116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Several people have asked me whether I (finally) have a new stove, and the answer is yes! Yes, I do!
'And did you get it for a better price?”
Um … my purchase was not as much of a bargain as I hoped it would be, but I did manage to put away enough money to pay for it outright since I knew the purchase was on the horizon. That's something, right?
While waiting four months to buy a new stove wasn't the successful endeavor I imagined, the joy of baking again eradicates my disappointment. The first weekend alone, I made bread, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, turkey, pumpkin pie and Neapolitan cake.
Neapolitan cake was my solution to my daughter's dilemma of not knowing what flavor cake she wanted. Strawberry? Chocolate? Vanilla?
My daughter: I can't choose!
Me: How about we make all three?
My excitement hasn't abated. Granted, I no longer hold my breath when someone uses the stovetop for fear that whatever they're making will boil over and dirty my brand-new appliance (please read that in a game-show announcer's voice for the full effect), but I'm determined to keep the oven as clean as it is this very moment. I don't have to turn on the light to look inside. It's that clean.
Thanksgiving aside, I haven't used the oven for meals other than desserts/snacks as I combat baking withdrawal. I've reinstated my Sunday night tradition of baking chocolate chip cookies for my kids to pack in their lunches throughout the week. I usually throw wheat germ and wheat flour in the batter and tell myself I'm being healthy. I doubt it makes a difference, but this is the sort of thing I do to boost my parenting skills that lack in other areas, specifically math.
I shook things up this weekend, making chocolate chip cookie bars instead. This is a great alternative to traditional cookies when you don't have time to run to and from the kitchen to take out one sheet of cookies and add another - and fewer dishes, too.
The recipe calls for walnuts. I added the word optional because I believe nuts in cookies is wrong.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and water. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Press into three greased 15-by-10 inch baking pans.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Cut into bars.
Source: Taste of Home (www.tasteofhome.com)