Thursday, March 22, 2012
(A) Date (with Destiny) Bars
Is tempting fate the same as changing destiny? Sometimes, I get the feeling I've just got to change something that seems to be destined. Guess I better explain. . .
When I was interviewing for one of my first jobs (way back) I had to complete a psychological profile/aptitude test. I was applying for a mid-level management position (and I think they didn't even administer the test if you weren't going to be hired.) Still I was nervous about it.
When the psychologist sat down with me to review the results, he said that I had excellent verbal skills (no surprise) and lousy math skills (also no surprise.)
What did surprise me was something he said about my "lack of attention to detail." To quote him, "You're a bright young woman and you can contribute a lot to this company, but you're going to need someone to pick up the pieces after you." And I'm thinking he was being kind.
Now, tell the truth, how many times have you seen that very quality -- has great attention to detail -- highlighted as a characteristic every employer wants.
No one had ever said that about me before, at least, not to my face. How did I survive -- even thrive -- and reach the ripe old age of 28 without someone telling me that before.
Perhaps I should have known. I suppose there were clues. But this is just a mini-confession, not the full-blown deal. I lose things. I make piles. I rearrange the piles. I find things, but don't put them back in the same place every time. It takes me a lot longer to get something done because of this "lack of attention to detail."
Mr. Rosemary has a name for it: calls it "lazy brain."
I think he's right. That explains why I'm a much better cook than a baker. Why I make a shopping list, even look at it while at the store, then still forget something that was on it. Lazy brain.
That's why these date bars are a great way for me to practice my baking skills. If I do forget something, this is very forgiving. But . . . believe me, I didn't forget a thing. I was not intimidated at all by these.
"Are these from a box?" asks Mr. Rosemary.
"No siree, " I answer.
"That explains why they're so good.," says he.
Yep. Down to every last stinking detail.
from Bon Appetit
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sicks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and 8X8 inch metal baking pan. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the dates and continue to simmer until the mixture is very soft and thick, sitting occasionally. It will take about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the vanilla.
Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub the butter in until moist clumps form. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the date mixture over. Sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture and press down lightly to make sure it adheres. Bake until brown at the edges and golden brown and set in the center, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars -- as big as you want. Detail doesn't matter here.