Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gingersnap Magic Cookie Bars (★ ★ ★ ★ ☆)

Why don't you go ahead and settle in, grab your morning coffee,  because I want to tell you a little story.

A little story called "Why My House Isn't Safe For Magic Cookie Bars: Or Anything With Copious Amounts of Sugar."

So the title's a little excessive.
But it's my story.
And I think it's perfect.

I honestly contemplated changing the names in this because my family might kill me, but where's the fun in that?

Plus, after reading about Person 1, Person 2, Person 1 again, then Person're just going to get all confusl'd.

So since I'm going there, let's just lay it all out right now.


Prepare to be famous.

Brother - You are safe.  You don't like coconut.
So I'm baking Monday night, pretty much the usj.

Nothing too interesting there.  Except that everyone was home.  [Dun, dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun].
I'm used to having the house to myself on baking nights.  Just me, an iPod, and an electric mixer.

See when you are alone there are baking pros and cons.

The Cons.

  • You are lonely

That's it.

The Pros.

  • You are lonely so you can focus and do your best baking.
  • You are lonely so you get to listen to your music as loud as you want (and dance around while belting out Mariah Carey Christmas songs into a wooden spoon.  Not that I do that...just the "option" is there).
  • You are alone so you can tweak any recipe to your heart's content.
  • You are alone so you can taste test something fresh from the oven without swarms of "sugar deprived" eyes glaring back at you.  

Three hungry people, one blogger.
There's bound to be conflicts of interest.

Bloggers have a different mindset.
We don't bake to eat.
Well, ultimately we do, but not before our desserts have paid their dues.
Prepping, styling, photo shoots, etc.

Much to the chagrin of my family members.


So back to the story.  I take the bars from the oven.  Not two minutes after I settle down to watch a Christmas movie, do I hear the terrifying sound of a knife slicing into melted chocolate and toasted coconut shreds.

Bakers can totally hear that kind of stuff. 

Now, I'm not against sharing.  I understand I have infused the house with an irresistable aroma. But I worked hard on those cookie bars.  The idea.  The shopping.  The baking.  The documenting.  After all is said and done every post costs me about 8 hours of free I'm none too thrilled by the sound of my hard work about to be mutilated at the hand of someone other than me.

Me: "Nope." 
Dad: "You serious?"
Me: "Yep."
Dad: [Insert crazy pout.  Like I just told him I think going to college is a waste of time.]

Sure he's my dad.  He's only sacrificed everything for me.  But I still like to have the final say in what happens to my baked goods...and when.  Call it my controlling "vice," but I'm not ready to give it up. 

Twenty minutes later, after the cookie bars had cooled the "proper" amount of time, it was time to slice and share.  But only a taste, because these babies still had work to do.

Mom and Bestie were beside themselves and promptly consumed their share.
But Dad, nope.  He was good.  The moment had past.  
On his terms, or no terms.  Like Father, Like Daughter.  

Suddenly, an even bigger dilemma than I could have ever predicted arose - There was one piece and two willing participants.  

I mean the obvious, reasonable thing to do would be to share, right?
And that's what happened.

Until my Mom convinced Bestie to refrigerate the "precious" morsel because it would "taste better."  I walked into this:

Mom: "I'm so sorry.  I ate the whole piece.  I couldn't stop myself."
Bestie: [Insert Stunned Silence.  Cue welling of tears.]
Mom: "When Natalie goes to bed, I'll cut you another one."
Bestie: "Wait.  You really ate the whole thing?"
ME: "Excuuuse me?"
Mom: "No, I'm just kidding. I only moved it to the door."
Bestie: [Insert pent up chuckle].
ME: "...Uh, what was that about me going to sleep?"  

No joke, totally had a nightmare that I woke up to find 4 measly pieces.
Me: "What the heck happened?!"
Mom: "I'm so sorry.  They were just so good!"
Me: "I still had to take pictures!!"

I breathed a sigh of relief when I found the pan safe and sound, pristinely wrapped on the counter in the morning.  But did that stop me from hiding that dish in the tupperware cupboard?  

No, it did not.  
Gingersnap Magic Cookie Bars
adapted from Love from the Oven

1 Stick of Butter (1/2 Cup)
1 1/2 Cup Gingersnap Crumbs
1 - 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Cups Nestle Holiday Chips (or 1 Cup Semi-Sweet and 1 Cup White)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Pecans work well too)
1 1/3 Cup Flaked Coconut

Needed: 9 x 13in Pan
Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees
Cook for 25-35 Min
Makes Approx. 24 Bars

1) Crush gingersnaps into fine crumbs.  I used a meat tenderizer and a coffee grinder to finish up the 
2) Preheat oven to 325F Degrees.  Place cube of butter in 9 x 13in pan and place in oven to melt while 
    preheating.  Check every few minutes to make sure it is melting and not getting burned.
3) In the meantime, chop up a cup of nuts.
*Suggestion: I LOVE crust.  And I found this recipe to be a little on the thinner side.  What I would 
                      do next time is increase the butter to 1 1/2 cubes and double the cookie crumbs.  Or do 
                      1 Cup Gingersnaps, 1 Cup Graham Crackers.  Grahams are a lot sweeter and less spicy.  
4) Once butter is melted, remove from oven and place on heat safe surface.  Sprinkle cookie crumbs 
    evenly over the butter and gently pat down with the back of a spoon.  Make sure the entire bottom 
    surface is covered.
5) Pour can of condensed milk over the crust layer.
6) Next add 3/4 Cup Nuts, and 1 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (saving some for the very top layer).
7) Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the nuts and chocolate.  Pat down gently.
8) Top with remaining nuts and chocolate chips.
*Suggestion: I've made these before and "pre" toasted the coconut.  I wish I had done that this time.  I 
                       love the toasty smell and taste of the coconut after it's been baked for awhile. If you want 
                       to pre-toast the coconut, line a baking sheet with foil and spread the coconut thinly 
                       across.  At 350F, bake for no more than 5 mins.  Watch carefully that these do not burn.  
                       You want to see the edges of the flakes just beginning to darken. 
9) Bake for 25-35 minutes.  Top should be slightly browned.  Remove from oven and place on cooling 
    rack.  Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving. 
Do not think me cruel. After these pictures, my family had their fill.  
All Tuesday night, they ate to their hearts content.
Then came Wednesday. And I brought the rest to work.
So Bestie cried.  

Oh geeze. 

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