Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Good times in the kitchen

I've always loved baked goods: chocolate chips cookies, brownies (the fudgier the better!), double chocolate cookies, vanilla cookies (even better with a little bit of chocolate or Nutella on top), chicken potpie, baked chicken, baked potatoes, creamy scalloped potatoes, among many, many others. You will notice that chocolate is a BIG thing for me. Yes, it's my weakness...

Two finished Molten Cakes during a birthday celebration at Chili's with my chocolate loving family.
So it's no wonder I love to bake. My chocolate chip cookie recipe is simply the best. Of course, it's not actually mine. It's an old recipe from a very old book. But, nevertheless, they are delicious. And up until a few months ago (this last November to be exact) they were the only thing I could bake successfully. To everybody else, they were my specialty. But I knew better. There was absolutely nothing else that would turn out good.

However, my husband wanted badly a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and my sister was dreaming of some pecan bars she ate once because a lady from our church made them. So I decided to give both a try. Now, the key, for me at least, to a great dish is a fool proof recipe. So I went to bettycrocker.com and got a classic pumpkin pie recipe and a pecan pumpkin pie recipe, and I followed those recipes down to the last dot. Since I do not like pumpkins, I had no idea how they would turn out, but judging from my husband's face, and my family's, it was good. I have had to make both pumpkin pies about 3 or 4 times.

But the pecan bars? Those were HUGE hits. Again, I don't like pecans, so I don't see what the big fuss is about, but everyone else? They absolutely love those bars. I have had to make them so many times I have lost count. So I thought I'ld share the recipe with you. I'm a hero in my family because of this dish. Go ahead, be a hero this weekend!

I love my time in the kitchen. Creaming butter and sugar by hand —hard, hard work—, seeing the ingredients interacting, watching closely for the change in consistencies, and oh my goodness the smells! And of course, getting to taste the finished product and knowing that it is good is so satisfying. Sometimes I'm at work and my hands feel the sudden need to mix, knead, roll... I can't wait to get home and try something new. We reap the benefits and the extra pounds, too. But it's worth it for sure.

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