Thursday, September 24, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Magic Cookie Bars - Harvest Moon, Super Blood Moon & Total Lunar Eclipse!

A few days ago I suggested buying a box of crushed graham cracker crumbs to make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.
I mentioned that you’ll use them.
Got an email asking where else the crumbs can be used.

I understand… the bills came in from summer vacation trips and back-to-school purchases.
You want to know these crumbs won't just sit on the shelf and gather dust.

Okay…. the graham cracker crumbs can also be used in the following recipes: 

Ma also had another recipe that uses crumbs which she had discovered by mistake.
Pop’s mistake, not her mistake.
She had asked Pop to pick up a few things from the local A & P.
Just some prepackaged and canned stuff.
How much trouble could he get into looking for that kind of stuff?
She wasn’t asking him to pick through the fresh produce.

Pop went to the store and got directions for where the canned milk was kept.
He went to the aisle and looked around.
Then he knew he was in trouble.

Ma’s list had made perfect sense to her.
She had written “2 cans milk”.
By that she meant two cans of evaporated milk.

Did you see Michael Keaton in the 1983 movie Mr. Mom?
Do you remember when he asked the deli lady for some cheese and ham?
What could've been simpler?
Remember Keaton's expression and mounting panic when he was listening to the clerk as she rattled off all the different kinds of cheese and ham?
I guess his wife had written the same kind of list.

Well, 20 years before Mr. Mom came out Pop had the same kind of problem.
Ma had written what was to her a clear list.
Pop could read her writing.
The list was pretty straight forward.
Who knew there was more than one kind of canned milk?

This was in the 60s.
Pop couldn’t whip out a cellphone to ask for further instructions.
He grabbed a can of evaporated milk and a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Pop was a glass half full kind of guy.
One of them had to be the right can of milk, right?

Ma just gave him The Look when she saw the sweetened condensed milk.
It wasn’t worth a fight or a second trip to the store just to exchange it. 
Ma was also curious about the recipe that was on the label.
So she put the can in the cupboard.

After a few weeks she gave the recipe a try.
She used what she had and, after adding a few of her special touches, a new family favourite was born.


Want less crust?
1 1/2 Cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 Cup butter or margarine, melted

The can of sweetened condensed milk I’m using in this recipe is 300 mL.
That’s 10 ounces or 1 1/4 Cups.
You can use either regular or low fat sweetened condensed milk.

If your store carries a sweetened condensed milk that comes in a different sized can, that's not a problem.
Just measure what you need or adjust your dry ingredients to keep in proportion.
Ma would use what she had - sometimes more chocolate if she was short on nuts.
It’s a forgiving recipe.

The original recipe called for pecans.
Ma usually used chopped walnuts.
Peanuts are good, too.

The original recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Ma used other kinds of chocolate, too.
I remember one Christmas when she used only white chocolate and added a layer of chopped maraschino cherries on top.
They were quite pretty for the holidays!

The temperature given is for a metal pan. 
Bake at 325º F if you’re using a glass pan.

                        Magic Cookie Bars

Line a 9" x 13" pan with aluminum foil 
Have a generous overhang so you can lift it out of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350º F

In a medium bowl combine
2 Cups graham wafer crumbs
3/4 Cup butter, melted
Spread in prepared pan.

Pour evenly over the crumb crust
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle over the milk covered crumbs
1 1/3 Cups chopped nuts (optional)
1 Cup butterscotch chips (optional)
1 1/3 Cups chocolate chips
1 1/3 Cups flaked coconut
Press down firmly.
Bake 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Let cool 5 minutes in the pans.
Remove from the pan.
Cool thoroughly and cut into bars.
Store covered at room temperature.

About the moon this weekend…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

On September 27 we’ll see a Full Harvest Moon!
The Moon is also at its closest point to Earth.  It's only 221,870 miles from Earth.
The absolute closest that the Moon can come is 221,400 miles from Earth. 
This makes this full Moon an official super moon.  
It will look up to 14% larger and be up to 30% brighter than a normal full Moon.

It’s called the Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested by Native Americans. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, the chief Indian staples, are now ready for gathering.

In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September.  But in some years it occurs in October. 
Farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. 

On September 27 there will also be a total lunar eclipse!
A lunar eclipse is when the Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow. The total lunar eclipse is visible from most of North America (except Alaska and northernmost Canada) after sunset on September 27.

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