Good for the soul, bad for the heart

As a self-confessed foodie, I am very aware of the fact that some of the most delicious foods are full of sugar, salt, and fat.  In large quantities, these three wreak havoc on the body, and but cutting them out of our diets means that food becomes much blander, or is full of artificial ingredients to imitate their flavoring effect.

It's actually not that hard to adjust to a reduced salt/sugar diet - over a short period of time, one becomes more sensitive to these ingredients in food.  The only problem with this is that it also means that food made for people on the normal high salt/sugar diet tastes too salty or too sweet (my boyfriend makes fun of me for this, actually).  As for the reduced fat diet, well, the body gets used to that too, and isn't so happy if you suddenly eat a falafel sandwich and fries for lunch.

That said, I think the important thing for taking care of yourself is to enjoy these less healthy things in moderation.  It's good to enjoy the things you are eating, and so I hold that flavor is good for the soul.  However, when your cookies take three sticks of butter to make, it's probably not so good for the heart.

Just look at those pecans.  See how they glisten?  That's the butter, honey, and heavy cream making them shine.

These cookie bars start with a simple crust - butter, brown sugar, and flour - and are topped with a somewhat unusual but delicious caramel concoction.  The topping is made with butter, brown sugar, honey, cream, vanilla, and salt boiled together for a few minutes.  The boiling is mostly done to melt everything together, but the brown sugar caramelizes a little as well.  When this is mixed properly, pecans are added and the whole mess is poured on top of the pre-cooked crust, then baked until it bubbles.

The result is a decadent, buttery bar, with a sticky sweet topping.  The honey and brown sugar add character to the flavor - it kind of makes me think of trees, but in a good way.  These were very popular both in my office and at bible study, but I made it a point to share with both groups - one or two of these is fine, but it's too easy to lose track of the whole "moderation" thing with cookies that taste this good.

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