Friday, January 31, 2014

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bars

This could end up being a real problem. Just being honest.

Lots of desserts could philosophically be called "a problem", but lots of desserts don't taste *quite* this good & gooey and lots of desserts involve complicated measuring and blending and multiple bowls and spatulas and careful monitoring and the mortal fear of "over-mixing", whatever the heck that is.

Here's what these involve:
Graham crackers, butter, chocolate chips, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk.

Also these:
9x13, spoon, oven.

The ingredient list may seem on the long side for all this yammering, but that's because you don't know the really good news yet.  

There's no measuring.

Also, no extra bowls that have to be hand washed because they take up too much space in the dishwasher and who needs that?

Take one of the paper packages of graham crackers out of the box, rough-crumble them into a ziploc bag, then beat them about the face and head with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Or give the bag to your rogue 5-year old and let him unleash his pent-up 5-ishness. Or jump on the bag with your own stocking feet because you can and it's already been a long winter.

Pour the crumbs (1.5-2 cups) into your baking dish and stir in one stick of melted butter. Press into the pan.

Cover the top with a layer of chocolate chips (about half a bag, but who's to say you won't want more?)

Add the pecans (I tossed my pecan halves into the same ziploc and broke them up with my hands then pounded them a bit, but I wanted some pretty large pieces so I still have a bit of snow-rage cooped up inside my frozen heart.)

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. This will give it that zippy Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor, delighting your people and especially yourself.

Toss around most of a bag of flaked, sweetened coconut (about 1.5 cups total)

Drizzle one can of sweetened condensed milk over everything.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until everything is golden and the house is filled with the kind of scent that renders your children manic.

Cool. Slice. Eat.

All of the measurements are subject to tweaking, the possibilities for extra ingredients or modifications are endless, and it could pretty easily be made gluten-free, by replacing the graham crackers with a different base layer (crushed Chex cereal!)

Listen, I don't know everything about these bars, but I do know they make an oddly decadent, adult-approved dessert. They're a great chaser to pasta and chopped salad. They've proven to be the perfect ending to staying up until 2 a.m. with a soul-mate. And they'll convince you in your weakened state of exhaustion that even breakfast deserves a dessert course.

Happy weekending, Pals!