Friday, September 23, 2011

Forgive Me Chocolate...

I have a confession to make. Up until about 2 years ago, I was a chocoholic. I don't think a day passed without chocolate passing through my lips (and ending in my hips...). This love affair began when I was a little girl. However, one day my cocoa world came crashing down. A dreadful doctor informed my Mom I was allergic to chocolate.  For years after that, my life was hell. If I was offered chocolate cake at parties, I was trained to say, "No thank you. I'm allergic to chocolate". With pity in their eyes, people would respond, "Oh that is so sad! I could never live without chocolate!" I was the oddball child who had the albino white bunny in her Easter basket while my brothers and sisters chomped away at their browned eared fudgy critters, faces smeared with all that goodness! What a nightmare! Eventually, I outgrew my allergy; my addiction was reignited, and all was right in my world again. Until about two years ago..

I don't now how it happened but I just don't crave chocolate anymore. Don't get me wrong. I still like it. I just don't LOVE it anymore. As most people know, I still bake a lot of chocolaty creations- I usually have a taste and share the rest with the lucky souls who happen to get their names drawn out of the magic cookie jar that day; resulting in pleasure for all.

Which brings me to the point of this post. What do I drool over now? Well, besides men in kilts (I'll save that for another day and another post!), I find myself constantly thinking about fruit desserts. Pies, cobblers, tarts- mmm, yum!  When I bake with fruit, I am baking for me. So when my generous friend, Dianne, gave me some fresh figs from the trees in her backyard, I did a little jig in my head. I knew instantly that I wanted to transform the luscious, velvety orbs into Fig Bars *.

The bars are nicely balanced with the mild sweetness of the figs and the buttery  texture of the oatmeal crust and topping. I thoroughly enjoyed eating a bar as I sat on my deck sipping tea and reading a favorite book. Chocolate? Nowhere in sight....  

*Note- the recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening which I replaced with 1 cup of unsalted butter.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made a batch of Snickerdoodles * last night. I have been making this recipe for over twenty years and the cookies are always chewy. This time they came out crispy. I'm not sure why. I could blame it on the rainy weather or that I was multitasking and may have ignored the timer (yikes!).  I wasn't very happy with the results though my house did smell divine from the cinnamon sugar wafting room to room. It's not that the cookies were bad; they were just too crispy for my liking. So I decided that I would make ice cream sandwiches. I went to the store hoping to find pumpkin ice cream but it's not out yet. (By the way, if you haven't tried pumpkin ice cream, you should.)  I picked up vanilla and then I spotted coffee! Oh yum! Right then, I realized the possibilities! Coffee, cinnamon and chocolate all in one frozen sandwich = totally amazing!!

* I add one teaspoon of vanilla to this recipe.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Lazy Day

Take a look at Jonas. He had a lazy day.

I wanted to have a lazy day but I don't know how to do that. So instead I spent my day doing household chores. Then I decided to bake. I found a recipe for Chocolate Drizzled Macadamia Bars.

I rounded up some ingredients from my kitchen.

I mixed them all up.

Wow! Magically, here is the finished product!

Oh man, these bars are yummy! They have a nice buttery crust with a gooey, chewy middle and a delectable sweet, salty, crunchy topping. The drizzled chocolate makes these bars more scrumptious! I am glad I wasn't lazy today. These treats were definitely worth my time and effort.