Any time I think of anything related to politics and the election, I think of The West Wing. So it’s obvious I watch too much TV when the first thing I think of is a TV show when faced with the serious issues surrounding elections and government. When The West Wing was on I was far more into politics than I am now. Watching the faux government there and how it operated with all the uber-dedicated employees and a president one could love and cheer for whether Republican or Democrat made me want to know more about the real president and his employees. I wanted to know about real filibusters, Supreme Court nominations, back door deals.
The moment I got home from middle and high school, I turned on CNN, eager to see what Crossfire and then The Situation Room had to say about the day’s events. I knew names and facts and could explain just about any aspect of the government without flinching. All I learned from The West Wing is how I aced my sophomore government class, expending virtually no effort. I liked reading that textbook and raising my hand in class, showing off my skills, impressing my teacher. I wanted to take AP Government, but that wasn’t allowed as a sophomore. Too bad there wasn’t a show that led me to be killer at math, as a student could take Calculus as a freshman if they tested in, but enough complaining about the monarchy that is high school. My teacher even told me I knew more than the AP students, not that he did anything to help get me in the class.
But then high school grew worse and worse, The West Wing ended, and I realized real life politics is not as idealist and easy to cheer for as fictional politics. I’m now a casual observer, a part of me still wishing President Bartlet could lead the country. I can’t wait for this election to be over. The fighting and arguing, sounds bites and campaign stops, phone calls and pamphlets, massive, seriously massive, waste of money. I just want it to stop. I wish the election system in this country would be reformed, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so perhaps I’ll revisit my West Wing DVDs to remind me of what government could be.
I don’t want to start a political argument, don’t want to share whose side I’m on, who’s name I want to hear tonight on the networks as winner. This is a fun blog about sweet treats and big dreams, but on Election Day, it’s kind of hard to avoid the topic. So whoever you voted for, I think we can all agree, it’s great that we get to voice our opinions in elections, even if it is an imperfect system.
Onto happier things. I’ve had my eye on these Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars for awhile now, mostly because I’m pretty obsessed with Biscoff. When I went to make them, I realized I had very little brown sugar, so I mixed some granulated sugar with molasses. The bars came out great. The shortbread crust is crunchy and sandy, that classic shortbread taste and texture. The filling was super-duper ooey gooey, which I loved. Seriously loved, because that’s a texture that is rarely achieved without chocolate, yet these managed to do it. But they don’t taste like Biscoff, they taste like molasses. I really loved them still, though I’d like to give them another try without the molasses. So if you want ooey gooey molasses flavored bars, swap out the brown sugar in the recipe below with granulated and enough molasses to fully moisten it and turn it deep golden brown. If you’d rather them less gooey and tasting as they’re supposed to, make the original recipe. Which ever you choose, I think you’ll love these bars. They’d be a great accompaniment to watching election results tonight.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup Crunchy Biscoff spread
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper in the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan. Butter the parchment and up the sides of the pan.
- Make the crust. In a medium bowl, combine butter, sugar, flour, and salt. Cream it together using a hand mixer on medium low. The ingredients should be evenly distributed, but the mixture will still be crumbly. Pour it into the pan and press it in with your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until lightly golden brown. Let cool while you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, Biscoff, and flour until there is a homogeneous mixture. Pour into the baked crust.
- Bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the center is just set. Do not check with a toothpick. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving. I waited overnight. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour. I’m going to try to warm one of them in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes, but I think it could end very messy. Try this at your own risk.