Dear (14-year-old) Heather,
So, your first year of high school is coming up. I know life seems complicated and overwhelming at times. Relax. Trust me… it’s not that serious. I’m writing you a letter today (14 years in the future) to offer some insights. Stop rolling your eyes and read.
– You’re right, boys are stupid. One day you’ll find a boy that’s less stupid than all the others. Give him your heart.
– Mom and dad always know best. Never doubt this, even though it’s tempting. And stop rolling your eyes at them, it’s not nice.
– Never stop dancing…ever.
– The Vikings had their best chance at the Super Bowl in 1998; get ready for some rough years ahead.
– Your guidance counselor is wrong, you don’t need to have your college major decided already—it will probably change anyways.
– Embrace your curly hair!
– The belt with the bottle caps that all the other kids have is not as stylish as you imagine—get one if need be, but know that in 5 years you will question its coolness.
– Its okay to watch Star Trek Voyager, there will be plenty more popular fantasy series in the future.
– Remember to be true to yourself in all things you do. You don’t have to try so hard to fit in; society embraces individuals (even if high school kids don’t).
– Do things that are uncool. Later on, they usually end up becoming cool anyway.
– And lastly, keep on baking! Some day you’ll be blindsided with the random urge to start a baking blog and it’ll be awesome. You’ll probably make an amazing post about caramel apple bars… just sayin.
A somewhat but not totally wiser (28-year-old) Heather
Caramel Apple Bars
Adapted from Betty Crocker
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 medium apples, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1 bag (14 ounces) caramels
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix brown sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, the oats, salt and baking soda. Reserve 2 cups oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.
Toss apples and 3 tablespoons flour; spread over mixture in pan. Heat caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; pour evenly over apples. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture; press lightly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender. For 36 bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows while warm. Store covered in refrigerator.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
To easily remove bars from a pan, try this nifty trick. Lightly grease the pan and then line with parchment paper. The edges of the parchment paper should extend above the edge of the pan. After the bars are baked and cooled, grab the top edges of the parchment paper, and lift from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and discard, and then cut the bars into shapes.