Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coffee Cake and Adventures in Walnuts

Let's Terintino it.  We'll start at the end and work our way from there.  What caused Cynthia to say to me "why does this bar taste like boos?"

It's around Thanksgiving, this is the typical time that Chris' parents decide to start making Christmas cookies.  They only have a few family recipes, and are not huge bakers.  They only really bake once a year and it is only the Christmas cookies.  Also, as far as I know, they only really end up making one cookie.  It's an icebox walnut cookie.  For those of you who do not know about icebox cookies.  You make the batter, roll it into a long, poo shaped log, and refrigerate it until it's hard enough to slice.  Then you just slice and bake like those funny sugar cookies logs you can find in the supermarket.  (btw my family used to buy those when we were younger and we basically just ate the dough out of the tube until my mom started yelling that we weren't going to be able to make cookies anymore, even though she had def been eating it herself as well.  What can I say, the dough just tastes way better than the cookies themselves. 

Cut to Christmas cookie day at the Ensors.  Nancy has just come home from the store with the stuff needed to make the cookies except (GASP) there were no black walnuts at the store.  I'm thinking, wtf are black walnuts and why can't you just use the regular ones?  So I mention that I have some at home and I bought a big bag of them at Sam's Club to use for baking.  The Ensors decide that we just cannot make the cookies without the proper walnuts, so Chris, Bruce, and I drive nearly all the way back to our condo to go to the Sam's Club to pick up the nuts.  We get back to the house and they make the cookies.  I am really not a fan of nut refrigerator cookies (sometimes known as almond slices), so I pretty much never eat them.  I take a few nuts and eat them out of the bag, trying to figure out what is so freeking important about these special walnuts, and nothing really comes to mind.  They just don't taste good, so I decide that, as I thought, I'm just not really a nut person.

Cut to last week, I'm pulling recipes out of my gigantic stack, trying to decide what to make and I come across a recipe for 7 layer bars.  They sound incredibly easy, and the picture online looks delicious, so I give it a shot.  It's basically a graham cracker crust, walnuts, dark choc chips, semi-sweet chips, white choc chips, butterscotch chips, and shredded coconut.  Pour condensed milk over the top to stick it all together and throw it in the oven.  When it comes out and cools, you slice it into bars and eat.  I cut a few pieces and give one to Chris and eat one myself.  I take one bite and I'm like WTF is that?  It tastes like PLASTIC!?  I find these fairly disgusting.  Chris agrees that they taste a little weird, and he doesn't like them much, but they're fine.  Since neither of us likes them, I pack them up in tupperware and bring them to work.  I ask Cynthia to try them, and she takes a bite and says to me... "Why does this bar taste like boos?"

AHA!  Alcohol!  I totally agree with her when I take another bite, it's not plastic, it's an alcohol taste.  We both think it's pretty gross.  So we call in Lauren.  We offer her a bar, saying that neither of us like them, but maybe she will.  She takes a bite and we ask her what she thinks the alcohol taste is.  It's the walnuts.  Apparently that is what black walnuts taste like.  It's a very strong distinct flavor, and, like coffee, or licorice, you just have to like black walnuts to like the bars that I made.  She thinks they're delicious and offers to bring them with her to the homeless shelter that night.  So I ask you this... Am I the only person who did not know that there was a black walnut?  Is this just a Maryland thing?

In other news.  Before I realized that the walnuts tasted like ass, I used them in the strusel topping for the blueberry coffee cake that I was making.  And when I ate a piece of the cake, it didn't really taste odd.  I actually thought it was quite good, brought it into work, and offered it to the people in some of the other offices.  It was gone by the end of the day.  So there you have it folks.  A cup of black walnuts = absolutely disgusting.  A sprinkling of them on top of a cake = a slightly off but complimentary flavor.  And now for the pictures of the cake...

Pictures are getting a tad better,

Julibean <3


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