Wednesday, February 9, 2011
If The Pants Fit...
A great party conversation starter is the question "If you could be in a movie, what movie would it be?"
Contrary to what some might think, my automatic answer would not be Pride and Prejudice. First of all, it's a television series, not a movie (at least the correct version is). Secondly, Mr. Darcy only has eyes for Elizabeth Bennet, so what would be the point?
No, my pick would be for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Surprised? You don't think I have much in common with a clique of whiny, self-centered, teenagers, out looking for fun? Well, I might, but that's not the reason I picked that movie. You see, I'd be in the opening scene where they're shopping in the thrift store and they find the amazing pants that magically fit any body. You would spot me in the background as the girls are walking in the door; I'd be the one at the cash register BUYING THOSE JEANS BEFORE THEM!
I hate jeans shopping more than I hate going to the dentist. I get weary of taking pants on and off and on and off and looking at myself in the mirror with all of my bumps, lumps and bulges prominently displayed. And my panty line, too, if they're particularly tight jeans. I get so tired of the process that I end up grabbing a pair and saying, "Fine, these are the least loathsome. I'll buy them."
Then I take them home and the minute I put them on I realized I've made a huge mistake. Again. That's why there are 12 pairs of jeans in my bedroom, but when it was time to run a jeans load in the washer, I took off my jeans and walked around the house in my socks and a jacket. It's a longish jacket, but my son still covered his eyes with his hands. (Too much information?)
Anyway, the point is that I want magic jeans. Awesome jeans that fit right no matter what time of the month it is. Jeans that don't sag in back, making me look like a plumber's helper. Jeans that don't bunch at the top of the legs. Jeans that don't allow strangers to know what brand of underwear I buy. Is that too much to ask for?
You see, if I had magic jeans, I'd be able to eat as much of these wonderful bars as I like and still be able to have pants to wear. That's saying a lot because these bars are addictively good. Trust me, just one will not suffice. One is like the prelude. You'll come back again and again for that hit of shortbread, nuts, and chocolate. And then you'll be fighting me at the thrift shop for that pair of magic jeans!
Adapted from Very Merry Cookie Party
Yield: 48 squares
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. The dough might be a bit sticky. Use the butter wrapper to press the dough down into the pan.
3. Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
5. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula.