Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tipsy Baker: Halloween Hangover

It's been over a week since Halloween graced our jack-o-lanterned doorsteps and perhaps over an hour since the leftover candy has graced my waistline. I was taken in by the siren song of individually wrapped packets of candy corn, thinking "Oh, Halloween's on Saturday this year, we'll have a ton of kids showing up," and I bought an ambitious amount of candy. We were able to give away a bit of the goods, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped, so we're of course awash in sweets that tempt us every time we walk in and out of the kitchen. My sugar-addled brain came to the conclusion that making Botched Butterscotched Bars with Candy Corn was a nifty plan, even though the candy corn was only for garnish and we now have cake to go with candy.

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake... if you're feeling boozy - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Given that it's baking and Homie don't play with a smidge of this and a dash of that, I used a recipe. However, a glass or two of wine made my head foggy and I used the wrong amounts, thankfully to non-catastrophic results. And thus, Tipsy Baking was born.

I used a basic butterscotch bar cookie recipe from a tattered copy of The Joy of Cooking that my mom threw into a moving box when I made the trek out to Washington. I used more flour and butter than the original recipe, and it resulted in a more dense, cakey bar. Realizing the mistake, I remade the recipe using the correct measurements, but it resulted in more of a toffee-like bar that seemed confused over whether or not it wanted to be candy or a cookie. Comparing the two batches, I have to admit the tipsy batch using the mistaken quantities had a more pleasing texture, almost like a caramel pound cake. When the pan of just-baked cake emerged from the oven, I pressed in the candy corn in ample-spaced rows. The heat from the cake softened the candy corn, just enough to help fuse it to the surface. Granted, this didn't really whittle down our supply of candy corn as much as I'd hoped, but at least the finished bars looked pretty.

Because the bars are so dense and sweet, small petit four-sized portions seemed the most appropriate, lest we turn into Mike Myers' Phillip, the Hyper-Hypo kid from 1990s SNL. In uncharacteristic Wasabi manner, I'm listing the botched-up recipe below. Wine-drinking optional but highly recommended.

Indy's keen disguise may have worked on others, but we are not fooled. No cake for you! - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Botched Butterscotched Bars (adapted/wrecked from The Joy of Cooking)
* makes up to 20 small, bite-sized bars

1 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sifted cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

20-30 candy corn candies (for optional decoration)

Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with a criss-cross of parchment paper, so that all the surfaces are covered; this will make for easy removal once it's baked. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn burner on to medium, take a small saucepan and melt butter and dissolve brown sugar. Mix until incorporated and turn off heat. Wait until the mixture cools slightly and slowly incorporate the eggs; can temper them in to be sure they don't scramble. Add in vanilla extract.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Take the wet ingredients and slowly incorporate with the dry until mixture is fully combined into a loose, sticky batter. Pour batter into lined baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, checking midway through and rotating pan for even cooking. Use a toothpick to check center for doneness -- toothpick should come out clean when it's finished baking.

When cake is baked, remove from oven to cool. While still hot, press candy corn into surface in three or four well-spaced rows. Each cut bar should have one candy corn in the center. Remove cake using parchment paper and allow to cool on a rack. Once fully cooled, cut into small bite-sized squares and serve.

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  1. Too much fun! Cooking whilst a bit tipsy! I've been there and as long as you aren't going overboard, you can have a good time AND, as in your case, come up with incredible creations! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sometimes (drunken) mistakes can lead to new recipes or improvements of old ones--as you discovered here. These are very cute, I like that you had little petit fours papers just lying around? Very chic! ANd the picture of Indy...I'm dying. She's adorable.

  3. I hope it wasn't the sugar that turned your dogs hair that great shade of purple. I agree with Hungry Dog, mistakes in the kitchen often result in wonderful discoveries.

  4. Oh, Indy Indy Indy- you seem just like my cat- always trying to swoop in all costumed up trying to snatch a spare scrap!

    And Ms. Wasabi- isn't it great that happy accidents often result from copious consumption of nice vino :)

  5. your butter scotch bar looks great! and indy was so cute with that wig on. lol

  6. Love the bars, love the wig, love the post!

  7. They look absolutely great. It's very pretty and butterscotch are quite addicting. I could finish the whole pan if I can't control myself. I think your dog is also tipsy.

  8. Oh Wasabi, this exactly the kind of post that keeps me coming back--you are both charming and witty in your stories.
    Don't worry if you didn't get any cake...we know you are spoiled...doesn't like like a floor (or dog bed) you were laying on.

  9. Your Butterscotched Bars look delicious, but I think your dog steals the show. :)

  10. hilarious recount! haven't heard the 'homie don't play that' in years-bravo! Oh, and your butterscotch bars look entirely too good. Please remove them from the Internet post haste to prevent me from eating my laptop. Thx!

  11. LOL, tipsy baking? That's called Friday night for me. Ha! Just kidding. I like the idea though, even though I don't bake a lot. But making things with alcohol, oh, I'm so there. ;-)

  12. The bite-size butterscotch bars sound sinfully delicious... but the wig is totally irresistible!

    Really enjoyed reading your post! So fun... :)

  13. What do you know, it turned out wonderfully. But it's better not to get drunk next time! And stop torturing your dog...Anyway, it looks awesome good with that purple hair on. hahaha....

  14. Denise you are too funny - this post totally had me cracking up. And yeah, caramel pound cake sounds absolutely delicious!

  15. Although I'm not much of a baker, I am a huge proponent of tipsy baking, tipsy anything really. Though anything I bake under the influence would not have turned out as wonderfully as your botched bars.

  16. Can we be friends so I can nom nom your butterscotch bars?

  17. What a fun treat! That would be the perfect entry for our Halloween Recipe Contest! You can read all about it here. I hope you decide to enter it!


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