I have prepared this posting for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "I." You can link directly to Alphabe-Thursday at the end of this post. I have chosen to write a tribute to my wonderful Aunt Ionia and include a recipe for her Fairy Bars. After Ionia's death, one of my cousins put together a memory book about Ionia which included many of her recipes. The recipe for Fairy Bars was included in the book.
I had an Aunt named Ionia. My middle name is Ionia too; I was named after her. Her name is pronounced as I-own-a. She was my dad's sister and she was a "second mom" to me. We, seventeeen nieces and nephews, loved going to Ionia's home for dinners, parties, and always Christmas Eve. She loved to bake and cook for her loved ones.
We would go to Ionia's home for sleepovers; she would serve donuts or individual-sized cereals for breakfast; this was quite a treat for us! We would play cards, such as euchre or 500, endlessly. Since I was the youngest, and the worst card player, she would often have to be my partner. Even with my lack of card playing skills, we could still win. She was that shrewd of a card player! If a new restaurant opened in town she would be sure to take us there. She worked at the Ray-O-Vac factory; so she always kept us well-supplied in flashlights and batteries. As cousins, we would take turns going to the Ray-O-Vac company summer and Christmas parties.
She never married, never had children, and never owned her own home. She took care of her ailing parents, my grandparents, as they passed from this life to the next. She took care of both my parents as they passed from this life to the next. After my mother died, she moved into my father's home to take care of him. She still maintained her apartment during those three to four years, but she essentially lived at my dad's home. She provided selfless, heroic, angelic service.
In September of 2001 she came "out west" to visit my sister, myself, and two brothers. She said she was coming just to visit and not to tour around. She did visit, but even at 84 she had tons of energy and toured all around. My dad always said she was a "gad-about" and that she would go anywhere...even to a snake wrestling match. About two years after her visit, at the age of 86, she died on October 31, 2003. I thought it was fitting that she died on Halloween, a favorite holiday for kids since she was always so nice to kids. Even today, it is hard to not be able to pick up the phone and talk to her!
These bars, called fairy or peanut bars, were in her dessert repertoire. I think, since they are made with angel food cake, they should be called Angel Bars, in memory of an angelic aunt. I hope you have had someone like my Aunt Ionia in your life! Or if you haven't, that you can be someone like Ionia in the life of someone else.
One pre-maid loaf-shaped angel food cake
Salted peanuts -- about 1/2 can
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
Cut angel food cake loaf into small squares, maybe 2 inches by 2 inches. Put peanuts in food processor and chop. Make a thin icing with the powdered sugar, milk, and butter. Dredge (or spread with a knife) the angel food cake squares in the icing and coat the icing with the peanuts. Put on a cooling rack to dry.
On the cooling rack ready to be eaten! I love the contrast between the sweet icing and the salty peanuts!