Saturday, November 6, 2010

Follow your bliss.....but watch for brake lights.

My lovely sister in law asked me for this recipe, and I can't say no to her - she is funny, generous, and very crafty...not like sneaky, but craft-proficient, and I have been the beneficiary of her talents for many years. She is also an inspiration - she walked with a limp due to being the loser in a wrestling match with her brother when she was young, which having her hip replaced a couple years ago has all but erased. Since then she has also gotten considerably leaner - I asked her how she did it and she said "Smaller portions". GAAAH.

Well, I think everyone KNOWS that will help, but few are willing to go the distance and make it practice; when you go to a restaurant and order prime rib, what they bring you is about the size of a deck of cards...yeah, those GIANT Mickey Mouse decks Walt Disney invented to soak you for even more cash when you go to his rodent-infested park. You have to re-train your brain to see that tiny piece of sirloin as a side of beef roasting on a spit, just like in the cartoons when Chip and Dale are stranded in a rowboat on the open seas and they start hallucinating the other as an entire turkey dinner. And why the hell would two chipmunks be in a rowboat anyway? Mmmmm, chipmunk.....

But yeah, smaller portions. So I sent some cookies to the funeral of my SIL's niece, and got a request from her and a couple of her sisters - if there is ever a zombie invasion on earth, I will be seeking them out as even the undead wouldn't mess with those girls. That and my grandson, who is apparently a zombie killer savant...don't ask. So here you go ladies, and I hope that eventually these will not remind you of the sadness of her early passing, but of the joy she brought into your and others lives.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I have always admitted to grand larceny when it comes to copycat recipes - I say if you're not going to share, you should be flattered that there are those out there so enamored of your product that they will break down the elements and come up with a look/taste alike for those of us who don't want to take out a loan to get a mocchachino and a muffin every morning. So thank you to that lovely store on every corner that these originated from...these truly are "Stars"!

Cake base:
1 C. butter (2 sticks, use margarine if you don't care about quality or taste)
1-1/4 C. brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 tsp. ground ginger (I personally would back off to 1/2, but not a big fan)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. minced dried cranberries
1/4 C. quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (use a Lindt candy bar...mmm)
1/4 C. minced candied ginger (BULK's expensive in a jar)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 T. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

2 T. minced dried cranberries
1/3 C. white chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Beat butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add ginger and salt and mix, then mix in flour and beat well. Fold in cranberries, chocolate and ginger, spread in pan and bake at 350 20-25 minutes or until light golden. Cool completely.

Beat frosting ingredients until smooth and fluffy, spread over COMPLETELY cooled cake....if you don't it will start to melt, and then you'll be sorry. Immediately sprinkle with cranberries so they stick. Now for the melted chocolate. I found that putting the chocolate into a small ziploc bag and melting in the microwave with it UNSEALED worked perfectly, and there was no pesky bowl or spoon to wash. You just throw it in for about 30 seconds, then use your fingers to make sure it's all melted and squished down to one corner. Snip just a tiny corner off the bag and drizzle all over the top of the icing/cranberries. Cut while still warm - it's prettier than when the chocolate hardens and tends to break up a bit when you cut it.

This recipe says it makes 15 servings, but I don't cut stuff in odd numbers - it's half, quarters, then however big or small you want to make them....shoot, it could be 4 if you're feeling like a pig, but that's what I'm referring to in the you have some fat pants? Enjoy these with a "ghetto mocha"....stir half a package of cocoa mix into the cheap but work provided coffee and thumb your nose at the corner coffee pimp down the street - you'll be a "star" WITH bucks if you do-it-yourself!

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