Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday baking passes the torch

The first year Mr. Fixit and I were married I made mostly healthy Christmas cookies. Honey, whole wheat and carrots all the way. Then a neighbour (sympathetically?) brought us a huge tray of her Christmas finest, bristling with coloured marshmallows, butterscotch chips and oodles of coconut. (We took most of them to coffee hour at church and they were gone in five minutes.)

The next year I somehow managed to lose the recipe for carrot cookies, and we gradually developed a repertoire of somewhere-in-between Christmas treats that everybody here seems to like: poppyseed shortbread, chocolate fingers, gingerbread, cutout cookies. Apricot-chocolate-bran flake balls (I'll post the recipe for those soon). No silver dragees, but maybe a few sprinkles and chocolate chips. Not too many nuts or coconut, because Mr. Fixit doesn't like them. Definitely none of that candied peel stuff.

But lately, after years of establishing our own slightly-different favourites, I've had this craving for Magic Cookie Bars: one of those retro recipes made with sweetened condensed milk, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, coconut, and walnuts. They are one of those things I just remember being there at Christmas, along with those no-bake sliced coloured marshmallow things some people call Church Windows. I don't even remember so much my mom making those cookies, just that EVERYBODY made them. I have never made Magic Cookie Bars in my life until this week. I've never had to! But it suddenly just...seemed to be time. (Or maybe I was just retro homesick.)

If you want to see an expert cook with perfect fingernails (not me) making Magic Cookie Bars, there's a how-to video on the Eagle Brand Milk website.


Marsha said...

My mom always made these squares. At our house we called them "Hello Dolly" squares but I've also seen them called "5 layer squares". They are SO good ... I remember them even though I haven't had one for about 10 years! I've never figured out a milk-free substitute for sweetened condensed milk.


Mama Squirrel said...

Marsha, I emailed you some links for vegan substitutes.