Welcome to Crap I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You About, 7th Edition.
ebony-the-cat has been under the weather. We have to administer eye drops every 12 hours for the rest of her life. (Thus, our fun is now planned in increments of no more than 12 hours.) When I had to take ebony to the vet last week, 2.0 came home from work just to see her before her appointment. He wanted to tell her that he loves her and would feel bad if anything happened to her, and then he kissed her head. When I went for my MRI a couple of weeks ago, 2.0 did NOT stop by to check on me, say he loved me, or kiss me on my head. As he left for work that morning, he said I should let him know if they decided to keep me at the hospital indefinitely so he could bring me a change of underpants.
I’m heading to New York in December! Actually, I’m headed to Hoboken, but close enough. My brother asked me to join him there as he’s flying over from France for business. After we organized our trip, my brother emailed me the following message:
… have you heard of some show called Cake Boss? I guess some guy from that has a shop in Hoboken.
Have I heard of Cake Boss? Cripes. Try not hearing of Cake Boss. I guess in France they aren’t into motorized cake towers held together with plywood, Rice Krispies and fondant.
If you’re having a bad day or dating, read this: The Fart That (Almost) Altered My Destiny, by Anna Lind Thomas. You’ll feel better, promise. Also, I almost pooped my pants a few months ago. On a busy street. I’m still pretty rattled about it, so let’s leave it at that for now. (I trust you noted that this information has been filed under Crap I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You About.)
And finally, my sister sent this nice side by side comparison of her dog and a younger me:
Let’s talk about these squares. They are one of my most favourite treats. My mummy used to make them for me every Christmas, but now she makes them for 2.0. She brings them to the holiday table, puts them in front of him and says something like, “I made these just for you! Because they’re your favourite!”
She used to say that to me.
These squares are a sweet, decadent treat – best sliced small due to their richness. The base is chocolatey, and studded with walnuts and finely chopped Mr. Christie’s Arrowroot Biscuits – a classic here in Canada. I’m sure you can find something similar where you live – look for a thin, arrowroot biscuit. I don’t have a substitute for you because a) I live in Canada, and b) they’re called Arrowroot Squares for a reason. The chocolate base is topped with a very thin layer of melted chocolate – think of it as a sealant. That thin chocolate grouting is then slathered with vanilla icing, which is then topped with a generous Pollock-inspired drizzling of melted chocolate. The bite is relatively soft – not chewy or crisp – though the chocolate drizzle has a satisfying snap under the teeth. There’s no baking involved – only a little stovetop magic to prepare the base. These squares are best when chilled – in fact, don’t attempt slicing until they’ve been refrigerated for at least a couple of hours. Trust.
. . .
recipe: slightly adapted from a family recipe, with adjustments to the method and notes
Yields one 9×9 inch square baking pan.
For the base:
- 30 Mr. Christie’s Arrowroot Biscuits*, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1.5 ounces (1 1/2 baker’s squares) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
*if using another brand of arrowroot biscuits, scale them at about 6.9 ounces or 196 grams
For the icing:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
For the topping:
- 2 ounces (2 baker’s squares) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe. Measure out all of your ingredients. These squares require at least two hours of chilling before slicing – be sure you’ve allowed enough time.
Lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
Begin by making the base. Combine the chopped arrowroot biscuits and walnuts in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, cook the eggs, cocoa, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt (stirring frequently) until very thick – a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and add to the cookies and nuts, stirring well to combine. Press into the bottom of your prepared baking pan.
Immediately (while the base is still warm) spread the 1.5 ounces of melted chocolate over the base – it will be a very thin coating. Allow to set as you prepare the icing.
To make the icing, cream the butter in a medium-sized bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer, until soft and light. Add 1 cup of the icing sugar, salt, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the milk, and mix until well blended (start at low speed and then increase to medium). Add the remaining cup of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk, and beat until creamy and smooth (again, start at low speed and then increase to medium).
Spread the icing evenly over the square base with a small offset spatula or pallet knife.
For the topping, melt the 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle with a small whisk over the icing layer.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before cutting into small squares. The longer the chill, the easier the slice.
Store in the refrigerator. These squares freeze well.