It's come to that time of year where my students are leaving the environs of school to hole themselves up in libraries, bedrooms, cafes and any other convenient nook they can find to do their revision. They will pop in and out of school, mostly to sit their exams, and sometimes because they need a little bit of help, a lot of sympathy, and a perky you-can-do-this pep talk.
I sort of miss them when they go. The time that was previously filled with teaching, lessons and working with students becomes instantly inundated with report-writing, university references, planning and strategising… basically, it's paperwork.
My first two classes went on study leave on Friday (I have one more group who will be starting their study leave in just over a week). I thought I'd bake them a little something to see them on their way, and to wish them luck. Caramel shortbread it is then. I use Nigella's recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess, because it’s brilliant, it works, and you make the caramel in the microwave. What’s not to love?
Also, I'm a firm believer in layer equality. Lots of caramel shortbread has a thick layer of shortbread, a little smear of caramel and a hint of chocolate. This is obviously foolishness of the highest degree. Caramel should have a layer of caramel equal in thickness to the shortbread, and ditto the chocolate. The chocolate should crack, splinter and shatter when you take a bite, and the caramel should squidge out the sides.
So I needed enough caramel shortbread for two classes. And the staff have worked pretty hard too, so probably a good idea to make some for the maths department too. And actually, Friday is Guides so if there are a few extra slices, the leaders might appreciate some.
As the clock crept round to midnight on Thursday evening, I had managed it: 59 slices of caramel shortbread, glistening and chocolatey, and a very sticky kitchen.
Why 59? I have no idea. It sounds like I made 60 and ate one doesn't it? But I didn't, it was pure coincidence. The chocolate wasn't properly set, so I had to play fridge Jenga to get the whole lot to cool and harden over night. But 59 it is.
And don't worry: I ate plenty. I belong to two A-level classes (as their teacher, I think I get some too), and I’m a member of the maths department, and I’m a Guide leader. So by my reckoning, it would be rude if I hadn't joined each of these groups for a little nibble.
4 pieces for me!
P.S. Actually there are still a couple of pieces left, casually hanging out in my fridge. If a girl can't find a way of vanishing that on a bank holiday Monday, she's not really trying...