Everyone despairs when at the mercy of a repair or delivery person*. You are instructed, in no uncertain terms that you must remain in your home between certain specified hours, which are always representing an unfathomable window of time. Moreover, the moment the clock clicks over to the first minute of your designated window, you are seized with the urge to be anywhere but at home. You remember a million errands you have to run. The dog barks for a walk. You realize you have to shower, but can't, because you won't hear the phone, or doorbell, or you will hear the phone and doorbell and be forced to meet the repair/delivery person in nothing but a towel. It is not good. So here is my handy dandy plan for not going stir-crazy.
Step #1 - An hour before the window commences, make sure you have showered and dressed.
Step #2 - Pick a favorite recipe and check for ingredients.
Step #3 - Run to the store for any ingredients you might be missing.
Step #4 - With 15-20 minutes left before you're ordered inside, walk the dog.
Step #5 - You are trapped. The repair/delivery person could arrive at any moment. (Won't of course, but could).
Step #6 - BAKE!!!
Baking is the perfect occupation for being stuck in the house. Think of how often you put something in the oven, and then think of something that needs doing outside the house. Well, don't worry! This time you know you're stuck! Your house smells delicious, and you will need something to eat as you become more and more agitated. Maybe the sugar will calm you.
If you don't know what to make, try my Nana's raspberry-walnut bars. They have a delicious buttery shortcake base, a sweet jam-y layer and a chewy, sugary top. Yum. The best thing is that you can really pick whatever jam you like, although I strongly recommend picking something higher quality. You can be flexible about the nuts too, I didn't have enough walnuts, so used a combination of walnuts and pecans. Still fabulous.
*In my case, the delivery turned out to be a surprise cake from my best friend! Entirely exciting and not at all anger inducing to wait for. Also, now I have a delicious array of treats to choose from.
RASPBERRY (or other) - WALNUT (or other nut) SHORTBREAD BARS
by my Nana
for the shortbread crust
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter
for the topping
1/3 C jam (I used Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves, which is a mix of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and currants)
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T flour
1/8 t salt
1/8 t baking soda
1 C chopped walnuts (or pecans, or a mix of walnuts and pecans, or something else you want)
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
For the shortbread crust -
Combine the flour, the 1/2 C sugar and cut in the butter until the mix is like fine meal (sort of sandy). Get a 9" square baking dish and grease it. Press the shortbread mix down into the bottom of the pan to make and even layer - pay special attention to the corners which sometimes don't get quite enough crust. Bake for 20 minutes or just unilt edges become lightly golden.
For the rest -
Spread the jam over the shortbread. Beat the eggs with brown sugar and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the flour mixed with the salt and baking soda. Add the walnuts. Spoon over the jam and spread lightly until completely covered. Return it to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is set (it will be kind of spongey, it will harden on cooling). Cool in pan and then cut into bars. Make sure you go around the edges with a sharp knife before you try to remove it from the pan.