A Little Razzle-Dazzle With Martha!- Raspberry-Almond Blondies! – 113 eggs, 88 1/4 cups of sugar, 88 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 100 cups of flour used so far- 109 recipes to go!

September 29, 2010

Martha's Raspberry-Almond Blondies

André's Raspberry-Almond Blondies

Tart and delicious with just a hint of nutty, buttery sweetness, Martha’s Raspberry-Almond Blondies are just plain fancy. Want to impress friends and co-workers? Just bake up a batch of these beauties. It’s elegant and sophisticated in taste and appearance and incredibly easy to make. The usual suspects- flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla are combined to make the blondie batter. Raspberries and sliced almonds are spread over the top and baked at a low and slow heat. Remove from the pan and slice into serving pieces, then enjoy.

I baked a batch of these for some of my happy co-workers who were thrilled with the lightly sweet and very tart flavor. One appreciative co-worker described them as little raspberry shortcakes. Personally I thought they could’ve been a bit sweeter to cut through some of the intense flavor from the raspberries. I noticed on Martha’s online version of the recipe she added a dusting of confectioners’ sugar so I’m probably not the first to suggest bringing a bit more sweetness to the party.

In my last post I promised a few tales from my parochial schooling at Saint Thomas More and I try to keep my promises so off we go…

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

This is how every day started at STM. After the first bell in the morning Sister Phyllis, our principal would blare through the intercom, telling the students to rise for P&P- Prayers & Pledge.

Sister Phyllis was a no-nonsense nun with absolutely no sense of humor. She must’ve lost it about the same time her chin went missing. She was a large woman… of God. One Ton of Nun, we’d secretly call her. Not only was she our principal, she was the head of the small convent across the street. She was not, however, the mother superior. In case you didn’t know, not every convent has a mother superior although the nuns in STM’s convent were all superior mothers- if you get my drift.

Sister Phyllis would lead all the students from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade in the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. I would recite these from the time I was five years old not ever truly understanding what I was saying. It was all so weird and mystical but I chanted along with everyone each morning because conformity is next to godliness- or something like that.

The sign of the cross always confused me. For all of you non-Catholics out there our prayers start with the subject pressing the index and middle finger to their forehead, then their abdomen, then their left shoulder, then their right. They do this while saying, In the name of the Father (forehead), the Son (the abdomen), and the Holy (left shoulder) Ghost (right shoulder).  Apparently, this was a way of getting God’s attention. Kind of a celestial clearing of the throat.  In essence you are placing your call to God or, even better, knocking on heaven’s door.

Some Catholics like to say Holy Spirit instead of Holy Ghost. The nuns at STM liked the whole Holy Ghost thing. I didn’t. It made me think of Casper who was a friendly ghost but not necessarily a holy one.

As a child, the whole sign of the cross thing was logical even though I didn’t quite understand the concept altogether. I’m placing a call to God and his son, Jesus and if neither of them are in I can leave a message with the holy ghost and they’ll get back to me if they’re not too busy. The nuns never did explain the Holy Ghost thing very well. One would say he was a dove, while another would say he was invisible except to the truly devout Catholics (all of whom apparently live in and around Latin America) and yet another would say he was like a fine mist which freaked me out on foggy days.

I never really understood the word itself- Holy. At first I thought it meant something was full of holes. Jesus was crucified and therefore he was quite holy. Just look at his hands and feet! The nuns explained that the word, Holy, was used to describe any person or thing that was of God. Wasn’t I of God? That’s what the nuns had told me. All of us are children of God. That must mean I was Holy. What about Holy Shit? My dad would say that all the time. Does God poop?

The nuns were quick to point out that I was not holy and God does not poop (although if he did his poop would indeed be holy.)  I was an unholy sinner but with practice and a pure heart I could become holy like them.  They bait the whole priesthood hook early in Catholic schools.

It was the first time I actually thought I should be a priest. Most of the nuns agreed I was a “sensitive” boy. “Sensitive,” of course being Catholic-Code for Gay-As-A- Daisy. “Sensitive” boys make good priests, was a common rationale in the Catholic community. It’s this rational, I believe, that is partially responsible for all the illegal and newsworthy shenanigans in the sacristy.

So, as a kid, I just didn’t “get” the sign of the cross and the nuns didn’t do much to really explain anything. Take the “Hail Mary.”

The prayer goes like this:

Hail Mary, full of grace

The Lord is with Thee.

Blessed art thou among women

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Pray for us sinners

Now and at the hour of our death.


Let me break this one down for you. As a kid, this was a lot to swallow.

I understood the Hail Mary part but the full of grace was just confusing. What was grace? I had heard of the name, Grace- y’know Grace Kelly, Gracie Burns, Say G’nite, Gracie-G’nite Gracie!, but was at a loss as far as what the word meant. The nuns explained that grace meant you were one of God’s favorites.  God has favorites!? That didn’t seem like God to me.  I thought he loved everyone equally and now you’re telling me he has his favorites!? How do I get on that list?

The nuns explained that Mary was Jesus’ mother and therefore she had a lot of grace from God. Honestly, who doesn’t love their mama? They also said that because they, themselves were nuns, and therefore married to God, they received more of His grace than most. As a child this made sense. That explained why Sister Phyllis was One Ton of Nun. She wasn’t obese, she was just stuffed full of Grace.

I was quite familiar with the clothing brand Fruit of the Loom. I loved the commercials with the guys dressed up like fruit. I was particularly fond of the guy who dressed like the leaf. He had nice eyes and he made me think of Fall and Halloween.

For almost two years I thought the nuns were saying And blessed is the Fruit of thy loom, Jesus. I remember Sunday morning masses with me staring at the crucifix that hung above the altar and thinking, well, he’s wearing something like underwear, they must be Fruit of the Loom. 

I distinctly remember asking one of the nuns what this meant. Why are we blessing underwear?

Since I was probably six or seven at the time, it was easier for them to let me believe it was about underwear. At such a young age I wasn’t equipped to hear about Mary’s womb and they weren’t in a rush to explain it, we left it at that- Fruit of thy loom.  This is what is know as a Hail Mary Pass.

I would only wear Fruit of the Loom after that. No Hanes or Under-Roos, thank you. If it was good enough for our Lord and Savior, it was good enough for me.

One Response to “A Little Razzle-Dazzle With Martha!- Raspberry-Almond Blondies! – 113 eggs, 88 1/4 cups of sugar, 88 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 100 cups of flour used so far- 109 recipes to go!”

  1. Mary Gemmell Says:

    I laughed all the way through. This was a trip down memory lane. You’re right, there was a lot unexplained.

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