Hello Lovely! I hope it’s a little sunnier in your neck of the woods than it is in mine today, cloudy with no rain. I’d honestly prefer the rain if it isn’t going to be sunny, there is something about sitting inside all day with no plans while you listen to the raindrops hit the window… Back to the reality of things, I have been spending far too much time binge-watching Hart of Dixie on Netflix even though it is not raining outside. I’m not even that restless during the day… really there is no excuse for the laziness but you know the show is based around the town next to me here. They reference the city we live in fairly frequently… All of that being said can I consider it social research? I mean most of it has some base or stereotype that you can find in any small southern town. I’ve come to realize I have been gone from the real South for longer than I thought and I’m starting to wonder how Southern Arkansas really was. Alabama has brought a whole new meaning to Southern, I’m starting to understand some of the confusing articles for all of the Southern Livings we read growing up. For example, mayo? I had no idea how serious Southerners really are about it, back in Arkansas there were certainly more than enough of us that equally despised that particular condiment. When I’ve mentioned my dislike for it here though you’d committed a cardinal sin. Don’t get me wrong I do still love the South, it’s just I am new to the “Deep” South. This Deep South is requiring a little more adjusting than I expected, so I figure if watching some southern stereotypes I am more familiar with helps me also see more of the charms of this area, why not? Right?
Speaking of one of its charms, strawberry season is creeping up on us here and we’re already getting fresh ones from this side of Florida. Oh and I can’t even begin to tell you how good they taste. They smell like candy honestly, pure candy. If we’re all being honest here I haven’t had any real cravings during my pregnancy but I can tell you I think my taste buds have changed a little. I still eat all sorts of food but there are a few that have never caught much attention from me that I now can’t get enough of. Berries being one of these items, I absolutely can’t get enough of them! I’ve been buying a couple pints of these fresh strawberries every week and eating every one of them. In the mornings I cut up fresh ones to go with my toast and eggs. A couple of times I’ve bought a vanilla pound cake (you have to try The Fresh Market’s if you haven’t) and piled some on top. So when this month’s church pot luck came up I knew I had to include these somehow.
Leave it to my all time favorite baker, Christina Tosi to release a cookbook that can cover just about any cooking or baking need. I absolutely adore her and her newest cookbook I want it autographed so badly I went to three different Milk Bar’s on my last trip to NYC to find it. Milk Bar Life covers regular sneers and includes not only old family recipes but also ones from her staff that are from all over the US. You have a cookout chapter, a supermarket chapter, and even a freakin’ weekend chapter. While I do collect cookbooks many rarely see the light of day, but this one is pulled out regularly. Low on ingredients? Who cares, Christina will have a recipe that can satisfy any sweet tooth or last-minute cooking dilemma. Have a mentioned I love her?
I have made her “The Greta Sugar Cookie Squares” before and they are amazing as is. I decided to add a cup and a half of chopped fresh strawberries to them which made it more of a cakey texture. I’m sharing the original recipe with the option of adding strawberries, if your lucky enough to find some fresh ones like my new addiction.
The Greta (Sugar Cookie Squares)
2 Sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (plus more for greasing the pan)
2 Cups sugar
2 Large eggs
1/2 Cup neutral oil (I use vegetable)
1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Cup whole milk (I’ve subbed 1% and been fine BTW)
1 1/2 Cups sliced fresh strawberries (Optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350’F. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan
2. Mix butter and sugar on high until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
3. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, mixing until just combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the milk until just combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Spread the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan. Mix together the strawberries now if your going that direction if not I pile on the sprinkles!
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for a slightly underbaked cookie (which I agree with Christina is really best) but if you added the strawberries stick to the 3-5 minutes longer recommended for firm cookie fans. The strawberries add extra liquid and the few extra minutes helps to keep them from getting soggy. Cool completely and cut into squares. I highly recommend keeping these in a tightly sealed container so they’ll stay fresh longer (especially with fresh strawberries in them)
In case your interested you can get Milk Bar Life here and I can promise you will not regret this cookbook purchase. Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go eat a sugar cookie bar…
Pot Luck or no Pot Luck these do not last long… Even if there are only two people in your house.
Have a happy weekend!