Last night was a birthday celebration-- a pizza building party. And for dessert the birthday boy's favorite food of all time-- maple bars. But not just any maple bars, these were made from scratch, dough rising, cut in shapes, then fried, iced while hot, made in my own kitchen by my daughter and me maple bars. She wanted to double the recipe so I was frying for an hour and a half, and we ended up with about 4 cookie sheets of maple bars. And this after eating pizza? omigosh, no wonder my husband and me are so danged fat.
Well, it turned out that he and I didn't get the opportunity to overeat, because all the six foot boys in our family (as well as the future son in law birthday boy) pretty well demolished all of it. Two huge pizzas with pepperoni, sausage and 4 lbs. of cheese, and nearly 4 trays of maple bars. Alright, we aren't quite such pigs, to be truthful, a lot of it was divided up and taken to various homes. And there were fifteen people for dinner.
That was our pre Thanksgiving hog fest.Eating turkey tomorrow will feel like a diet. But seeing all that food disappear got me to thinking. What is it about this upcoming holiday season that makes us feel like overindulging and consuming more than our share? It seems to begin at Halloween and then by Jan 2, we are all stuffed, broke, in debt and planning our New Year's resolutions to remedy the situation. It's not just food and overeating, it's all the spending and the shopping and the conspicuous consumption. We've all done it, and most of us don't like it, but we get sucked in just the same. I could blame the media, but they don't force us into the stores to open our wallets.
This year, I would love to have a simpler holiday, with less indulgence, more heart and less cash, with service instead of selfishness. Do you think that's even possible in this cultural environment? And in case you're interested, here's the recipe for the maple bars:
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. shortening
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 yeast cakes
4 tbsp. warm water
4 3/4 c. flour
3 eggs, beaten well
Frosting (recipe follows)
Bring milk to boiling point and pour over shortening, sugar
and salt in a large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast
in warm water and add to lukewarm mixture in bowl along
with flour and eggs; mix well.
Grease bowl and add dough, turning to grease top. Cover and
let rise in a warm place until doubled. Turn out onto a
well floured board and roll 1/2" thick. Cut into 2"x4"
pieces. Let rise again in warm place until double.
Deep fry in oil heated to 375 degrees in deep skillet or
fryer until golden on all sides. Remove to paper towels to
drain. Make Frosting and frost bars while still warm.
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
Blend butter into sugar, add milk a tablespoon at a time until right consistency. Should be smooth and spreadable. Add more powdered sugar if mixture is too runny, and more milk and/or syrup if it's too stiff.