Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to lose weight at a bake sale

The math works like this:

Cal(cont) - Cal(cons) = Cal(credit)

Where Cal(cont) is the total calories in the baked goods that you contribute to the bake sale, Cal(cons) is the total calories in the baked goods that you purchase and consume from the bake sale.   Cal(credit) is thus your relative caloric savings, which can either be retained as weight loss, or spent on a really nice lunch afterward.

Based on this math, and the recipe below that I brought to the bake sale on Friday, I should now look like Kate Moss*.

Baked Bars
From the oh so tasty (and aptly named) book, Baked.  These things are almost 100% pure concentrated sugar, saved from being coma-inducing by the buttery salty crust, the use of semi-sweet chocolate, and the scattering of tart dried cherries here and there.   Each bite is chewy and creamy, decadent and addictive, and just the thing to hand out to any annoyingly thin people you know.

For the crust:
2 c. (about 6 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 c. finely ground graham crackers (about 20 crackers)
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, melted

For the bars:
1 1/3 c. walnut halves, toasted and chopped
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
3/4 c. dried cherries
2 cans (14 oz. each) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 300.   Prepare a 9x13 baking pan by buttering the bottom and sides, or spraying with cooking spray.  Set that pan aside.

Toast the coconut by spreading out on a separate parchment covered baking sheet, baking for 7 minutes, tossing, then baking for 3 minutes more.  It should be very light golden brown on the tips when you're done.

Put the toasted coconut, the graham cracker crumbs, and the melted butter in a large bowl and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until well combined.

Turn the mixture out into the prepared 9x13 pan, and press evenly over the bottom and about 1/2 an inch up the sides.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake at 300 for 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool crust completely.

Increase the oven temperature to 325.  Spread the chopped walnuts on the bottom of the crust.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the walnuts, then the butterscotch chips, and finally the cherries.   Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the rest of the filling.    Allow to settle, and shake gently if you need to evenly distribute the condensed milk.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly all over.   Set pan on a wire rack and cool completely.   Cut into squares and serve!

* Unfortunately, the corollary formula:  Cal(cons) + Cal(leftover scraps) >= Cal(credit), applied in my particular case.   Undaunted, I'm going to keep trying this "bake myself relatively skinnier" approach, as it's much more pleasant that actually eating less.

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