Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
Knowing that generally speaking nurses are overworked and underappreciated, I wanted to find a way to thank Kevin’s care team for all their kindness during his two-day hospital stay for hip replacement surgery. The best way I know how to do that is to say it with sugar. Sure, they’re in the health care field. But what woman who’s working a 12-hour shift on her feet would turn down a sweet treat?
I had to keep the treats fast & simple and they needed to travel well. (That let out my thoughts of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.) It would be bars to the rescue. Pressed for time and having only one oven, the choices were easy… First, a no-bake peanut butter & chocolate bar that instantly brings to mind one of these:
Next, a tasty little gem that has become a fast favorite wherever I take it. I discovered the recipe when I was providing all the desserts & party styling for my best friend’s daughter’s First Communion party. I’ve made them so many times since that I actually have the recipe memorized. You just can’t go wrong with a cookie bar.
I had also considered making a couple batches of cookie cups. (Similar to these minus the champagne in the frosting.) The whole “stack-well & travel-well” requirement prevented me from doing them. But clearly it wasn’t a long ingredient list that made me shy away from them!
I made the peanut butter bars first so that they could chill while I made the cookie bars. I was done in no time, clean up was simple, and I was on my way to making some nursing staff extremely happy. Foolishly I thought that one batch of each would be enough for a couple of shifts to share. I found out the next day that both containers were gone in less than four hours! I promised copies of both recipes to at least one nurse.
I must admit, part of me is always embarrassed when I share a simple recipe. Especially ones that use a *GASP!* box mix as the base. Generally when it comes to a layer cake or cupcakes I’m all about from-scratch baking. Even then, I find exceptions. When I made farewell treats for Kyla’s half-day classmates (before she started full-time K-4) I simply used a box mix for the cupcakes. I figured four year olds really wouldn’t notice the cupcake but would instead be interested in the swirls of yellow-and-black frosting with Bumble Bee toppers. I was correct.
My point is, there are times when I find it forgivable, even necessary, to cheat. Another time would be when pie crust is involved, at least in MY kitchen. I make terrible crust. I’ve given up. I’ll take the roll-and-press from the Doughboy any time. Saves me the sweatin’ and swearin’ and yields a tasty fruit pie. End of story.
And really, I guess I shouldn’t shy away from starting a recipe with a box mix if it can produce something delicious and enjoyed by the recipients. After all, you could make quite a name for yourself just by doctoring up a mix!
Using a box mix as the base of a delicious and appreciated baked treat? Try it out yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a Culinary Yes Yes!