I read this really fascinating article the other day about why time seems to speed up as we get older. It’s actually a wonderfully simple explanation of this common phenomenon, and it turns out that we’re not all going crazy.
Time does speed up as we age. See, when we’re little, a month seems like forever because our lives have been pretty short. A six year-old will spend what seems like decades waiting for her birthday because, relatively speaking, a year is a huge percentage of her life. That’s not at all true for a thirty-six year old, for whom a year is a much smaller percentage of life. And by the time anyone reaches much older age, time whizzes by because the majority of years spent alive vs. any time increment is much larger.
Do I sound like a total nerd here? You caught me. I am a nerd about a lot of things, like Shakespeare, Star Trek, and getting older. Getting older scares me, and the faster time goes, the more my existential dread rears its ugly head. But since I’m also a baking nerd, I can use my prowess in the kitchen to provide some much-needed distraction from time’s unyielding march onward.
This might be the second peanut butter recipe I’ve posted this week, and do I care? Nope. I have a healthy, gluten-free carrot muffin arriving Friday to atone for my peanut butter sins. But for now, you’ll have to live with my addiction to all things peanut butter. This recipe actually came out of a sick day my son spent with me.
Kids get mysterious viruses, especially in the summer. For the past couple of days, my son has been home, languishing on the couch like a Victorian-era heroine. He has his blanket, his books, his pencils and pens, and a bottle of cool water by his side. He’s pretty much been ignoring them all, not to mention avoiding all food and television. When they don’t ask for TV, I know they’re sick.
To try and tempt him (and to gauge how sick he really was), I baked these bars. They’re a basic blondie filled with peanut butter chips and topped with a marshmallow fluff and peanut butter topping. If a kid avoids these sticky squares of goodness, you have further evidence that not all is right in his little world.
To top it all off, my son has been avoiding Alexa. A few weeks ago on Amazon Prime Day (which was, for me, kind of disappointing), Kenny bought us an Amazon Echo. She’s named Alexa, and she syncs up to our devices and apps (like Pandora or, of course, our Prime accounts) to play us music or update our shopping lists or buy something we’ve bought before. I’m officially scared of her. Especially after seeing the latest Terminator movie. #riseofthemachines #machineswillkillusall
The kids love Alexa. All three have been bugging her nonstop. She can’t respond to my girls because their little voices are too squeaky, but she understands my son. So he badgers her to tell him jokes, play him music, and asks her questions. They’re best buds. And he’s been ignoring Alexa for two days. Yep, sick.
The upshot of my baking experiment is that nobody has really eaten these bars except me. My daughters are currently pretending to hate peanut butter (a shaft to their mother’s heart), the boy is sick, and my husband eats only gluten-free whatnot. So here I am, contemplating my existence while I polish off yet another chewy, pillowy-soft marshmallow peanut butter chip blondie.
These bars were an experiment for a good cause, the whole see-if-he’s-really-that-sick thing. Turns out, he is. But I’m not, and I’m going to enjoy these as time passes faster and faster. In the face of scientific evidence that time actually does speed up as we age, what else is a girl to do?
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
2/3 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 oz. (1/2 of a can) sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the melted butter with the brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir again. Mix in the salt and flour until everything is incorporated. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan evenly. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- While the blondies are baking, make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and condensed milk until smooth.
- Carefully layer the mixture over the blondies and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the peanut butter chips on top.
- Return the bars to the oven for 20-25 minutes until the middle no longer jiggles and the topping is golden on the edges.