Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

Whitney of What’s Left on the Table chose Caramel Crunch Bars this week for our Tuesdays With Dorie baking!

Now the thing is..I made these 3 weeks ago, which is good for a procrastinator like me; however I'm beginning to think I should have WROTE 3 weeks ago as well as I am trying to refresh my memory of anything in particular that I can lend to those who made/will make these!

I whipped them up in the hopes that I could bring them for dessert when, on Superbowl Sunday (ooops, will the NFL allow me to say that? I guess I meant "the BIG game"), my brother called up and asked if Dear Husband and I wanted to come hang at their house. I was making chili as well, so tried to throw these together at the same time. The chili made it to the party, but the dessert was not 'set' enough to bring along. So, I wrapped and froze most of them that night, and made sure to keep some out for taste testing! (Side note because I love this story: turns out a dessert was not needed...because I showed up to see a cake being frosted at my brother's house by my sister-in-law and her 2 youngest. Apparently that morning when they were at church they were told that it would have been Nana's--my mom's--70th birthday that day, Feb 1st. So they told my sister in law that they should bake a birthday cake for her. I can't tell you how it melted my heart when I walked in and they said "We made a cake for nana!" Mind you, these 2 youngest of my brother's 3 kids are ages 8 and 9, and never met her as she passed away before their time--but the fact that they have all this love for her through our stories and talking about her...does it get any better than that?? Sure they wanted a cake too, but they were so sincere about her birthday that I kid you not, it really was about nana as much--if not, more-than the cake.)

So back to caramel crunch bars--these are a super easy, super quick dessert you can throw together--and great dessert for a crowd --as they're made in 13x9 pan. (Just leave time for the 'setting' of the chocolate). Everything--from what I can recall--went fine putting the recipe together--here they are right out of the oven:

I loved the bittersweet chocolate with the caramel--great combination. My husband was a big fan. He probably liked them more than I, only because I am not a huge toffee fan (the whole thing with sticking to and in my teeth is my issue--which plays into my love-hate relationship with the Butterfinger. I love the taste, but hate the feeling of the sticky build up of candy in my teeth...)

And, allow me to share this...only because I am so excited about it....Some years ago I tried to start knitting..and it failed miserably. I picked up the needles again about 2.5 yrs ago, made a scarf for me, and one baby blanket for my nephew, and then I let it go again....thinking how I really WANTED to do something more involved (socks..a hat...mittens), but somewhat convinced myself not to even try because I may not be able to do it. (Why I am a defeatist like this at times is beyond me).

Well, fellow bloggers, bakers, (and the only other reader--probably you, dad!) perhaps it was the fact that I conquered the fear of making caramel for our TWD Floating Islands--or maybe it was finally NOT avoiding a recipe that used a candy thermometer on that frosting last week..whatever it was, I found myself up early, marched over to the cedar hope chest where I keep my knitting stuff, took out a beginner baby hat pattern and accompanying circular needle that I bought ages ago, and I knit my very first baby hat! It took a few hours because I had to start over at one point (any knitters out there? I did not realize until a few rows of stockinette stitch that when knitted in the round it's simply "knit" ALL rows-not every other row...how easy is that?!) So that set back did put me off a bit, but thankfully I figured it out in time!

I have come to realze I like knitting for similar reasons I like baking....it is a set recipe (pattern); with very measured ingredients (specific needle size; gauge)...and if I follow it to the letter, one step at a time, it turns a 'daunting' task (baby hat; French Pear Tart; Floating Island; pair of socks) into a reality! Now, perhaps once I get comfy with it, I'll start doing my own alterations on yarn and patterns/etc (as I will do with baking now and then when I realize I don't have the ingredients called for -i.e. using Oreos instead of cake crumbs for the cake last week). But for now, I am also fine in a comfort zone of just following something by the letter. I made a hat and I can't believe something so small has made me feel so good about myself! I swear I felt like yelling up and down the street to the neighbors "I belled the mouse!!! I belled the mouse!!" (any Looney Toons fans out there will 'get' that reference)

Here is the big project from Saturday to go along with the REALLY big project-in-the making! I am just about half way through this pregnancy! 20 weeks tomorrow out of 40!

The blue yarn was the only bulky yarn I had, so don't think the color means anything specific! We are still waiting to find out the gender until its born in July....so if it's a girl, then I'll throw a pink pom-pom on top of it by next winter! :)


Anonymous said...

Your caramel crunch bars look wonderful and delicious. Congrats on the knitting. The hat looks cute.

n.o.e said...

Oh, Lisa, that hat is TOO CUTE!! I started knitting a few years ago and stubbornly refuse to progress beyond scarves. It's that fear thing - that and having to do a test patch to scale the pattern. But you? Fearless now! Congrats on the halfway mark; I always loved how I got to count 2 weeks before I even was pregnant! Oh, and glad you both liked the bars. I made them ages ago, also.

Matt's Kitchen said...

I loved your story of Nana's cake which is testimony to how wonderful a person she must have been. The hat is something to feel justifiably good about. I've always been amazed by knitters who work magic with a single string and a couple of sticks. The hat looks so soft and cute. Lucky is the baby who gets to wear it and gets to have you as a mom. Just think of all of the delicious after school treats that will be waiting for him or her!

Amanda said...

These look perfect, nice job! Mine were a bit crisp, but still tasty :)

Cathy said...

I have the same issue with making things in advance and then remembering little about them when it comes time to blog - perhaps this is why my posts have nothing to do with food? I LOVE that D and K made a cake for your mom! She was an amazing woman, and I have no doubt that her spirit lives on in her grandchildren. Your hat is adorable - you are multi-talented! Crunch bars look great, too!

Maria said...

The bars look very tasty and the hat is super cute! Great job!

Jennifer said...

Aww... what a sweet Nana story. It's bringing tears to my eyes!
Your bars look delicious. And I agree, they were fast to put together and great for a crowd.

chocolatechic said...

I knit.

I heart knitting.

You did a great job.

Now that you can knit in the round, you can make socks.

PS. Your bars look great too.

TeaLady said...

Those bars look great. Wish I had one right now.

Cute hat.

Kaitlin said...

That hat is absolutely beautiful - great colour and the style is wonderful. I'm hoping to learn to knit soon, so this is some great inspiration. Congrats on the baby on the way!

And your caramel crunch bars look really yummy.

Teanna said...

What an awesome dessert for the superbowl! They look delicious!

Kimberly said...

Your bars look lovely. And congrats on tackling that baby hat project! I love your baking/knitting metaphor; I definitely get intimidated by some of the Dorie recipes and think they'll take me too long and then I skip them...I need to follow your example and just go after them!

Congratulations on your little one coming along in a few months!

Country Cooking said...

Very nice! That hat is adorable!