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
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.