There was a moment, earlier today, where it was looking extremely likely that Carole would come home to find me glued to the kitchen worktops by what was (at the time) an insanely sticky mess of dough.
I have started, this year, a nonsense idea where I (or we, depending on whether we have time at the weekends etc) are going to do 52 different bakes across the year. There is also a similar project afoot regarding soup because, apparently, we’re massive nerds this year. But the baking is where the action is at. And this week – week 3 – is maple bars.
Maple bars don’t really exist outside of the US, by the looks of it. There’s certainly no recipes geared towards a UK-based chef as everything is in cups. Pfft. Cups. Get proper measurements, people. The bars themselves are, basically, like an iced finger with maple icing on. That’s the best way of looking at them. Mine aren’t bars, they’re squares. But that’s fine as well because they’re basically diabetes in a cakey form, so it’s probably for the best that they’re smaller squares rather than bars double the size.
To be fair, though, I’m lucky they came out at all.
Because the dough was just… well, it was a massive pile of slime for quite some time.
I don’t know if it was an issue with the cups thing – whether I wasn’t measuring quite enough when it came to the dry ingredients or what I don’t know, but it was a mess. A warm, sticky mess. And once I’d come into contact with it, everything else I came into contact with became covered in the dough. Like King Midas, but with a cinnamon-y dough mixture.
I eventually managed to get it into a manageable lump through the liberal use of the flour sifter. Which was more or less adhered to my hand, and my bread spanner – I have no idea what the technical name for it is, it’s like a scraper/cutter thing for baking – which was stuck to my other hand. There was also a spatula involved. No-one needs to know where that was stuck.
At one point I was considering ditching the whole lot and calling it quits. Having now made the bars, I’m glad I didn’t because they are delicious. But earlier this afternoon disposing for everything was looking like that best option. The only reason I didn’t was because I couldn’t work how to get the stuff off the work top and into a bin bag without becoming stuck to everything in the house.
I was, though, quite disappointed in the universe.
Because if ever there was a time to get a phone call or someone at the door, it’s when your hands are stuck to the worktop via the medium of thick dough and, if you manage to pull them free, they look like they’ve been modeled by Nick Park for use in a claymation film.