These chewy wonderful bars taste of butter, brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs studded with bits of ripe and juicy pear. Oh my word, are they ever good! You really should make them today because even if you don’t have pears handy, you only have to buy two of them ~grins~. Eventually, I’ll get around to showing you how to make them in this post but right now, It’s disclosure time. Today’s disclosure has to do with the fact that I spent the first quarter century of my life being an idiot and how I owe a great deal of my happiness in this era to God and Grandaddy.
~Clears throat and begins~
*I was a complete idiot until the age of 25, and I’ve had numerous relapses ever since. Hang on to that, we’ll get to how this ties in with the rest of my story in a minute.
This past weekend as I was working in the kitchen my thirteen year old son came in and was talking about a trip we had taken the day before. We saw the cutest St Bernard puppy outside the Tenenssee Aquarium and Brady said “Mom, when I have a family, I’m gonna get my kids a dog like that.” My heart just swelled up so big to hear my son talking like that “When I have a family….” and in my heart I thanked God and Grandaddy, because I knew in that moment how very much I owed them both.
Flashback to almost two decades ago… As a young twenty something, I lived with my grandparents while I went to college. I didn’t start college until I was 23 and I had worked very hard to be able to manage it. In my stubborn foolishness, I got it in my head that I wasn’t going to get married at that point. Having already had enough time to become frustrated with relationships, I decided that I’d just work on me and that would be enough. I had buried the desires of my heart because I felt they were impossible to achieve – and instead focused on something solid that could be earned by studying and steady tuition payments.
One evening at supper Grandaddy mentioned something about “When you have a family” and I guffawed at him as I said “Now Grandaddy, I’ve decided that I’m just not getting married. Here I am working so hard on my degree, once I finally get that, why would I want to take on a boarder?” I used those exact words. For explanation why, see the bold sentence at the beginning of this post*. I roll my eyes at the unadulterated ignorance of my younger self daily.
Grandaddy put down his fork and lowered his voice as he spoke, a pained look of concern in his eyes. “Baby, please don’t say that. I don’t ever want you to end up alone.” He looked right through to my very soul as he spoke and coveyed an understanding that told me he had been to the place he didn’t ever want me to go.
Grandaddy met my grandmother later on in his life after having traveled a bumpy road of his own. They’d become fast friends, fell deeply in love, and eventually married as he stepped in to be stepfather to her two girls, my mother being the oldest at thirteen. He was a wonderful, kind, and generous husband to his beloved new family, even my great grandmother, who came to live with them a year later when her husband passed away.
Grandaddy settled right into the family seamlessly, grateful for being so blessed to have them all. He had been alone and he knew the value of what he now had and he cherished every moment of it.
And in doing so, he showed us just how much there was to love in having a family.
This morning I called Grandmama and as the conversation turned to Grandaddy, she said “He sure did love all of us.”
My Grandaddy passed away a few months after that conversation at the supper table and I took his words to heart. Shortly after he passed away I met my husband, who reminded me of my Grandaddy in so many ways, and one year after we were married, I named my son after the man who’d looked me in the eye asking for assurance that someday have a family of my own.
Grandmama and Grandaddy passed on a love and appreciation of family that has not skipped a single generation and yesterday as my Grandaddy’s namesake stood in the kitchen talking about someday when he has a family…I realized that I’d been able to pass it on to – with special thanks to God and Grandaddy.
*Addendum: Grandmama went to join Grandaddy early in 2013. She sure did love all of us, but I know she sure was glad to be back with her beloved Jay.
You’ll need: Baking Powder, Graham Crumbs, Dark Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Salt, Flour, Ginger, Eggs*, Butter, sugar, and pears.
*Four eggs are pictured but you’ll only need three. I’ve been developing and tweaking this recipe for a bit and found it does much better with one less egg, but this is the picture I have so we’re going with it
For crust: Place sugar, graham crumbs for crust, and butter in a bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter or long tined fork until well blended.
Kinda like this. I usually go see if I can find something on tv while I cut butter into a mixture. I can never find anything on tv of course, so I end up just spending a few minutes cutting and staring at a channel guide and about the time I give up on finding anything worthwhile my crumbs are all ready to go and I can turn the tv back off.
Dump crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
Press down into the pan with your hands and then place in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes, or until browned.
While that is baking we need to make our filling.
Just use the same bowl to mix your filling in, no sense in dirtying up another dish.
Place your flour, brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs for the filling in the bowl.
Cut together with a fork until it is well combined – or until you get tired of fooling with it, whichever comes first.
Add in baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and stir again.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Stir that up until it becomes a batter.
It is going to be awfully thick but as the brown sugar starts to break down it will become much more liquified.
Peel and dice your pears and stir those in gently.
The pear juice adds a lot of liquid as well.
Pour filling over your baked crust.
Spread to the edges. Bake this at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, or until set in the center.
Enjoy these chewy, buttery, brown sugary bars of goodness!
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2+1/2 cups dark brown sugar (Can use light if that is what you have)
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup peeled and diced pears (about 2 pears)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- In a medium mixing bowl, place crust ingredients. Using a long tined fork or pastry cutter, cut and stir ingredients until crumbly. Press into bottom of a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- While crust is baking, use the same bowl to combine brown sugar, graham crumbs for the filling, and flour. Stir well until flour is well incorporated. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking powder. Add eggs and vanilla and stir until batter is formed. Fold in chopped pears.
- Pour filling browned crust and spread to the edges. Return to oven and bake an addition 25-30 minutes, or until mixture is set in the center. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
“I am seeking. I am striving.
I am in it with all my heart.”
~Vincent van Gogh