Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
You’ve just finished a big, hearty meal, but instead of feeling full and satisfied, you crave something extra. It isn’t sandwiches or little carrot or celery sticks you yearn for, it’s a sweet desert. But the question is, why do we hunger for sugary foods, even after a hearty tailgate meal? Although there are several ideas, experts only speculate about the reason.
Our thought, and that of many nutritionists, is that people have been trained since childhood to expect a sugary dessert after a meal. Eating dessert in America is a time-honored tradition (and a way to bribe kids to eat their vegetables!). So your tailgaters deserve to have you continue the tradition of offering a sweet desert after their meal. Just remember the words of the National Institute for Fitness and Sports cardiac rehab program: “You can eat anything, in moderation.”
Since most tailgaters serve dessert, we asked them, all across America, what makes for a good game day desert. They replied saying they want something tasty and easy to eat. What that means to us is that a bar fits that bill. A bar is a cookie/cake prepared in a pan cut into squares called bars. Brownies are bars. Rice Krispy squares are bars. We feature a score of bar recipes on our site www.tailgatershandbook.com. The best-known bar aficionado in America is Marie Simmons, columnist for Bon Appe’tite magazine and a prolific cookbook author. Marie’s book, “Bar Cookies A to Z,” is a must for tailgaters. Here’s one of Marie’s recipes for these warm-weather tailgates that will top off any meal (and get everyone to eat their vegetables).
Lemon love notes (bars)
1 ¾ cup all unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar sifted
1 large egg
1 cup flaked-sweetened coconut
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
Batter — Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13 baking pan. Sift the flour together and set them aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until blended and gradually add the flour mixture until blended; then stir in the coconut and lemon zest.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack and glaze the bars while they are still slightly warm.
Glaze – In a bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the mixture over the bars, spreading evenly with a flexible spatula. Sprinkle the coconut on the top and cool the bars overnight in the fridge. On game day cut the bars and take them to the tailgate in the top of your food cooler.