Friday, January 28, 2011

Johnny Appleseed Bars

Way back when, shortly after I started this blog, I came across Forgotten Bookmarks, a unique blog written by Mr. Popek, proprietor of a used and rare bookstore.  His blog shares the items that he finds between the pages of the books that come through his shop.  I suspect that this is the kind of shop where one could easily become lost in the stacks.  Glorious.  I'm going there some day.  Sans kids.

Amongst the notes, photos, postcards, and other bits and pieces are handwritten recipes.  The thought had crossed my mind that it might be fun to make them, but I was in the middle of my 365 project and one thing led to another and I never did.  Right now, though, I'm in a bit of a blogging slump, so it seems the time to give some of them a try.  I sent Mr. Popek an email, and he graciously agreed to have me recreate these recipes.  Don't know that I'll have one everyday, but occasionally I'll try one out and see how it turns out.

Today I gave the kids the choice between three recipes for which I had the ingredients, and they chose Johnny Appleseed Bars, because Johnny Appleseed was a character that they had read about, and Adam knew he wore a pot on his head, a necessary accoutrement to any cooking expedition.

So Johnny Appleseed Bars it is.  You can see the original post here.  It was found in a copy of one of my favorite books, a 1943 edition of Charlotte Bronte.  I changed the order of the ingredients for the recipe to make sense.  Here we go:

Peel and slice 2 cups of apples.  I did this first coz I didn't want the dough to get dry while I was doing it.  So.  Peel first.  Plop in water.  Set aside.

Julia took this one, and it shows my weird thumbs in all their glory, so it had to be posted.

You know those doors where you push down the latch with your thumb?  I saw a cartoon the other day, can't think of what it was (Wild Kratts?  Word Girl?), and the bad character, a woman, had one short thumb and couldn't open the door in a moment of crisis. 

I found it sadly amusing.

Beat together 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup oil. 

Then you measure the brown sugar, afterwhich you put the brown sugar down and grab your camera.  After you take the above photo, you reach for the brown sugar to find that it's not there.  You look all over the counter.  You ask the kids what they did with it.  You look again.  You send everyone out of the kitchen so you can look unimpeded.  You want to scream and throw things, but restrain yourself because it just wouldn't be mature.

Then you see, out of the corner of your eye, metal.  And find, to your chagrin, that the brown sugar was...

Still in the bag. 

You ponder the notion that you're gradually losing your mind.

Then you put 2/3 cup sugar in with the egg and such and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda.  Add to the wet ingredients.  Then stir in 1-1/2 cup oats.

Spread half the dough in a 9" square pan.  It doesn't look like there's enough to cover, but there is.  You just have to smoosh it it well.  I greased the pan, even though the recipe doesn't say to, and I'm glad I did.  I don't think they would have come out of the pan very well if I hadn't.

Sprinkle with 1 cup nuts and 2 cup thinly sliced apples.  I used pecans, 'coz that's what I had.

Then put the rest of the dough on top.  The recipe says to smooth with a pancake turner, but I don't think that would work, because it's quite thick and doesn't look smoothable.  I took sections of the dough and flattened it in my hand before placing on top.  Even so, it barely covered.  But it did!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cool.  Sift some confectioner's sugar over top.  If you have a 4-year-old Adam in your house and allow him to sift, you'll end up with what looks like a winter snowstorm all over the top.  Cut into bars. 

They're yummy.

At first, I thought they'd taste just like apple crisp.  They're similar, yes, but not the same.  They so remind me of something my grandmother would make.  Full of hearty goodness.  The kids want to make them again, and both had two pieces.  I think a little bit of whipped cream would be nice on top.

So there you have it.  Who knows when this was written up, but probably not yesterday.  Not that it matters, because good recipes stand the test of time.

So.  Make these. They're a great, wintertime, comfort square.


le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Yummy day ;)

SE'LAH... said...

side note: love Wild Kratts :)

Thanks so much for sharing your recipe here with us. Always good to try making some comfort food in winters long months.

Hope you are well. one love.

Michael said...

They look awesome!

Kate said...

Everything is looking so palatable!
Cooking Quotient Test
How much of a cook are you?

Chris said...

I can so relate about putting something down in my kitchen, especially when baking and not being able to find it. What's really sad is my kitchen is not only small but there are only two counters! How does the stuff disappear? Anyway, I will have to make these bars sooner rather than later! Especially since I want to reach in and take the one on the plate. You are such a tease, funky thumb and all!!!!

Erika Jean said...

Mmmm Those look SO tasty!