Who likes Mondays?
If you answered "yes" to that question, then I'm sorry but we can't be friends. Because you're obviously a bit insane. I mean, nobody likes Mondays! Except for my brother who is one of those people who likes to get the week started because it is a whole new opportunity to get things done and done right and be who you were meant to be and blah blah ... let's just say we live on two different continents. Literally and metaphorically. (Disclaimer: I love my brother very much and get on with him really well!)
I don't like Mondays because despite the fact that I don't usually sleep in on weekends, Monday removes ALL possibility of sleeping in for at least five days!
I don't like Mondays because I've usually not done half of the chores I set myself to do over the weekend.
I don't like Mondays because I have to go to work and much as I appear to be a not-lazy sort of person, I'm pretty sure I would make a great bum if I could afford to just not work ever!
I don't like Mondays because ... ah, I'm going to stop with the Monday blues! How was your weekend? I went to visit my family in Birmingham and ran the Bupa Half Marathon yesterday which despite my doing very little actual running training, I really enjoyed! I did it last year and it seemed like everything went wrong - I had painful shin splints for the first 5 miles, I nicked my tongue in the bottle cap at mile 3 and therefore had a bleeding tongue (it was minor but in my head I thought I might have to lose my tongue from the sheer amount of blood loss), one of my headphones didn't work so I didn't have the loud pumping music I like to run to and as it was my first hilly marathon, when we got to the hills at the end, I could have sworn they were the steepest hills in the whole wide world! Turns out they weren't that steep and despite my complete lack of training, I did a similar time as last year (less than a minute quicker) - 2 hours and 33 minutes which I was more than happy with. My sister blew 12 WHOLE MINUTES off her last year's time and finished in 2 hours and 15 minutes so I'm much happier for her!
So that was my weekend. Tell me about yours and enjoy my pretty pictures in the meantime. By the way, these bars are great! All the flavours are familiar but together, they are really wonderful and unexpected. I love them and can wait to try different flavour combos as Joy recommends.
Recipe from the wonderful Joy the Baker
113g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour, plus more for pressing dough into pan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fruit preserves
1 - Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4 / 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with greaseproof paper (leaving some overhanging paper flaps on two ends) and grease paper. Set aside.
2 - In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in vanilla bean scrapings (or vanilla extract) and egg yolk. Beat until well incorporated. Stop the mixer and add flour. Beat on low speed until completely incorporated.
3 - Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flour. With clean fingers, press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use a bit more flour as necessary so that the dough doesn't stick to your fingers. Try to make the crust as even as possible.
4 - Bake crust for 20 - 24 minutes until golden brown around the edges, but still slightly soft in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
5 - Run a thin butter knife around edges of the pan. Use the two greaseproof paper flaps to carefully remove the crust from the pan. Run a butter knife between the crust and the paper and carefully slide the crust from the paper and onto an unlined baking sheet.
6 - Top crust with a thin layer of fruit preserve (I used Strawberry). Arrange marshmallows on top of jam.
Return to the oven for about 4 minutes. This will warm and soften the marshmallows. Remove from the oven and turn the oven on to the grill setting. Use the back of a spoon to gently press and smash the top of each marshmallow.
7 - Once all the marshmallows are smashed, return to the grill. Keep a very very very very close eye on the marshmallows. They'll toast in seconds. They'll burn in seconds.
8 - Remove toasted marshmallow cookie from the oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cookies can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be left, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.
Makes 9 squares in an 8-inch square pan.