Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Sweet Visit


My nephew is in town. This is exciting for us, as we've had small contact with him since he joined the army. He's only home for 18 days of leave, but it's so great to be able to see him and give him a hug and know that he's OK.

I was there the day he was born. I made a Birth Day cake for my sister as she labored, making her laugh between contractions (not a nice thing to do to a woman in labor). Her labor went on and on, so I wasn't able to be there when Daniel finally made his appearance.


He was the cutest little boy; a pointy chin and large dark eyes dominated a face that usually had an impish grin on it. When he was still a tot in diapers my sister and I took him with us to a homeschool supplier's warehouse sale that was an hour and a half from our homes, out in the wild woods. There were crowds of people, but they were all nice homeschoolers and their kids, so we had our radar down just a bit. Then we discovered Daniel wasn't playing with the other children, where we thought he was. Escalating panic ensued as we searched for him. Just when my sister was about to get hysterical, a kind woman came up the long, twisting drive, with Daniel in hand. She said she'd found him at the end of the 1/4 mile driveway where it entered the road. When she asked him his name, he tearfully replied, "My name is Daniel, but my mommy calls me Sweet Cheeks Chocolate Bar."

Daniel had a favorite pair of Salt Water Sandals that he wore till his feet couldn't squeeze into them any more. They were lime green and we called them his hoppy frog sandals, telling him that they'd help him jump higher. He wore them everywhere. When my other sister got married, Daniel wore a three piece suit, a red bow tie, and his green hoppy frog sandals.


Long gone are the days of the hoppy frog sandals. Daniel is now an RTO in the army, serving in Iraq. We only get to hear what his life is like through the blog his mother maintains. And we pray for him every night to return home safely.

When I heard he was coming home, I of course had to make him cookies. And the cookies that came to mind were these ooey, gooey, chocolatey bar cookies. I had made them many years ago to take to a family gathering. As I was eating my dinner on the porch, my nephew sat down beside me with a cookie in his hand. "Aunt Lynn," he said, "these cookies are like a little piece of heaven."

It's a little piece of heaven for us to have you home, Daniel.

Piece of Heaven Bars

1 3/4 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, (optional)
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 12-oz jar caramel ice cream topping


Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Grease bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

COMBINE oats, 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Stir in butter; mix well. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan.

BAKE for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with morsels and nuts. Mix caramel topping with remaining flour in small bowl; drizzle over nuts to within 1/4- inch of pan edges. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.

BAKE for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack; refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.

23 comments:

Big Boys Oven said...

You are such an adorable aunt!

VeggieGirl said...

What a wonderful, touching story - those Piece of Heaven Bars are DEFINITELY wonderful treats to share with your "Piece of Heaven" nephew ;0)

Kelly-Jane said...

These bars look so tempting and good. Hope you all enjoy your time with Daniel at home :)

Grace said...

aww...i'm getting all emotional--your touching words made me all goosebumpy.
i'm glad you get to spend some time with your nephew! thank him for me, would you?

Deborah said...

Sweet Cheeks Chocolate Bar - I love it!! I hope you enjoy your time with your nephew!

Peabody said...

Little piece of heaven indeed. Those look so very good.

Baking Soda said...

A wonderful post Lynn (He will love you even more when his buddies figure out how his mother used to call him...)

Culinary Cowgirl said...

You are a proud aunt, indeed. Your nephew is lucky to have you. (And that recipe is delightful.)

Melinda said...

The 'sweet cheeks chocolate bar' story is wonderful.
I'm glad you got to see him on leave and make him some Auntie Lynn heaven.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

My bet is that those bars will be the best food he's had in quite a while...

Bellini Valli said...

Enjoy every moment when your nephew is here. I'm sure that your squares were enjoyed by all:D

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

A very appropriate name! They do look like pieces of heaven! I'm a sucker for anything with caramel topping!

Melanie C. said...

That is such a sweet story--for some reason it made me cry! I am a mother of sweet little boys--and thinking of those "sweet cheek and hoppy sandals" days being gone someday just makes me want to cherish them even more! What a wonderful Aunt you are! It is such a blessing to have your children surrounded with people who love them so much! Thanks for the recipe and post!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a cute, adorable boy, Lynn! And that is a delicious nickname he had. :)

These bars look wonderful, Lynn - the idea of using caramel ice cream topping is genius!

Aimée said...

That is too sweet, Lynn. Enjoy your time with Daniel and be sure to bake him plenty of goodies!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That would be a little piece of heaven to have him home. You have my heart with this one Lynn.
The Heaven Bars are divine!

Gretchen Noelle said...

This brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet post. I am sure it is a true blessing to be able to visit with him, even if only for a few weeks. Enjoy your time!

LyB said...

I know I've told you before, but Lynn, I love your stories. And I would also love those bars, they sure look heavenly!

Lina said...

Awww, what a sweet story. Those cookies do indeed look like a piece of heaven!

Kristen said...

This post gave me chills... a gentle reminder that those over in Iraq are someones baby boy.
Glad, soooo glad, he is home safe! Please tell him thank you from my family for his service.

Marcia said...

Lynn, I'm going to start leaving tissues on my desk before I read your posts. Your heartfelt writing always leaves me in tears. May God bring your nephew home safely! The cookies are delicious too.

Alya said...

This is one of the most beautiful heartfelt recipe/story I've ever read!

I'm afraid that when I make it, I'm going to fall down blubbering!

Erica said...

All of your recipes look INCREDIBLE. I am trying to decide which one to try first! Amazing work-bravo!