thank your favorite birthing team ::::
In preparation for our big day to welcome Baby Girl into the fold, I not only packed a bag with cute going-home clothes for her, my toothbrush, a hairbrush, a few forgiving pseudo-maternity outfits for photographs (taking the focus on my haggard but happy face), some makeup, a book, and a laptop, but also a thank you gift to the staff. I baked and cooked a little more than usual as of late, seeing as maternity leave has started out as a waiting game — no complaints. Besides planning for the usual casserole-style food stuffed into the freezer for later (didn’t happen!), stocking up on cereal for the kids, and making sure Eat has something unfrozen to subsist on for at least a few days while I am out of commission in the hospital, I made some pre-celebratory pink cupcakes (more on those in a future post) and a sweet, edible gift for the hospital staff. What better than a patient with gestational diabetes to bake a sweet, carb-laden dessert to express thanks? One that I shouldn’t eat. (Well, a couple crumbly bites, you know, to just make sure everything tastes okay. A diabetic amuse bouche, of sorts.)
It was the highly approved fudgy oatmeal bar recipe that won out here. Few people can resist chocolate bar cookies. I add fudge to the mix, and I’ve pretty much ensnared the whole staff to at least seriously consider a taste. This recipe first came from my mom, the product sent home with me when in medical school, after visiting my parents for a weekend. I made them again in residency for a potluck for a staff member. When the nurses raved about the cookies and asked for the recipe, I easily passed it on to them. It’s simple enough for most bakers to approach, but tastes a lot more complex than a typical chocolate-chip cookies (which, in all honesty, are not my favorites — ah! the blasphemy!).
I made these a couple of days before Baby Girl was born, cut them and wrapped them tightly in foil and plastic, stored in the fridge until the big day. They freeze well also, after baked and cut into squares. I fully expected a little more lag between baking and birthing, but Sky-Girl decided to show a tad early. Here she is, born today, snuggled sleeping next to me wth her soft buttery skin, her cinnamon swirl hair, and chocolate drop eyes. Thanks again, birthing staff. You are making our stay comfortable and welcoming! Enjoy the sweet, food and baby cheeks alike.
That all being said, I’m taking a break, people. My body is exhausted from hormone fluctuations, surgery, baby cuteness, and unfortunately pre-emptive sleep deprivation. I’ll be back in a month? Three weeks? I’ll see how long it takes me to get into the kitchen. My parents-in-law and parents will be visiting in the next two months. No doubt my kitchen will be filled with the mothers’ wonderful cooking. And I’ll have my hands a little full. *;)*
One year ago: thai iced tea
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, from which 2 tablespoons are divided
- 2 cups light brown sugar + 1 teaspoon molasses (alternatively, you can use dark brown sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3¼ cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
- 12 ounces of chocolate chips (I used 10 ounces of bittersweet and 2 ounces of milk chocolate)
- 1½ tablespoons Amaretto (alternatively, you can use 2 teaspoons almond extract instead)
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (3 ounces = about 28 grams) - pecans make a good substitute
- Butter a 9x13-inch pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a hand held electric beater or standing mixer in a large bowl, beat 10 ounces butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and oatmeal. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, gently melt and stir to combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Be careful not to burn the chocolate - use low heat or use a double boiler. Stir in the Amaretto and walnuts.
- Stir in oatmeal mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, combining well. Spread ⅔ of the dough into prepared pan, pressing evenly throughout to create the bottom crust. Spread this crust with the chocolate-nut mixture. Dot with remaining dough, like a oatmeal mosaic of sorts, chocolate peeking out from below (see my photo in the post).
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool to almost room temp before slicing.
- These are very rich bars so cut into small squares to serve. If feeling indulgent, serve with a scoop of raspberry-vanilla ice cream (see my ice cream post for that wonderful recipe).