Since I was a child, I have questioned my biological relation to my mother because it seems like we are from different planets. I now jokingly tell her that she’s not really my mom and start listing reasons why:
1. She is an extrovert in any situation; I’m a major introvert around strangers. She claims that she was shy as a child, but I don’t believe that for a second.
2. She is short and pear-shaped; I’m tall and apple-shaped. This means that even when she gains weight, she looks slim. I don’t have such luck. I tower over people horizontally and vertically. 🙂
3. She has a slim face, and her Native-American, facial features are salient. I have a round face, and I look more like my father.
5. She was raised in the country with a bunch of siblings, and I’m an only child on my mother’s side, and I was raised in the city.
6. She uses a lot of country jargon, like “doggone” as an adjective (e.g., “Turn off that doggone cellphone.” or “My doggone student had the nerve to complain about the doggone pop quiz.”). When people hear me talk, however, they think I’m from California or from another country, especially when I speak Spanish or Portuguese.
7. She has a grad degree in English Literature; I have a grad degree in Spanish Linguistics. Also, she speaks a little Spanish, but I speak 3.5 languages (but she would tell you that I speak 7 or 9 languages).
8. She knows how to burn food; I know how to cook food.
9. She LOVES nuts and carrot cake; I DETEST both items.
1. We both love the Lord.
2. We both value education.
3. We both talk fast.
4. We both gain and lose weight over and over again.
5. We enjoy talking to each other every day (when she is paying attention to what I’m saying).
6. We love each other very much, and even if i were to find out that my mother was not my biological parent (which I now believe is NOT true), I would still love her more than any mortal in this world.
So, since I love her so much, I got over dissimilarity #9 and made her these carrot cake bars; they’re much easier to ship than carrot cake with cream cheese icing. These doggone carrot cake bars are for you, mom. I shipped them to you yesterday. They are full of those (yucky) doggone nuts you like so much.
I tried to taste a little “nut-less” crumb so that I could report if they are good or not, and they seemed to be pretty good. I guess my mom can provide a better review of the bars once she gets them. Enjoy, mom!
(I suggest grating the carrots and chopping the toasted walnuts before or right after making the shortbread crust.)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-size chunks
Set rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a 9×13×2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an inch of overhang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out wrinkles and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. [I halved the recipe and used an 8×8-inch pan.] Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. With metal blade, pulse in the butter until the mixture just starts to ball (15-20 seconds). Pat crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough with a fork. Bake crust for 20-25 minutes or unti lightly browned and firm to touch. Let cool on wire rack before topping, at least 30 minutes.
Carrot “Cake” Topping
2 1/2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (about 1 cup + 3 tbsps)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped (forgot to toast)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried pineapple pieces, finely chopped (did not use)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla together. Beat until well combined. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture and stir in the carrots, walnuts, raisins, and pineapple. Pour the mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges are caramel-brown and top is slightly puffy. Let cook completely on a wire rack before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Makes 2 dozen (1 3/4-inch squares).