Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Butterscotch Bars

Jane and I were at Mom’s last week and prepared a supper for all of us. We decided we needed something for dessert, and the discussion turned to brownies vs. bar cookies. Jane remembered a recipe from Aunt Agnes in the family cookbook that she had made. I immediately knew which one she was thinking of: The one that she could prepare quickly after work. We dug out the recipe and perused the ingredients. We needed to buy eggs, but all of the other ingredients were available in the house. We found a stick of margarine in the freezer, and that started the first of many wrangles: Should we set the margarine out while we went to the store for eggs or leave it in the freezer? Jane: “It’s going to be melted anyway.” But my superior judgment prevailed, and the margarine was left out.
First step was melting the margarine and adding the brown sugar. “Be sure to pack the brown sugar while you’re measuring.” “Of course, I will, you moron. I know how to measure brown sugar.” That led to a debate of how long and how much the ingredients should “bubble” over the burner. I stirred the bubbling concoction with a metal spoon. And the bickering continued: “You’ll burn yourself when the heat radiates up the spoon handle.” “It’s bubbled long enough.” “Has hardly bubbled at all.”
The next step was to remove the melted ingredients and to let it cool slightly. Jane then handed me a rubber spatula to stir in the remaining ingredients. Jane wanted to add mini-M&Ms, but I didn’t want them. I wanted to add coconut – as directed by the recipe – but Jane vetoed that. We did agree to throw in mini-chocolate chips. And we finally compromised by pouring half the mixture into the baking dish, stirring in coconut to the remaining mixture, and pouring the remainder into the dish. One last compromise was to sprinkle mini-M&Ms over the half of the batter that did not contain coconut.
We laughed when we read that Aunt Agnes had said she could whip this dessert up quickly when she got home from work. We think a committee of two sisters arguing over each step of the process couldn’t be responsible for getting any recipe prepared quickly.
With the batter now safely in the baking dish we discovered that the end of the rubber spatula was missing. My goodness! the heat of the bubbling margarine and brown sugar must have melted off the end. Now what?
We did what anyone else intent on eating bar cookies would have done . . . . . we baked the bars.
The bars looked beautiful when they finished baking, and we couldn’t wait to eat them. We did approach the tasting with some trepidation considering the rubber spatula had melted and contaminated our dessert with all manner of rubbery particles. But we persevered, and the bars were delectable.
Later that evening we decided we needed a pick-me-up snack, and in cutting further into the bars, we found the rubber end of the spatula baked into our butterscotch goodness. Jane had a laughing fit that necessitated a fast run to the bathroom so she wouldn’t pee her pants.
Here’s the recipe. Please use the correct utensils when preparing it.