You may not believe this about me, but I am a terrible baker. Seriously, if something comes out right, you have to assume it was a fluke. Bearing that in mind, you might wonder why I chose to bake something tonight rather than cook. The answer is simple—too many leftovers! Yes, leftovers are definitely one of the perks of cooking. So, I found a recipe that looked simple enough: “Chewy Oat Squares.” Sounds good, right?
Well, I started how I always seem to start—making a list for Shop Rite. I found everything I needed, or so I thought until I got home and unpacked the bag of groceries. You see, the recipe called for golden cane syrup, but I had somehow written down “pure cane sugar.” Huh?! I then proceeded to waste the next 30 minutes of my evening googling “substitute for golden cane syrup,” only to discover that I would need a candy thermometer (which I don’t have, because I don’t bake) and another hour of my night making it. So, I had no other choice but to use light corn syrup instead. *Sigh*
The other ingredient I got completely wrong was that the recipe called for “sesame seeds,” but I had somehow written down “sunflower seeds.” Seriously, I think I needed an extra cup of coffee today before I made this list. I then thought about how the bars would taste with sunflower seeds so I decided to use the error to my advantage (or so I hoped).
The next thing that completely confused me when I re-read the recipe was that it called for pitted dates. I love dates, and I’ve made muffins with them before, so I know that the best kind are mejdool dates—they are plump and much richer in flavor and texture than the standard small ones usually found near the nuts in the produce section. But, of course, Shop Rite doesn’t carry mejdool dates, and I didn’t feel like making a second stop at Trader Joe’s to pick them up, so I bought the smaller, drier ones that they had. Then, when I read the recipe, it called for only 6 of them and I started to wonder if they were too small, if Cooking Light actually meant mejdool but just didn’t say it, and my confidence plummeted. I decided to double the quantity to 12 and then hope for the best.
My confidence continued to fall as I began to mix all of the ingredients together, and I watched the chocolate chips slowly melt into mush, and then I remembered the photo on Cooking Light’s web site, and I realized that there was no way my bars were going to look like theirs. *another sigh*
So, the verdict? All things considered, they are pretty damn good. I’m still not sure if the chocolate chips were supposed to completely melt, but it works, especially with the dried cherries.
My picky son’s reaction? “It’s good, a little too sweet. I wouldn’t eat it for breakfast, it’s more of a snack.” My daughter’s reaction? “It tastes good. I don’t really like granola bars, but I think it tastes like it’s supposed to. I wouldn’t crave it, though.”
I’d make it again.