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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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 with these five?  My friend Melanie made these for us when we visited her family near Memphis.  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.
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.

Presumption Bars are pretty easy to make, but when you spread the (thick) peanut butter layer, you have to be careful to keep the bottom crust from lifting out of the pan.  I try to drizzle the peanut butter mixture slowly and evenly over the crust, so that I don't have to spread it very much before topping it with the chocolate chips and crumblies.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brigham City Peach Pie

Peach pie.  I mean, it sounds good and it looks good . . . but I don't think I ever would have made it if it hadn't been a birthday request.  So I'm glad it was, because it turned out to be a great recipe (I got it from allrecipes, one of my favorite cooking sites).

I made this pie for Troy--he's a great friend and his wife, Brenda, is an even greater friend (sorry, Troy).  He's a pretty generous guy and has made the birthdays in our family special.  So, I told him I'd make him an apple pie on his birthday and he quickly countered, "How 'bout peach?"  

Peach it shall be.  (I used my flakiest pie crust recipe).

Our family before the hour-long wait on a busy Thursday
It seemed fitting that he requested a peach pie only a few days after my family and I visited Brigham City, Utah---peach capital of the state.  We went there to tour the inside of the newly competed Latter-day Saint temple.  Before a temple is dedicated, it is open to the general public, and I highly recommend taking a tour if you ever have the opportunity!  There's no better way to find out what "Mormons" believe and why temples are central to our focus on strengthening families, both now and in the afterlife.  Here's a sweet video clip about part of our temple experience:

But back to the pie.  I think it's the only food on this site that I have not actually tasted myself {update: I had it on Pi Day 2013 and it is delectable}.  Both Troy and Brenda assured me that it was delicious--even better than the pastry that Troy ordered for himself on the Internet for his birthday.  I could have told you that, Troy . . .

Any recipe that calls for you to cut butter into a crumbly stage
is bound to be delicious 
Layer the peaches in the bottom of your pie crust, then generously
layer butter crumblies.  Repeat with remaining peaches and crumblies.
Troy got his bull elk with a BOW the day before his birthday,
so I thought I'd pay homage to his prowess with an antler design . . .
T for "Totally"
I used an egg yolk wash: water and egg yolk
beaten and lightly brushed over the crust
Troy took this picture and FBed it to me.
It wouldn't have been a true birthday gift without a poem from yours truly.  I would have printed it out for Troy, but my printer was/is out of ink.  Still, I can share the digital version with my Internet audience.  I think Troy would want it that way.

Aren't limericks the best?  Poo on sonnets and haikus . . . you can't convey this kind of emotion in those rigid forms . . .

Celebration-worthy, people.
I added pecans to my streusel the second go-round and it was
over-the-top good.
National "Pi" day: 3.14 every year.  Circles never looked this tasty . . .
Finally, the actual recipe card:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oat & Cranberry Muffins

I think maybe the reason I like muffins so much is because they are like cake, but without cake guilt.  My friend, Cori, has been teasing me about my muffin addiction. She claims that she went through a "muffin phase" when she had small children, and thinks that it is something that will pass for me.

I don't think so.

I do so adore muffins. Doesn't the word "muffin" itself make you think of happy times? (With the notable exception of "muffin-top", which is slightly more apt than "spare tire" or "love handles"). Muffins are pretty much the perfect food, and baking muffins is not only relaxing for me, it also makes my house smell like heaven. Plus, I can always hide a couple and save them for midnight forays.  Or freeze a whole bunch and have one or two every morning for a week with my oatmeal.

I realize I am waxing whimsical . . . but that's what delicious home-baked foodstuffs do to me.

{As part of her muffin-heckling, Cori sent me a link to a funny little muffin website called muffinfilms. Truman loves number 8: "Feed Me" the best, while I prefer the slightly macabre number 6: The Muffin Tree.}

If you know me, you know that gifts are my love language.  So when my Aunt Kristie sent me this book out of the blue (about four years ago) it was the most delightful surprise!  I think of her every time I use it and it is one of my all-time favorite gifts.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is my cream and spice muffins--especially on a cold day, they are delicious with hot cocoa.

But I just discovered this healthy gem: oat and cranberry muffins.  The first time I made them, I didn't have any dried cranberries, so I used one cup of my precious frozen huckleberries.  And I used five-grain cereal instead of plain rolled oats.  DELISH.  Even though they are healthy!

Cori may make fun, but she still gave me
my favorite SQUARE muffin pan
The five-grain makes the muffins nice and chewy, but they are still moist and flavorful thanks to the kefir and huckleberries.

I finally bought some dried cranberries, and the muffins turned out beautifully.  They taste great, too.  (TIP: If you have ever wondered how to get a muffin out of its wrapper without leaving half the muffin stuck, just let them cool--then the wrappers peel all the way off).

Before going into the oven
Out of the oven and ready to eat
My favorite way to have any muffin:
buttered and dipped in honey-sweetened Cream O' Wheat