Also, I AM THE WORST.

So originally this was going to be the post where I tell you about my fabulous weekend, which, in my world, started on Thursday with a killer TV On The Radio show in Brooklyn. The show really was fantastic, so much so that my throat was sore from yelling and my feet were pretty much numb from all of the crazy dancing I did. On Friday I finally started to get my running game back up after some major/minor/then kind of major again asthmatic issues, then celebrated by baking the delicious treats I’ll eventually get around to telling you all about. I handed out these treats to Sylvapotamus and several friends who were all thrilled with the free sweets. Here I am frolicking through the land doling out presents like Indian Santa, being the good little baker I am. Sounds great right?

Sunday, my friend Andrew was kind enough to invite me over to watch the latest Project Runway episode and the Giants game. I thanked him by bringing over beer and some baked goods. Then I thanked him again by smacking him in the face with a pillow and breaking his glasses–his only pair of glasses– in half. So just be forewarned: if you invite me over, I will bring you delicious sweets. Then I will destroy something you need, love, or need AND love. Oh, and the Giants lost, in case you’re not into football. These things may or may not be related.

I am joking about this, but I feel like a total tool. I mean, sure, he’s got contacts, but who breaks someone’s only pair of glasses? I am a bag of lame. I can only hope that the Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars I left him will tide him over until the next visit to the optician.

I know, I am killing it with the segues. I’m just going to get right into talking about the bars so that I can distract myself from thinking about what a monster klutz I am. They’re delicious. They won’t give you 20/20 vision, but they’ll make you smile. There I go again. 😦

Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars

3/4 cup of butter, softened

1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1 2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Beat softened butter, flour, sugar and salt until you’ve got a crumbly/fluffy mixture that looks like this:

Press about 2 cups of the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside the rest. Throw the pan into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are browned. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a small bowl with the condensed milk in either or in a small mixing bowl. If you use the saucepan, stir frequently over low heat until the mixture’s fully melted. If you go with the bowl option, microwave the mixture in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and combined with the milk. Stir in the vanilla extract. Remove the pan from the oven and evenly spread the melted chocolate mixture evenly over the crust (make sure you’re using oven mitts while you do this…I’ve got ten burned fingertips that can tell you why).

Meanwhile, stir the nuts, remaining 2/3 cup of chocolate chips, coconut, and other random goodies you might decide to add in (M&Ms perhaps?). Spread this over the chocolate mixture, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top looks slightly browned and the center is set.

Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. You can then pop this into the refrigerator to cool completely before cutting into individual bars. You’ll end up with about 30.

Friends and family seemed to really enjoy them. They’re pretty difficult to screw up. I’d post pictures of some of my friends getting into them, but apparently I was too busy beating the crap out of all of them to snap photos. Maybe next time.


Categories
Bars Classic Favorites Easy Baking

When Life Gives You Hurricanes, Make Lemon Bars

My life has not been simple lately. My dessert needs to be.

Ok so that was hella dramatic, I know. But, homeslices, let me tell you a story. Last week I was in the Bahamas, where a devil-woman-witchface hurricane named Irene decided to piss all over my vacation. Then, she chased me back to my hood and pissed all over my weekend. She might as well have been called Hurricane Stamos. My weekend was supposed to be awesome. Instead, it was spent trying to block out the scent of too-vanilla-scented vanilla-scented candles because I was the last loser to get to Target to purchase a “hurricane stash” and landed all the gross stuff. I ended up with a bad case of cabin fever and a temporary fascination with the movie National Treasure. Have you seen that thing? It’s really bad. I’m very fortunate to have a working phone and computer, which afforded me contact with the outside world, because I’m pretty sure I would have done something stupid like give myself a haircut if I had no one to keep me talking.

Super Sad Shibow

Luckily, everyone I know is safe and sound and pretty much just as delirious as I am. As soon as I was able to, I ran to the grocery store to buy more essentials that had been depleted during Hurricane Nothing (I’d gone into a cabin fever cookie-making frenzy so I needed to re-stock important items like butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, more butter and more chocolate…you know).

Since I was in a sour mood, I thought I’d make something lemon-y. Ha ha, I’m hilario. Lemon bars are also easy and full of butter and sugar, which I obviously needed after an ALL-INCLUSIVE TRIP where I was pretty much forced to eat and drink as much as humanely possible in order to pass the time. See? My life’s difficult.

Lemon Bars

Crust

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Lemon Filling

2 eggs

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

3 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of lemon zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the butter, flour and sugar for the crust. You can use a fork or your hands if you’re into feeling things, man. Work into a crumbly mixture, then press this evenly into an 8×8 square pan. Toss into the oven for 20 minutes. You’ll probably be annoyed at this point because when you take it out the crust will [should] still be white and look totally underbaked. You’ll think Irene took your oven when she took your pride and sanity from you. But fear not, it’s supposed to look like that.

Crust, complete with dozens of my frustrated thumbprints

While the crust bakes, prep the filling. Toss your two eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon juice into a blender and puree until smooth. Super easy, right? When the crust comes out, pour this over it, maybe give the pan a gentle shake to evenly distribute, and send back into the oven for another 20 minutes. When they’re done, you can sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top if you’re feeling fancy. Let them cool, then cut into squares (I came out with 16).

These hit the spot for me. The crust-to-filling ratio might not please everyone, since there’s only slightly more filling, but I think ya’ll need to calm down and trust the crust. That was pretty terrible. Anyway, they’re good. Kid sister agrees.

On her 4th or 5th bar.

By the way, the next time there’s a massive and apocalyptic hurricane, I am having a party. All are welcome. Admission fee is a cookie.