That’s what this post is all about. It’s amazing, really. If I weren’t already a believer in a higher force at work in this life, butter would most definitely cinch it for me. Give me mountains of ashen rock, with magenta and amber hues reflecting the evening sun. Give me endless deserts stretching out with Pinion pines and junipers dotting as far as the eye can safely reach. Allow me to wake to the sounds and smells of the delicious rain on rusted, corrugated roofs.
Give me butter.
I’ve decided that butter is the magical ingredient in just about anything which tastes a step or two beyond amazing. In fact, if I were ever diagnosed with an incurable disease with only days to live, I’d make sure that each meal was drenched in rich, buttery goodness.
However, I did not always believe such. I used to subscribe to the thought that margarine was just as good as butter in any recipe and would do just as well.
Was I ever wrong.
My sister sent me the recipe for her infamous Jam Crumble Cookie Bars a week ago. How can I describe these cookies? Probably that they are akin to being taken on a conduit straight to heaven—especially when topped with generous portions of caramel praline ice cream…rivulets of rich, gooey caramel weaving its way in amongst the oats and strawberry.
Goodness to the Nth degree.
I followed my sister’s recipe to the letter, but instead of utilizing butter, I opted for margarine, simply because it was softer and easier to get at. Those of you who are schooled in the ways of baking are probably even now drawing in quickened breaths of shock, or at the very least rolling your eyes at this foolhardy decision.
Now so would I.
I mixed the ingredients. I added them to the pan. I baked them at the prescribed 350 degrees. Soon a smell that wafted about the house that whispered of deliciousness. One could almost taste the smell.
When the lightly browned dessert was cooled enough from the oven, I cut myself a generous portion and added mounds of ice cream.
It was terrible.
I had no idea of what I’d done wrong. There must have been something I missed; after all, when my sister had made them, they were fantastic.
“Did you follow the recipe?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “Did you maybe forget an ingredient or something when you emailed it to me?”
She was adamant that she hadn’t. I mentioned at this point that I had substituted margarine instead of the butter the recipe called for. I received a slight browbeating at this point and was educated on the magical—as well as healing powers of—butter.
I thanked my sister, and I opted to give the recipe one more try. The previous attempt was unceremoniously dumped into the trash, and ingredients again scurried from their cupboards as I began to start anew.
All I can say is that now that I’ve been converted, and realize the mouth-watering ways of butter. I’ll ever go back. In taking that first spoonful of ice cream and crumble, I was taken away. It was like dying and being reborn all over again.
I am now convinced that butter is indeed the ultimate when cooking.
I’ll never go back.
For those of you who’d like to try this scrumptious delight:
Shawna's Jam Crumble Cookie Bars
2 cups oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 - 12 oz. jar of jam (raspberry, strawberry, apple butter, etc)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and beat with electric mixer on low until mixture is crumbly. Pat half of the mixture, about 2 cups into baking pan, press down firmly to form crust layer. Spread jam evenly over bottom crumb layer and then sprinkle remaining crumbs over jam, patting gently. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Enjoy with a scoop of your favorite ice cream (I suggest caramel praline). Also, drizzle with caramel for extra goodness.