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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Presumption Bars

Get ready for the world to beat a path to your door.  This is, of all the recipes on this blog, the one that gets asked for the most.  Unequivocally.

Presumption Bars?  You won't find that name anywhere else, because my husband came up with it.  They were originally called "Passion Bars" by my dear friend Melanie A, but Allen kept changing the name every time he asked me to make them.

"Will you make those persnickety bars?"

"I think we should have precocious bars tonight."

"How about presumption bars for dessert?"  

And it stuck.  But these bars don't presume to be decadent and addicting---they actually are.  This recipe has what my husband refers to as "the five Mormon ingredients": butter, peanut butter, quick oats, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate chips.  How can you go wrong if these five make up most of the dessert?  My friend Melanie made these for us when we visited her family near Memphis in 2007.  I did not leave without the recipe, and no one I make them for wants to leave without it, either.

Cut butter into oats, flour, sugar, salt, and soda until crumbly.
We've been over this, people: if a recipe calls for cutting butter
into crumblies, then it is a WINNER.
Press crumblies (reserving 1 1/2 cups) into bottom of 9x13 pan
You do not need to grease the pan.
Spread the peanut butter/sweetened condensed milk mixture over
crumbly crust, then scatter chocolate chips over top with reckless
abandon . . . er, as reckless as you can be and still have all the
chocolate chips in the pan.

I have learned to just "pour" the peanut butter layer.  It's so thick that when you try to spread it, you end up spreading the bottom layer, too.  Silicone spatulas are a must.  And they are the best all-purpose tool, anyway.  You can get this amazing five-pack for only $15--it's easily the kitchen gadget I use the most.

Top with reserved butter crumblies.
Bake at 350 till golden brown.  Let cool completely.
It's hard.
But you must.
Ooey and gooey and peanut buttery deliciousness.
Oats = healthy.  Right?
Presumption.  BOOM.

Let them cool a bit before cutting and serving.  They are good warm, but I am the only one in my family who likes them cold--like, almost frozen.  No matter the temperature, it's hard to only eat one.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Vanilla Bean Cake with Pecan Praline Glaze

I've been baking this amazing and delicious Bundt cake since 2017, when I tore it out of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, one of my favorite sources for new recipes.

Buuuuuuut, people.  You can't put "1 3/4 cups butter" on the ingredients list, only to have the instructions tell you to use 1 cup of that butter in the cake and 3/4 cup of that butter in the glaze.  I'm going to mistakenly use ALL one-and-three-fourths cups of butter in the cake, every time.  

So, you're welcome, the Internet, I made this recipe easier to read.

It's delicious and moist, and if you mix up some cake release paint (equal parts melted butter and powdered sugar) and generously brush the inside of your Bundt pan, it comes out like a dream, every time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Because there just aren't enough desserts on this blog . . .
I think this may be my favorite picture
I have ever taken on my own camera . . . 
Georgia B. made this amazing dessert when she hosted book club.  When she said the words "cookie" and "pie" together, I admit I was taken aback.  It sounded like too much.  It sounded like it was missing the words "bacon-wrapped" and "deep-fried."

But then I had a bite.  Next, I inhaled my beautiful wedge o' heaven-sent cookie pie.  Finally, I plotted about how to get another piece (never mind the other twenty girls who were at this particular book club meeting . . . in fact, what do you guys think about a new book club rule?  Only people who read the book can  have refreshments?)
I used my flakiest pie crust recipe for the shell
I think it actually looks prettier before it's cooked
This kind of crust needs a pie shield, so that it doesn't get crispy and burnt before the rest of the crust cooks.  Actually, unless your crust is exactly level with your filling, every pie needs a pie shield.  You just take it off the pie about 10-15 minutes before it is baked all the way. 

I have two pie shields--one is a solid aluminum ring, and it fits a nine-inch crust. The other is a re-sizeable silicone pie shield that I can use on just about any size pie pan.

55 minutes later . . . it should be a nice caramely-brown 
My husband happened to show up at this book club to collect our baby, and another book club member (Tonia) said, "Here, Allen, you should take a piece of this."  He was sold on one bite also.  {And Tonia and I are still friends, despite the fact that she A) appeared to be a more thoughtful wife than I am and B) ruined my plan to ask to take a piece home to Allen . . . which I had no intention of giving him.  Okay, maybe she is a more thoughtful wife . . . }

Georgia did not hoard the deliciousness.  And neither will I.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Buddha Bowls

My friend Cori raved about this healthy and LICK-THE-BOWL-GOOD recipe.  I knew Allen and I would like it, but wasn't sure about my kids. 

This is an exact quote from my teenage son, Brigham, after he took one bite: "Can I eat Mollie and Calvin's and they can just have cold cereal for dinner?"

Mollie and Calvin were out sledding, which is why I had pre-dished up everyone's bowls--so I could set theirs aside (also, I should have realized that chopsticks would NOT work for quinoa--we all switched them out for forks.  But aren't they pretty?  Allen's little brother, Kevin, brought these home for us after his two-year mission to Japan).

Brigham on his second bowl . . .

EVERYONE loved it.  And Allen, Brigham, and I all had seconds--Mollie and Calvin were none the wiser.

The peanut sauce reminds me of a line from the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown: "With this sauce, you could eat erasers!"

Oh, it's so good.  I especially love the roasted sweet potatoes and the chicken (I used boneless, skinless thighs) cooked with the garlic and ginger.  It was so satisfying--something I'm adding to my regular repertoire of meals.