What do you get when you mix three Italians, preparing three different meals and one kitchen?
World War III
Okay, maybe it’s not that drastic, but it isn’t pretty!
This weekend, we had a Saturday and Sunday full of familia festivities. Despite my mom purchasing desserts of her own, I was determined to contribute to our Easter Sunday gathering. I cannot cook to save my life. I can barely microwave a steam-able bag of vegetables without burning them; therefore, baking is my go-to. Baking for others is important to me, and I was excited to share this with my family. However, trying to reserve time in the kitchen while my mom and grandma were preparing their Easter dishes proved challenging.
On Saturday, my brother and sister-in-law visited with Peanut. Although I wasn’t baking for their visit, trying to bake while Peanut napped proved to be an interesting feat. My lemon bars were easy enough to prepare, but the real challenge was my caramel stuffed cookie bars. When it comes to our oven, baking can be a little tricky. If I try to bake cookies at 350 degrees, within six minutes the bottoms burn and the middle is left raw. Anytime I bake, I have to reduce the heat and cook it for longer. Heading into this recipe, I knew a thirty minute cookie bar wasn’t going to be a thirty minute cookie bar. My reserved time slot in the kitchen was ending, and I felt bad that I was missing out on Peanut time. Hoping for the best, I removed the caramel bars from the oven.
Unfortunately, as good as the caramel bars looked, upon cutting them, the entire top-half came pouring out. Frustrated is only one of the emotions I was feeling, but I wasn’t going to give up, especially with Easter just a day away. There was only one problem: I was completely out of caramel (and there was no way I was running out to the grocery store the day before Easter)!
Early Sunday afternoon, I made sure to reserve my spot in the kitchen. My mom and I came to an agreement: if I was going to bake another dessert for Easter, I needed to be out of the kitchen by 2pm. Walking into this challenge, I figured I would make a chocolate chip cookie cake: it was quick, simple and I had all of the ingredients. But then, I had an idea! Maybe I couldn’t stuff my cookie bars with caramel, but I could stuff it with cheesecake!
I had never made cheesecake cookie bars before, and with time against me, I did not want to make the same mistakes as the caramel bars. As the clock continued to tick, my anxiety grew as I removed the cookie bars from the oven and found the middle still jiggly. The only thing I could hope for was that it would settle after chilling.
A few hours of chilling and a very messy cutting session later, the cheesecake cookie bars were ready to serve (and they were edible)! All of the stress was completely worth it. I have never had the chance to contribute to any holiday meals; being able to be apart of our Easter preparations, even if it was just for dessert, truly meant a lot to me. Perhaps I’m one step closer to hosting a holiday of my own. Almost. Maybe? One day!