Freedom Day 2012 saw South Africa having its 18th birthday since our first free and fair elections. So for the first time, the country is allowed to legally buy itself a beer (no more sneaking a few sips from its parents’ drinks), and finally can ditch that ridiculous learners licence and take the car out for a spin completely unsupervised (with much wheel spinning and racing other youths from traffic light to traffic light). It might even volunteer to be the designated driver now, just once in a while.
It’s also time for the country to start making some serious decisions, like what it’s really going to do with the rest of its life, and whether its going to make the big move to a university near the coast, or stick in land where things are a little faster and a little tougher. And if it’s going to buy those text books it needs, or if it’s rather going to save the money for something more important, like a crate of beer for the weekend?
The country might even think of entering into its first serious relationship, no longer messing around with silly child-like crushes.
It’s parents might sit it down, and explain that it’s about time that it finds a place of its own to stay, and to remind it that it is probably not okay to have breakfast for supper, even though that milk and cereal is just about the only meal it knows how to make without seriously stuffing it up.
The country, like most teenagers when they finally turn 18, probably thinks it’s really the man, but it won’t take long to find out its back at the bottom of the ladder, and that there are a lot bigger countries out there able and willing to put it in its place with a quick snot-klap.
But that’s all not its problem at the moment. Right now it really just needs to worry about how bad its first proper birthday hangover is going to be!
So to celebrate its birthday, and to celebrate the end of the countries high school year, we made:
Chocolate, Pretzel and Peanut Butter Squares
- 170g butter, at room temperature;
- 250ml light brown sugar;
- 125ml sugar;
- 2 large eggs;
- 2 tsp. vanilla;
- 500ml cake flour;
- 1 tsp. bicarbanate of soda;
- ½ tsp. salt;
- 100g milk chocolate (in slabs);
- 170g of dark chocolate (in slabs);
- 375ml mini pretzels, coarsely broken;
- 60ml crunchy peanut butter;
- 45g dark chocolate, either disks or a slab broken for melting.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray & cook, and line a square 23cm baking tin with wax paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, bicarbanate of soda and salt and stir until almost combined. Add the dark and milk chocolate (both roughly broken up) and 250ml of the pretzel pieces and stir until blended.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. In a small double boiler, melt the peanut butter and remaining dark chocolate, stirring until smooth. Sprinkle the bars with the remaining crushed pretzel pieces and drizzle with the peanut butter-chocolate mixture.
Allow to cool until set, then cut into squares. Make sure it is properly set and cool, otherwise the cutting part can get a bit messy (but that is all part of the fun I guess).
If you are making these to share, ensure you keep a few for yourself, as you are definitely going to want as many as you can get your hands on.
If you are on some sort of diet, you are going to need to wait for your day off, as these are seriously decadent, and seriously delicious.
Happy Birthday South Africa! Here’s looking forward to you entering your twenties!
To see the recipe that inspired this, look here.
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