As if I really needed a reason.
But here we are. Tomorrow’s the last work day before the Labor Day weekend. And although summer may not technically be over, it’s a mental sled ride straight downhill from here to Christmas. Football starts this weekend, and there’s no other work holiday until Thanksgiving. Summer’s my busiest season at work, so except for one lazy “Kansas Caymans” pool day, I haven’t exactly been soaking up the sun. (The SPF 75 also had something to do with that.)
Still, it seems fitting to pay my respects to the season of blindingly hot days, steamy nights, and post-9:00 sunsets. (I’ll really miss those.) Tomorrow means Big Blue Friday, the beginning of a much-needed long weekend, and So Long, Summer! Mango Bars.
This is a Williams-Sonoma show-off recipe originally made with pumpkin-pecan butter — delicious, but expensive and seasonal. I’ve tried this recipe with a variety of grocery-store-brand butters — apple, cranberry, fig — and never been disappointed. I have high hopes for the mango, too. (I’ll report back with the coworkers’ reactions.)
So Long, Summer! Mango Bars
1 package yellow cake mix; separate 1 cup
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 jar Trader Joe’s Mango Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Oven at 350°.
Set aside 1 cup of the cake mix. Combine the rest of the mix with the melted butter and one egg. Press into a 9×13 pan. (I lined mine with parchment paper and greased the exposed sides.)
Mix the mango butter, two eggs, and milk together. Spread this evenly over the cake mix crust.
With a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, combine the softened butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Depending on the temperature of your butter, this will result in anything from a sandy consistency to a chunky crumble. It’s all good. Just make sure things are as well-combined as you can. Sprinkle over the top of the mango butter layer. (All of it, even if it seems crazy.)
Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown. (Just make sure it’s not jiggly in the middle, especially if you plan to put cut bars on a plate. If you’re serving from the pan, I think there’s always more patience for gooey centers.)
Enjoy, thinking longingly of tropical beaches and rum cocktails.
*Caveats: For the first time, I used a Trader Joe’s cake mix. While I am utterly convinced of the quality of the product, I did find it reacted slightly differently to the recipe than, say, Pillsbury or Hy-Vee brand. For this crust, I used 3/4 cup melted butter in order to get enough moisture into the mix. Watching the bars bake now, I probably should’ve used a little more softened butter in the crumble top, too. Meh…we live and learn. And eat more mango bars.*