With the holidays rapidly approaching, I have taken my relationship with chocolate to the next level. We are mutually exclusive and hang out pretty much every day. I don't particularly see this as a problem because I am always ready with the appropriate
1. I am training for a marathon. I need to eat chocolate because it has caffeine in it and I don't drink coffee. (errrmm, right?)
(Sorry but I need to take a quick minute here and just brag about myself. *Standing up on soap box* I ran 12 miles today. In 1:37 minutes. That's an average pace of 8:07, which is pretty darn fast if you ask me. I'm really really ridiculously proud of myself. My swagger today is of "epic" proportions. There is no shame in this girl's game. *Okay stepping off now*)
2. It snowed.
In London. apparently that's a big deal to people.
As in, shut down the city and all forms of public transportation because there are 2 inches of snow on the sidewalks.
(FYI: This man is clearing the snow and ice off the sidewalk outside his storefront. with his FOOT. I watched him for a good solid 5 minutes. Shovel anyone? Shovel? No? Okay.)
Therefore, I need to eat chocolate so I a) don't mockingly laugh at everyone for calling this dusting of snow a disaster and b) my classes were cancelled and if you aren't going to be productive working on presentations and reports, then eating chocolate really is the perfect substitute.
It is with those reasons in mind that I braved the elements this evening to gather ingredients to make a family favorite: Dream Bars. I'm not sure where the name came from. My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. I like to pretend they make your dreams come true. As in, it's okay if you eat half the plate of them in one sitting. It just means you'll become a multimillionaire and win a trip to the Bahamas! I've seen many variations of this tasty treat under many different names, but to me there is only one Dream Bar. and it's main ingredient? chocolate.
Besides 12 oz chocolate chips you need these other things:
(just ignore the red wine in the background. that's for AFTER the baking. or before. or during)
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 oz sweetened coconut
1 can Eagle's Brand condensed milk
1.5 cups crushed graham crackers
aaaaaand my other personal favorite
butter. the real deal. (Butter and I also have an exclusive arrangement. It promises as long as I never cheat on it with margarine, it will prevent the further spread of cellulite. (ain't love grand?)
I was really excited to find the majority of these ingredients at my local grocery store since a lot of my recipes are US based. The only thing the UK doesn't have are graham crackers, they've never even heard of them. After a couple confused looks, I finally found someone who told me to try digestive biscuits.
Digestives? You want to take something called a "digestive biscuit" and use it in my holiday dessert? It seems like something I'd give my grandfather when his prune juice runs low, but ooooookay.
Step 1: preheat oven to 350 and melt 1 stick of butter.
For those of you not living in a kitchen straight out of 1974, you could probably just use a microwave. I had to melt it on the stovetop. Let's pretend that makes me a more legitimate baker, shall we?
Step 2: Crush creepy mystery cracker that sounds like a solution to Irritable Bowl Syndrome instead of a sweet treat and layer with butter into a 9 x 11 pan
Step 3: layer coconut onto graham cracker base
Step 4: test chocolate chips before layering them. (for quality control purposes only. verrryyyy important)
Step 5: drizzle condensed milk over everything until it's completely covered
Step 6: sprinkle the chopped walnut over the top and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
Step 7: hide from your fiance until they are ready to eat. The longer you wait to cut them, the easier it will be. Allow them to cool for while. I usually stick them in the fridge for a couple hours or leave them overnight if I have the time. (but honestly, even if I had the time, I don't think I could hold off that long. Willpower and I do NOT have the same relationship I have with butter and chocolate)
Step 8: cut into individual bars, trying not to lick the pan clean in the process
Step 9: devour
If it's possible, the digestives actually made these Dream Bars even better than usual! Baking success! Now I could try to tell you the walnuts provide protein and healthy fats and that I used "Light" milk, but who am I kidding. The ingredients are basically: sugar, chocolate and butter. and I couldn't ask for more.
No, seriously. Please, no more. I've already had 4 and now I have a stomach ache.