Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Congo Bars

I failed algebra 2 my junior year of high school. To be fair, out of the 32 people in that class… 17 of us failed. (Sad that I still remember that stat, huh? Obviously, It’s an important detail to remember… it wasn’t just me!). It wasn’t that I skipped class or didn’t do my homework, it’s that I just couldn’t grasp the material in the way that Ms. Merritt taught it (me and 17 other folks, remember?). It was a big deal. It’s the only class I’ve ever failed and it messed my schedule up for the next year… I would have to take algebra 2 again and not take Latin 4. This was not an option. So I opted to take algebra 2 in night school across town. And I aced it that time around. Me and the dropouts, druggies, and new mothers. That’s a whole OTHER story.

It’s not that I’m not good at math. It’s that I’m not good at math tests. At least, this is what I’ve always told myself (and my teachers). But, I ended up graduating high school and then college and have made it as an accountant for a few years now, so I guess my math isn’t all that bad. But last night, I found myself struggling, feeling as math retarded as I did back in high school.

I found this recipe for congo bars and they sounded delicious. I was in the mood for something really sweet and a bar cookie was the answer. Since I’m only cooking for me these days, I always halve my recipes. Well, I start to get the ingredients out and imagine my horror when I read the first three ingredients and their measurements:

2/3 cup of Butter
1 lb of Brown Sugar
3 eggs

I looked at the wrapper of my butter stick, expecting to see how many tablespoons make up 2/3 cup. But the only measurement on it was.. ½ cup= 8 tbsps. Ok, ok, I can do this… I started to think about the fractions involved… 1 cup of butter is 16 tbsps. So, 2/3 cup of butter would be… 12? No. 14? No. Wait… 2/3 cup is how many tbsps? It’s like my brain registered that I was doing math and then immediately clocked out for lunch and said… you’re on your own this time. So, I pulled out a pen and started doing the division. 16 divided by 3 is about 5.3…. so, I needed about 10.6 tbsps of butter for the whole recipe, so I need 5.3 tbsps for a half recipe. Sounds easy, right? Well, it took me about 15 minutes to figure this out. (seriously).

Okay, okay, confession time… Honestly… I didn’t pull the pen out and try to figure this out on paper. I actually tried to do this in my head (big mistake) and ended up somehow thinking that 12 tbsps was what I needed and threw that into my pot. Only now, as I type this, am I realizing that I added 7 tbsps too many. (No wonder it took it like 20 extra minutes to cook and it’s still very gooey!).

The brown sugar, luckily wasn’t as hard… I knew that 1 lb is 16 oz and half of that is 8 oz which is a cup. Woo hoo. (I was very proud of myself for figuring that out). And for the eggs.. I just went ahead and used 2.

So, aside from the fact that I had to cook these like 20 minutes longer than it said (duh), these cookies are awesome. They are really sweet and gooey (maybe adding 7 extra tbsps of butter is a good thing) and really easy for people that can do simple math.

I skipped the chocolate chips and the walnuts and opted to use my Halloween M&Ms and Reese Pieces.

Lesson learned… keep a calculator in your kitchen.