Saturday, December 4, 2010

Getting Hired: Pumpkin Bars

My husband's always been a big fan of "The Bar" desserts.  For those of you who don't know what these are... think "sweet casserole."  I always figured this had something to do with the fact that my husband grew up in a household that was pretty entrenched in the church.  Monthly potluck dinners, weekly youth group, a father who served (and still serves) as an Elder, a mother who is the choir director...

And when churches interview for choir directors, it usually goes something like this:

"Nice to have you here!  Now we have a few questions for you." 

"You have a degree in music, I see.  And how are you at running the nursery?  We gear ours towards birth through 3rd grade."

"Ah!  Classically trained!  Great!  We'll need you to run our Contemporary Service.  But make sure it's low key enough to not make our older crowd mad, but loud and raucous enough to pull in the young people.  You can do that, right?  Do you know how to play the drums?"

"And before we go... how are you at the dessert bars?  We try to have a potluck once a month and some of our older folks are starting to put cat food in theirs (...can't stop thinking about Christmas Vacation!!!)."

Dessert bars happen to be my mother-in-laws speciality.  She's been their choir director now, for about 30 years.

So tell me I'm wrong.

Here's the Pumpkin Bar.  Maybe your calling is be a choir director.  You'll have a headstart on the other fools who only know how to bake cupcakes.

What you'll need:

1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 Cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350*.  Combine all these ingredients and mix until it crumbles.  Press on the bottom of ungreased 13x9 inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

3/4 Cup white sugar
2 1/4 Cup pumpkin puree
1 Can evaporated milk
2 Eggs
2 1/4 Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Combine all these ingredients and beat on medium for about a minute or two. It will be very soupy.  That's okay. Pour over crust.  Bake for 30 minutes.  And then combine the two ingredients below.

1 Cup pecans, chopped
1/4 Cup brown sugar, packed

Sprinkle the pecan topping over the pumpkin filling and bake for another 30-40 minutes.  Like most recipes, if you use canned puree, you probably won't have to bake it as long... so keep an eye on it and take it out when you can slip a knife in it, and it comes out clean.  Cool completely in the pan.  And this is what you'll get...

Good enough to get you hired!  I promise!

Eat My Words: Pumpkin Toaster Strudels

Disclaimer: Our computer died on Thanksgiving night.  That's why I'm so late in updating.  I was grieving.

So, I had to go and make a snide little joke about getting an unfortunate headcold, before my big day of walking.

And guess who got herself a headcold?

I sneezed so many times, I started to loose bladder control.  Only other women will know what I'm talking about here.

Then today, I coughed so hard, I'm pretty sure I cracked a rib.  No joke.  I can't bend over, lay down, or sit in a chair.  I've gotten very comfortable standing, while I eat dinner. I'm still a little uncomfortable doing other things while standing. But I won't go there.

Anyway, all that's to say... I did not do the 5k.  (Hangs head in shame.)  I know.  I felt horribly... while I stayed warmly tucked into my sweatpants, my family braved the 14* morning to exercise.

Here's my husband, parents, and Aunt...

Apparently, something on my Aunt's hiney was very interesting.

While Brett and my Dad were off trying to keep up with my Aunt and my Mom... I made Pumpkin Toaster Strudels.  Oh.  My.  Yummy.

What you'll need, to feel the desire to lick your fingers, like so (hey, he earned it!):

Pumpkin Butter (find the recipe here)
Puff Pastry
Powered Sugar
Half and Half

Thaw your frozen pastry for about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375*.  Cut into 4x10 strips.  Ladle approximately two tablespoons of Pumpkin Butter onto one half of the strip, and fold the dough over on  itself.  Crimp the edges really good with a crimper or a fork.  Bake for 35 minutes or until beautifully gold and flaky.  

While their baking, take about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and a tablespoon or two of half and half (any milk or even water, will do just as well) and mix to make a runny, glaze-ish, type icing.  When the pastries come out of the oven, plate them up and drizzle the icing on top.

Still can't believe I wasn't able to walk the 5k (you'll notice I've dropped ALL launguage that involves running, jogging, or otherwise exerting massive amounts of energy). 

Maybe next year. Yeah.  Next year.