Saturday, September 3, 2011
The start of the school year is synonomous with the start of fall. Even if fall doesn't really start at the same time that school does (it was 97 degrees earlier this week...which translated to around 105 or so in my husband's upstairs, west-facing, non-airconditioned classroom), it still brings on the first hints of the fall-type feeling that I love so much.
The transitional seasons are my favorite. In March, spring is my favorite season...but in September, Fall totally takes the cake. I think that I might love these seasons so much because they were fairly non-existant where I grew up (New Mexico). In New Mexico, it seemed like you moved directly from Summer to Winter and then back again. I remember driving around one Fall my first year of college, when I saw my first real, live, brilliantly red maple tree. It was magnificent.
These bars taste a bit like Fall to me, which is why I felt compelled to make them at the start of the season. My husband thinks that I'm crazy that my baking is a tad seasonal. Some things that I make can be made year-round. But some things belong to a season, and it just doesn't feel right making them outside of it. These bars, for example. Or my Harvest Bars, which will likely make an appearance around October (harvest time, duh).
The recipe originally came from The Brown Eyed Baker, but I've made some every so slight changes to the recipe below.
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
With and electric mixer, beat together the butter for about 30 seconds on medium. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy and well-mixed (around 2 minutes). Add the eggs, beating after each addition (about 30 seconds), add the vanilla. Beat until everything is well combined - scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure that everything is incorporated.
Adjust mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined (don't overmix).
Spread evenly in the prepared pan. This is a thicker batter, so spreading it isn't the easiest thing in the world - an offset spatula or stiff table knife works best.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping, and sprinkle evenly over the batter.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.