nut job

I set out to make the weekly snacking bar, my usual Sunday activity, but my mind wandered as I both eyeballed the proportions and switched up the ingredients.  They looked really mushy even after they were baked, so I taught them a lesson or two by baking them some more, until they really quit squealing--almost burned them, in fact, like the chef in the restaurant when you say your meat is a little underdone.  I was reasonably sure I had an epic fail on my hands.

My daughter ate three, pretty comfortably.

What is this? asked her friend, when I handed her two of them.

I'm not sure, I said.

What were those? asked the friend's mom a few minutes later.

They're gone? I asked.  I think they are sort of like those lunchbox bars I make, I said.  I am going to make more, and I'll give you some.

This is not a bar, said my friend Julie.  This is a cookie. What's in it?

Oats, millet, nuts, coconut sugar...I said.

Sweet!  See?  Ha! A cookie, said Julie, finishing hers.

But it doesn't have flour, said my friend Elizabeth, who was sampling one as well. Cookies have flour.  This is a bar.

Cookie!  It's sweet!

Bar!  All those nuts and grains!

You decide.

four squares

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c thick, sticky sweetener: honey, or Lyle's Golden Syrup, or barley malt or rice syrup
  • 1/2 c dry, granulated sweetener, like coconut sugar, raw cane or brown sugar
  • 1/2 c slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup puffed millet
  • 3T flax meal
  • a fat pinch of good salt

Heat the oven to 375.  Ready a 9x13 baking pan, and cut a piece of parchment paper that will comfortably line it.  Really.  Or have a chisel handy.

In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the honey and sugar, and stir to make an utterly smooth mixture.  Heat to a simmer, stirring all the while, and cook for about a minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, and then everything else.

Scrape the mixture into the center of the parchment, and use a spatula to poink it out so that it is absolutely flat and fills the pan completely.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until quite decidedly golden brown all over and the edges look a bit overdone.  Cool completely in the pan (see above, "really"). Use the parchment to slide the giant cookienotcookie onto a cutting board, and employ a large, sharp knife to cut it into squares.  There will be some fragments.  No one needs to know what happened to those (nom, nom, nom.)

Go ahead and switch up the nuts if you like.  I bet cashews would be nice.  Some ginger, too.  Or a hit of red pepper in some form.  Going back to the kitchen now.

Glimmers of light;

Scrapbookers get busy to help Sandy Hook Families

So does the horn section

Piemakers do the same

As do dogs

And finally,

When that chorus opens up, so does the human heart