Tag Archives: Connection

Mom’s Mocha-Toffee Bars

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About 35 years ago, my mom held a summer luncheon in our family home. She made these bars for dessert, and I fell in love them. After I returned to the Southwest, she sent the recipe, which I cherished and saved in my recipe file.

Mom's Mocha-Toffee Bars Resized

And yet, somehow, I never baked them until a week ago.

Perhaps to honor her passing, I was destined to wait. I was given time to reflect upon her love of the color brown. The color of earth, of solidity, of groundedness that she decorated our childhood homes with.

My earliest childhood home was actually painted mocha at mom’s request. Likely because she made a killer yellow cake with mocha frosting that the entire neighborhood craved, yet they rarely had the pleasure of indulging in because my dad, brother, and I usually engulfed it on its first night of creation.

Having said that, I’ve pondered the obvious fact that perhaps I named my blog after my mom in a surreptitious way that even I never uncovered until now. “Now” as in this very moment of typing these words on my chiclet keys. Amazing how and when connections are recognized!

Mocha-Toffee Bars

  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar – Firmly Packed
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter, Softened
  • 1 Teaspoon  Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 Cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 Egg – At Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Baking Directions

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan and set aside.

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and flour.

Step 3:  Using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of crumbs and set aside.

Step 4:  To the original large bowl, add baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, lightly beat in coffee liqueur, 1/2 and 1/2, and egg.

Step 5:  Continue beating until batter is smooth. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

Step 6:  In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together chocolate chips and nuts.

Step 7:  Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top of batter in pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top of the layer of crumbs.

Step 8: Use a long, flat spatula to spread topping evenly over the top of the batter in pan. (I find that using my hands is also effective.)

Step 9:   Bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Step 10: Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool bars in pan completely before slicing.

Step 11: Using a serrated knife, cut into 24 bars. If you’re using a non-stick baking pan, you might consider a serrated plastic knife for this process. My husband recently surprised me with a Bakeware Buddy Knife that seems to be ideal for protecting pans from damaging scratches.

Step 12: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I used a cake platter with a glass dome to store mine, and they were moist and delicious on the fifth day.

*High Altitude Note: This recipe has been tested from sea level to 5000 feet. I suspect that altitudes above 5000 will also do well, however, always best to be prepared to experiment.

Indulge in mocha!

I’m Still Learning About My Internal Queue

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Coffee Queue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m realizing that as I write and blog my tiny stories through this process called Life, I have a queue of lifelong infatuations in my head and heart.

I’m crushing on: lichens, moss, barnacles, Spanish moss, flamingos, wisteria, colorfully painted small towns with diagonal parking, ghost towns, ruins, desolation, diners, cafes, coffeehouses, little white churches, Route 66, antique buttons/beads/lace, and yoga.

 

Yogini

Such disparate passions. How do they all connect?

I thought I might learn by blundering my way through a blog. But, after nearly a year, I still have no idea.

And, yet, I do maintain this one stubborn fantasy: Stitching this seemingly unrelated queue together in the form of vignettes and poems, under the rubric of Diagonal Parking.

So, perhaps another year of clumsy musings and awkward rambling will bring a clearer vision of how I want to write down the bones and form the skeleton of my creative fancy.

Meanwhile, close on its heels is another reverie.

I’d ideally like to take a road trip of indefinite length, and spend time in the indulgence of small towns, explore ghost towns and ruins, ride the asphalt of the Mother Road over and over, dine in cafes, park diagonally, hike and meditate among the lichen/moss-splattered rocks, drive the “loneliest road in Nevada” and let desolation sink deeper into my soul, maybe even squawk with a flock of flamingos and dance the Fandango draped in Spanish moss beneath meandering vines of purple wisteria. And whenever I reach water with a pier, sit with the barnacles and study their formations.

At the moment, I have not a clue how to realize this two-part dream. But, I’m going to set up a matrix and release it. And see what unfolds.

And, if nothing does .  .  . well .  .  . I can always get behind the counter, gaze at the black-and-white checkered flooring, and serve the world its mocha java with a steaming smile.

Or, perhaps, do what I do best: sashay down the sidewalk of Main Street, braid myself into a yoga pose, and observe the world passing by .  . . meditating on all the contradictions and eccentricities it and I contain, while invisibly grinning at my self as I persistently search for the Truth, which I keep swearing to God exists and is accessible.

If only inside a rainbow queue of coffee cups.