Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sex and cookies

Yesterday's Psychology Brown Bag was great fun, as always. I posed the question of why gender equality and feminism are associated with higher sexual satisfaction for men and women than male dominance (e.g., patriarchy). There were great suggestions and questions from the students and faculty in attendance. We talked about the effect of gender roles, sexual scripts, education, relationship factors, communication, and more. We discussed the continued impact of gender roles in the U.S. -- for example, do heterosexual women feel comfortable asking men out, or are men still doing most of the initiating? It was a terrific discussion, and my closing comment was that they should go forth, be feminist, and have great sex. Better living through science. ;)

We also had light refreshments, because I think food makes for better conversation. Some of it I buy at the grocery store -- fruit, sunflower seeds, hummus, carrots, chips. Some of the food I cook. I usually make a batch of pasta with basil pesto -- this is the pesto we make from our own garden, according to my partner's family recipe, and it gets rave reviews. And then I bake some cookies or cupcakes or quickbread, as I'm a big fan of sweets.

By far, the most popular cookie I have ever made (and I've been doing this for a long time) is Seven Layer Cookies. I've had people propose marriage after tasting these cookies. I often make them for events because, in addition to being tasty, they are quick and easy to make. I got this recipe from my friend Becka in high school. She wrote it on the back of a flyer for Duff's Business Institute (which encouraged you to make a collect call to get career advice -- always suspicious); strangely enough, this flyer fits into my recipe card file perfectly. I made the cookies with Becka at one point, and her main advice was to make sure to get the condensed milk into the corners of the pan. I've come up with a few additional suggestions over the years -- it's easier to use boxed graham cracker crumbs instead of mushing up graham crackers into crumbs, for example, and greasing the pan facilitates the cookie removal after baking.

So many people have asked me for this recipe that I figured I would share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Seven Layer Cookies
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick margarine or butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 1/2 cup coconut (I use the sweetened kind that comes in a bag, not a can)
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if you chop them small, they will be more likely to stick to the cookies and not fall off) [I consider this ingredient optional -- I often make these cookies without walnuts and they are just as tasty]

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 inch pan. Melt the margarine or butter, and mix with the graham cracker crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, making sure it covers the entire pan evenly. Sprinkle on the coconut, then the chips, making sure that they are evenly spread over the crust. Then pour on the condensed milk so that it covers everything (don't forget the corners!). Sprinkle on nuts. Place in oven (350 degrees F) for 30 minutes, until the top is light brown (the edges will be dark brown, crystallized, almost burnt looking). Take out, let cool. Cut into bars with a sharp knife. It's easier to get the cookies out of the pan if you cut around the edges of the pan first, and then cut into bars. These are pretty rich, so you might want to cut them into small bars (I usually cut them into 24 or 32 pieces, depending on my mood). If there are any left, store in an airtight container.

So now you can have satisfying sex and cookies afterwards! Just don't get crumbs in the bed.

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