Skip to main content

It's Time Toffee Bars...and Time for a New Book #FoodieReads

I'll admit: I picked up Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes): A Novel by Lorna Landvik* at the library for the cover...and the title. I mean, how could a book with that title be anything but hilarious. Well...
On the Page

The first time I picked it up, I got about 25 pages into it before I put it down. The second time I tried, I got further and was mildly interested in the characters. Then I just plodded along, regretting each turn of the page after about pages 200. The book is formulaic, the plot meandering, and it's far too long.

I will say that I loved the idea of the book. The so-called radical hag is an octogenarian who wrote a column in a local newspaper. She suffers a stroke early on. And the rest of the book tells her story as the current publisher - the granddaughter of the publisher who hired Haze - reprints the hag's old columns along with selected reader responses to the columns. That sounds like an intriguing literary strategy, right? Well, implementation was less than stellar. 

On the Plate

And, given that '(with recipes)' is part of the title, I expected to - at least - have some interesting recipes to try. My favorite recipe was a response written in a letter to the editor.

"Here's a little recipe I'd like to pass on to her:
1 cup personal interest stories
1/2 cup wit
1/2 cup insight
1 T local flavor
Mix well, and serve to an appreciative public. Meanwhile, toss out all political rants and smart-aleck recipe titles. (pg 243).

It's Time Toffee Bars 
slightly adapted from Landvik's book

All of Haze's recipes were baked treats, including Supreme Lemon Bars, Millie's No-Nonsense Macaroons, Spread the Love Banana Bread, and Heavenly Honey Muffins. But the one I decided to try was her It's Time Toffee Bars though I did hand the book to my boys and ask, "Tell me what about this recipe irritates me." Jake said I'm sure there's something misspelled it in. Ding, ding, ding. Correct answer. Do eggs pull little carts? Nope. So, what the heck is an egg yoke?!?

  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 T pure vanilla paste
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Place flour, egg, and vanilla paste in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in melted butter-sugar mixture until a sticky dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of a 9" x 9" baking dish and place in the oven. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes until the chips are softened. Use a spatula or knife to spread the melted chocolate over the top.

Cut into small squares to serve.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in September 2019: here.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas