I've spent the last two weeks relishing Cville without students. Campus has been so quiet that walking across it to and from the apartment shuttle has been relaxing in and of itself. Then, coming home and bundling up in a hand-knit quilt, cooking and baking, watching Netflix, visiting friends, having friends visit... it's been lovely.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end, and a new semester starts in 2 days. I came home briefly this past weekend
Really though, I think it's the lack of Symbolic Logic alone that has me anticipating a good semester.
That, and I have a bunch of dessert recipes lined up to try.
Oh, and Spain in 5 months, but that's no big deal [read: I'm counting down the days desperately].
Today was Raj and Hershil's birthday. Twenty years old. Goodness. Everyone's turning twenty, and leaving me in the dust! But that's alright. [I just get to stay wrinkle-free for longer.]
For the occasion, I baked them some famous gooey butter cakes. These rich cakes, though, more like bars because it's impossible to eat an actual slice of this thing without dying of sugar overdose, originated in St. Louis in the 1930's. They started out as coffee cakes, rather than dessert cakes, but over time the yellow-cake-and-cream-cheese-topping variation turned it into a sugary-sweet, after-dinner treat.
For this batch, I added some toffee bits, which is my standard adaptation of Paula's recipe [though sometimes I'll toss in half a cup of chopped pecans as well]. I don't know, I just like the crunch of the toffee, and the nuts help to offset the sweetness a little bit. I've never tried a chocolate variation of this, though, but I'm sure it would taste just as phenomenal.
The first time I ever baked these was a few years back, for a dear old friend who loved them. So much so that I'm pretty sure I baked these for him a number of times, and the repeated practice is how I initially got really into baking bar desserts. They're just so portable, and versatile, and make excellent gifts, and are delicious.
That, and Nitya referred to these as "applesauce bars," for reasons I'm not quite sure of, seeing as how there is absolutely no applesauce in them, nor do they taste at all like apple. Maybe it's the consistency? Except that it's not? -shrug- She always was an odd one...
Happy birthday, boys :)