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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aunt Hilda's Party Dessert

My friend Tanna invited the kids and me over for supper tonight since our husbands were out of town.  (Plus another friend and her four kids.)  When I asked what I could bring, she suggested a dessert.  Hooray!  This is my chance to make something that I normally wouldn't make.  I started to rack my brain, thinking of all the decadent desserts on my Pinterest board.  Then, I had an idea.  I would make Aunt Hilda's Party Dessert!  My grandma, having received the recipe from Grandpa's sister, Hilda (thus the name!) used to make this when I was little.  I remember absolutely loving it.  I thought, "that should go over well with a bunch of kids."  It had been years since I had eaten it--making it today was a fun trip down memory lane.  This is also a landmark occasion for me, because this dessert does not contain any chocolate.  (Although my friends and I did agree that it would taste delicious with some chocolate syrup on top!)

The taste is hard to describe, sort of butterscotchy/caramel-flavored with a little bit of crunch.  You will just have to try it for yourself to see.  Here's the recipe:

Aunt Hilda's Party Dessert

2 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup ground nuts
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 ounces Cool Whip

Beat eggs; add sugar and beat well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until blended.  Spread on two greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  Break up into small pieces and mix with Cool Whip.  Spread in 9 by 13 pan; cover and freeze. 

Your dough will look really strange, and it is sticky to work with.  I ended up using cashews today because that was the only nut we had in the house.  The taste of the cashews went really well with this dessert.  I'm thinking that Grandma used to used walnuts, but I think pecans would be an excellent choice as well.
When spreading into the pan, use a spatula coated with cooking spray.  Try to get as even of a layer as possible.  I baked the pans for 10 minutes then rotated top rack to bottom rack in the oven and vice versa to help get even baking.  A warning:  you will have some clean-up on these pans afterward.  Plan to let them soak for a while in the sink.
You will almost feel like you are burning the dough.  This is what you are going for.  I actually returned the baking stone to the oven to get it a little more crispy.  Don't try to mess with it until it is well-cooled.  Then you need a strong spatula and a little bit of muscle to get it off of the sheet.  Don't worry--you didn't do anything wrong!
Break up the pieces in a large bowl.
Add Cool Whip.
Spread in pan and freeze for at least three hours before serving.
Enjoy the results!


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