I ended up making toffee bars, an incredibly easy recipe that I copied from an old issue of Family Circle magazine, and two different kinds of cheese spreads, recipes from America's Bounty that I have been wanting to try for a few months. The toffee bars were the biggest hit. This was the second time I'd made them, and I found that by mixing the ingredients for longer than normal, the consistency came out richer and smoother than the first time. These have earned a permanent place in my dessert repertoire.
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsps vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Place vanilla, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes.
- Add flour and mix on low speed for 2 minutes (do not scrimp on the time here - it takes this long for the flour to fully incorporate).
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Spread dough evenly into an ungreased 10x15 baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees (convection setting works better than regular bake setting for a moist, rich texture) for 20-30 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.
I lived for years without an electric mixer. Most of the time, I found that a LOT of hard stirring was a fine, if highly aerobic, replacement. There were only a few recipes in which I would have to drive over to my grandmother's house, holding a bowl of ingredients, to use her mixer. A few years back, at a yard sale held by a local well-known artist, I spent $5 on a gorgeous antique mixer that didn't work. It looked exquisite on a shelf in my kitchen, where it lived out its last decorative days. Once I started doing a lot of cooking though, I got real tired of looking at the beautiful useless kitchen art and I went grumbling over to my mother's house to borrow hers. She, in the spirit of giving up EVERYTHING for her childrens' happiness, handed me the 1970s snazzy-looking stainless steel Sunbeam (with 12 settings!) that she had obtained from a yard sale and which I had long coveted, and said "You'll get more use out this than I will. You can keep it."
At least weekly since then, I have pulled out the Sunbeam to make some dessert or another, and I have remembered why my mom is such a great mom. Of course, my mother is also extremely smart, and I'm sure she knew that if I had a good mixer, she would get to sample even more of my desserts. Regardless, I wonder if I will ever be a selfless enough mother that I will be able to give up such a fine kitchen implement to my own child. Then again, while The Carnivore daydreams about Fat Baby becoming a great UGA football player, I secretly long for my son to become a world-famous chef. When he has his own restaurant (a dream I have long held for myself), he will be able to buy his own mixer.