Spring in the Midwest...

I love this time of year, not only for the flowers popping out of the ground, but also for the amazing way that the low temperature for one day is the high for the next, and vice-versa.  Last weekend was lovely and warm, which made for a nice day of baking, and a fantastic Easter afternoon spent flying a kite in the park.

91. Macadamia-Maple Sticky Bars
My big baking project on Saturday was these cookies, which really weren't that big of a project at all (which is good, because I spent most of the afternoon running errands).  In this recipe, a salty and buttery dough with toasted macadamia nuts mixed in is pressed into an 8x8" pan, refrigerated and then baked.  While the bottom crust is baking, candied ginger, heavy cream, maple syrup, maple sugar, and more macadamia nuts (plus some other basic ingredients) are heated together until the mixture starts to thicken.  This mixture is poured on top of the crust.  Now, I realize maple sugar is a less rare - and thus more expensive - ingredient, and I actually didn't notice the recipe called for it until it was too late to buy any.  What I did instead was I substituted a mix of brown sugar and maple syrup, although I added too much maple syrup, so that the top layer didn't become quite as solid as I think it should have (although it wasn't super runny either, so not a big failure).  These are really delicious bars - although the top layer is extremely sweet, the bottom is a little salty and not very sweet at all, which balances out the flavors nicely.  The ginger also adds a nice kick that I appreciated more a day or two after I made these.

Well, that's it for now.  I'm working on getting more sleep, which means getting to bed earlier.  That shouldn't be too much of a problem right now, as the cold makes me yearn for the blankets I so eagerly cast off last week.

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