Of course in the back of my mind, as the bars were coming together I had figured out that this was going to be uncomfortably close to brushing against some memories. There came a point when I decided to put all my trust into Dorie. If anyone could make it alright for me to try and make a dessert which danced around happily in the deep recess of my mind, it would be Dorie. I even took it a step closer (or further) and omitted the called for raisins. And I replaced the peanuts with finely ground toasted walnuts...if I was going to do this, I wanted to be spot-on. I actually had no idea what went into those beloved revel bars, but I relied on instinct and memory. Thankfully this was my first attempt to re-create them because I think the key ingredient was sweet milk. I would have frustrated myself to no end trying to figure out that magical addition which gave the chocolate layer it's fudge-like taste and velvet texture.
When I was in college I worked at an amazing little pastry shop called Gastronomy Station. It was tiny, cramped and cozy, with so many baked goods pushed together that it was almost difficult to know which handwritten label went with what item. The floor was a classic black and white tile and thanks to the large windows which surrounded nearly the entire structure, it was always light and cheery. Even in my favourite kind of weather (grey, misty and humid) it offered a warm atmosphere for those who wished for the sun. My best friend and roommate usually had the early morning opening shift so we had the privilege of setting up the large assortment of breads, muffins, cookies, brownies, bars and bagels once they were delivered from the sister bakery a few blocks away. Something about the magical time of being in college... despite the fact that I have had cracked black peppercorn Parmesan bread several times since, it never quite tastes as delicious as the bread of my memories during that time.
Sometimes a rogue raspberry would fall out of the berry stuffed muffins and it was still warm and soft from the oven. The cookies were so fresh that we would have to handle them carefully or else they would literally crumble before reaching the display case (I 'accidentally' broke more than a few). One of my many, many favourites were the rich, chocolaty revel bars. I know there are recipes for these bars but I didn't want to make them. I wanted that taste to stay safely hidden, happy and untainted by any feeble attempts to replicate it. Since this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe did not have a picture, I really had no idea what I was in for.
As soon as I took a bite, I was transported back ( just a few years). My roommate and I were sipping rich coffee, unloading loaves of bread and discussing how much we hated our 8am lab because we were both stuck in groups of know-it-alls and all we could do was jot down the ideas and take notes like pathetic medieval scribes. We cursed the fact that were were not old enough to purchase the bottles of fine wine which lined the shelves of the shop and how disgusting the beer from the frat parties were in comparison (to this day, the mere thought of the taste of light beer in a plastic cup is enough to make me cringe). We were excited about the prospect of acquiring some fake id's and ordering amaretto sours and gin and tonics at our favourite Italian restaurant with the money we earned from our difficult job. Though we seldom used that money for anything practical. :)