I’ve been trying to avoid sugar lately and for good reason. I find it to be addictive and I also think that it contributes to my acid reflux. I have been doing lots of reading lately that has led me to this belief and while I love the taste, I know it is not worth feeling bad later (well I know this in theory, but do I always listen to myself? No.)
Nonetheless I love to bake and try new recipes so try as I might, I can’t completely avoid sugar. The trick is to make something, try a small amount, and then give away the rest. That way I don’t have a whole pan of cookies or cake to tempt me. It’s true.
I had picked out this recipe several weeks back after scanning my great-great-grandma’s recipe box and had been meaning to make it. I mean caramel meringue? It sounds intriguing, right?
So I finally gave in to my desires and made it, with intentions of giving it to Sam to take to work. The recipe contains nuts and since my workplace is nut-free I couldn’t take it there. I also didn’t need the bars tempting me at work.
They were warm, chocolate-y and crunchy coming right out of the oven and so I scooped a small helping into a bowl and ate it with a spoon.
I brought Sam a bite and he said, “It’s good, but it tastes like it has too many ingredients.”
Psha! Too many ingredients! Leave it to Sam to like his baked goods simple and classic. I blame his dad (who may very well be reading this…) Sam seemed hesitant to take them to work because they seemed messy and didn’t meet his taste expectations, but I was determined for him to take them, lest I eat the whole pan.
So the next morning, after they had cooled, I cut them into bars (eating the crumbs that fell off as I did) and packed them into containers for him. Now he couldn’t refuse.
I got a text message later that day: “Lots of excitement here about cookies :)”
That’s right! Way to doubt, Sam. Grandmas always know best.
Recipe copied from my great-great-grandma’s recipe box
My comments are in italics
¾ cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated*
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
6-oz pkg. chocolate pieces (1 cup chocolate chips)
1 cup flaked or grated coconut (I used unsweetened)
¾ cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
Heat oven to 350 degrees (moderate as listed in my recipe). Grease an oblong pan – 13 x 9 ½. Blend butter, ½ cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat 2 min, medium speed on mixer or 300 strokes by hand (!), scraping bowl constantly. Sift in dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture until thoroughly mixed. Spread or pat dough in pan (I lined my pan with parchment paper for easy removal). Sprinkle with chocolate pieces, coconut, and nuts. Beat egg whites until frothy; add 1 cup brown sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry. (I found I had to beat it a lot longer than expected so don’t give up hope! See pictures below. I also added ½ tsp. vanilla for flavor) Spread on top of chocolate-coconut-nut mixture. Bake 35-40 min (I found it only took 30 minutes). Cool and cut into bars.
*Eggs separate best when cold, but incorporate into the cookies best at room temperature. Separate the eggs when you remove them from the fridge and leave out to “warm up” with the butter.
The meringue begins soft and foamy
Then turns brown and satiny from the brown sugar
The final meringue