Well, I’ve had another near disaster in the kitchen y’all. See, this past weekend, the AWA hosted a craft fair to exhibit some of the local artisan goods, and as a personal contribution the board asked us to donate baked goods for the Sweet Shop booth.
As soon as I found out that they expected
100% participation, I started hyperventilating. Perusing Pinterest only made it
worse. Not only did I have to find a recipe so simple that I could not mess it
up, I had to find a recipe in which all of the ingredients are readily
available in Scotland. That took several graham cracker, pumpkin, and reeses
pieces delights off the table for me.
After hours of research, I finally
narrowed it down to these Pecan Pie Bars.
Knowing my track record with baking, I made
sure I had all my bases covered. For instance, I bought three times the necessary
ingredients along with all the fixings for Cookies and Cream Popcorn, because I
always need a back up plan y’all.
Since these treats were supposed to be sold
to the public instead of politely endured by my friends, I even did a practice run
on Thursday to make sure they were edible. The first attempt was at least
palatable, with slight room for improvement.
Since my first try was pretty
near successful, I had confidence that by my second try, I’d surely be able to perfect this
sweet treat. Of course, this wasn’t the way it unfolded in my kitchen...
see, I’ve always been better at cooking than I have been at baking. To bake,
you have to be precise, and I’m just not a very precise person. If the recipe
calls for all purpose flour, you better not use self-raising. If it calls for 2
sticks of butter, 2 cups ain’t gonna cut it.
Whereas with cooking, it’s a bit
more artistic. 1 teaspoon of salt? 4 bay leaves? 2 sticks of butter? We’ll call
those judgment calls and move on. In cooking, there is room for both
experimentation and error. Not so with baking. Baking involves measuring.
Reading directions carefully. Undivided attention. Let’s just say, not my
I knew pretty early on that my second attempt at Pecan Pie Bars
was going a bit off script. I was supposed to use the paddle attachment on my
kitchen aid mixer and of course, I forgot to do this. Using the paddle would
have involved reading the directions carefully. Like I said, not my strong point.
But a whisk should work the same way right? It’s all going to the same place
Also, for some reason the recipe I was using used two different
terms for butter measurements in the crust and the topping. For instance, the
pecan topping called for ½ cup of butter. The crust called for 2 sticks…which I
read as 2 cups, logically. Seriously,
what kind of trickery is the author of this recipe trying to get at?
according to Paula Deen, there is no such thing as too much butter, so I
figured it wasn’t that big of a deal that I used double the required amount.
Wrong again. My crust that was supposed to be crumbly was doughy instead.
worries; I prepared for this sort of mishap and bought enough ingredients to
make another batch of crust. This time I used the paddle and 2 sticks of
butter. What could go wrong? I opened the new bag of flour and paddled away.
But yet, it still came out doughy.
I racked my brain, and reread the directions
and ingredients carefully. 2 ¾ cups of all
purpose flour. Which, in case you were wondering, is not the same thing as
self raising flour. Whoops.
With no more back up ingredients and Jonathan out
with the car, I had no choice but to proceed with a doughy crust and hope and
pray that the bottom layer would be strong enough to support the caramel pecan
heaven on top. Once the baking part of the equation was done, all that was left
was the waiting and praying while the concoction cooled.
After 2 hours of mental
anguish over whether or not I would have to start from scratch with the backup
popcorn, it was time to face the facts. As I peeled the foil back, all looked
well in Pecan Pie Bar land.
But the true test was whether or not the doughy
crust could sustain the weight of the top layer. So without further adieu, I began
to cut the block into individual bars. And lo and behold, they didn’t fall
apart. Then it was time for the all important assessment: the taste test. Jon
and I cut one of the edge pieces in half and dug in. Hallelujah it was
Turns out the doughy crust gave the treat more of a chewy texture
than a brittle effect. It may not have been what the recipe was aiming for, but
Jonathan and I both preferred the 2nd batch. It was like a pecan pie
cookie. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! Take that All Purpose flour!
already established that baking is not my strongest domestic skill, but even
lower on my list of housewife talents is crafting. Now that I had an edible (and fairly
delicious) snack to offer the Sweet Shop, I had to come up with a pretty way to
I originally bought zip lock bags, but since they were the foggy
kind, I felt like they didn’t flatter the pecan pie bars very well. I worked
too hard on them to have them be overlooked because of haphazard packaging. I
tried just plain plastic wrap with a ribbon but the wonky and uncohesive shapes
of the bars made this look too messy.
When I went to Jillian’s house that night
for Football watching and Mahjong playing, I saw that she had cut a square out
of card board and wrapped it with Christmas wrapping paper as a way to display
her Rum Cake. I decided to steal this brilliant idea and make mini squares for
And while I know it doesn’t look good enough for pinterest, I was
sure proud of myself for managing to come up with a baked good that I wasn’t
terribly ashamed of. Now I’ll be scouring the newspapers and BBC to make sure no
Aberdonians fall ill from a Pecan dessert bought at the AWA craft fair. Fingers
Come back tomorrow to see the loot I scored at the Craft Fair. Lots of
Scottish adorableness is coming your way!