Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Yesterday, I was quaffing my first morning cup of coffee in a desperate attempt to wake up and face my usual Thursday marathon. It's a killer--I bake challohs and cakes and still have to generate food for my brood and slug through the laundry. That would be fine except that I also work for a living. I try to churn out at least 3 articles a day.

So there I was dosing myself with caffeine and going through my inbox when I came upon a digest from one of my yahoo groups: the Israel-food list. It is rare for me to weigh in on threads there or pose questions. It's just not my focus these days and I've been thinking about setting this group to "no mail."

But I made a quick scan of this particular digest and something truly weird caught my eye: a thread that began with Mirj Weiss' request for recipes to trick her husband on April Fool's Day.

The suggestions were DISGUSTING and I found myself rolling my eyes. Meatloaf with a hotdog in the center so that each slice came out with a neat little round of frankfurter in the middle. Meatloaf "cupcakes" with mashed potato icing. FEH. I was SO grossed out.

At any rate, I finally moved my duff out of my office chair and into the kitchen to put up my challoh dough. I was slugging through my cooking tasks (when will I ever be able to just take my time cooking and really enjoy it instead of rushing through things and feeling pressured to get to something else??) and got to the point where I was grating garlic cloves on my microplane for our lunchtime meal of chicken fajitas when I grated my thumb.

Nothing new. I'm a klutz, pure and simple, and I'm always cutting and grating myself, sometimes to the point of needing stitches. I managed to bandage my thumb which was bleeding like a stuck pig, but we had these really low-quality bandaids (won't buy those again) and they kept falling off every time I washed my hands.

Now one cannot cook without washing hands. It won't work. And I really don't want to have rubber-glove flavored fajitas which would be the likely result were I to wear gloves to cover my bandaged thumb. Besides, I was in too much of a hurry to stop and put on a glove. I was cooking with grease by now, well-caffeinated and in the groove (if a very klutzy groove).

So I got up, put on a new bandaid, and went on to mixing the batter for my Peanut Buddy Bars, or as we call these chocolate-iced peanut butter brownies: Nutty Buddy Bars. I was adding the eggs and vanilla to the creamed margarine, peanut butter, and sugar mixture when I realized my thumb was no longer bandaged.

EEK! Did it fall into the batter?? I looked around. No sign of a bandage on the kitchen counter where I was working. Not on the floor. GAWD! It must be in the batter.

I looked in the bowl, but couldn't find anything that looked bandaid-like in the mass of bandaid-colored batter. I dug out a wooden spoon and moved the mixture around in an attempt to spot the bandaid and fish it out, but nothing doing: I couldn't find the darned thing.

Then I remembered the thread on the Israel-Food list and things went from bad to worse. You know those cartoons where the good conscience and the bad conscience whisper in the character's ears: "Do it, they'll never know, MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA!" and "Don't do it, Varda. Don't listen to him!"

I thought: "I'll just bake the batter anyway, as is, and when someone finds my bloody bandaid, I'll say, 'April Fool's!'"

I even imagined posting this to the Israel-Food list and the laughs this note would surely generate.

Then I shook my head. HARD. And came back to reality.

Taking a deep breath, I plunged my hand (not the bloody-thumbed one) into the batter and felt around until I found the darned thing. I waved it in the air for an invisible audience, thinking, "SUCCESS!"

Of course, someone else would have deemed the batter unsanitary by now, thrown out the batter, and begun again. But I'm not someone else.

April Fool's!

Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ t. salt
2 cups chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350.

In large mixer bowl, beat peanut butter and butter or margarine until smooth, about 1 minute.

Add sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; beat until creamy.

Blend in flour and salt.

Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Spread into ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

Immediately, sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over cookie layer.

Let stand 5 minutes until chips become shiny and soft.

Spread melted chips evenly over top. Cool completely. Cut into 1 ½ inch bars. Makes 48 bars.