Bar cookie recipes are among my favorite. Why? They are:
Some of the most famous bar cookie recipes are brownies. We have a great variety of brownie recipes.
To help you in your quest to bake the perfect bar cookies, we share with you our secrets, including:
Always use the tin size recommended in the bar cookie recipe. Changing the tin will affect the outcome.
Bar tins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Choose a deep tin to ensure even cooking.
Bar cookies are usually baked in a moderately low to moderate oven.
In some instances, the base is partially cooked, then the topping added. This allows the base to become firm without over-cooking the topping.
Spread the batter evenly in the tin, extending to the sides and corners.
Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
If the recipe requires you to melt butter or chocolate, allow them to cool slightly before adding the eggs. Always have the eggs at room temperature.
These are usually easy to make but there are a few techniques which will ensure they always turn out successfully.
Multi-layered bars usually require the base to be partially cooked. This enables the topping to be added later without the base becoming soggy.
Most bar cookie recipes have a shortbread type base, which is usually comprised of flour, sugar, salt and butter.
Stir the flour, sugar and salt together with a fork until well mixed.
Use chilled butter which has been cut into pieces. The butter can be rubbed into the flour using your fingertips. Alternatively you can use a pastry blender or food processor.
The dough is then pressed into a baking tin, again using your fingertips. Make sure the dough covers the base of the tin. Even out the dough, pushing it into the corners.
While the base is cooking, prepare the filling, which is then poured over a warm base, unless the recipe states otherwise. Again make sure it is spread evenly.
When cooked allow the cookies to cool completely in the tin.
You will need a range of different sized baking tins. Most bar cookie recipes use the following sizes:
If you don't have the tin size specified in the recipe, use the closest size you have, but remember you may have to vary the cooking time and the end result may be different. A smaller sized tin will make the cookie cake-like rather than chewy. A larger size will make it dry and brittle.
The type of tin used will also affect the outcome of your baking. Tins with a dark finish or made of glass will absorb more heat and therefore cook faster and the underside of your cookie will be browner. In contrast, lighter colored or shiny trays will result in a less brown, softer cookie.
Most bar cookie recipes call for the tin to be greased and lined with parchment paper. When lining the tin with baking paper, allow it to overlap two sides of the tin. These techniques enable the slice to be easily removed from the tin.
To line the tin, cut a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than the tin, then cut squares out of the corners. Your parchment paper will then fit neatly in the corners.
Always allow the slice to cool in the tin. Removing it from the tin too early may cause it to break or crumble.
There are several ways of cutting your cookies. The most common are fingers or squares.
To cut into fingers, bars or squares remove the bar from the tin first. Use a ruler as a guide to give you even sizes.
However, if you want to give a professional finish to your baking why not try diamonds. To cut diamond shapes, make parallel cuts along the length of the tin. Then cut diagonally across the pan.
To create triangles, first cut the cookie into squares and then cut each square diagonally, working from one side of the pan to the other.
Use a long, sharp knife rather than a smaller one. Wipe the knife clean of crumbs between cuts, so that it cuts cleanly and does not drag.
If the bar has been cut in the tin, remove the corner piece first using a palette knife. Then remove the rest.
If you plan to jazz up your bars to serve for a special occasion here are some ideas:
Superfine sugar, confectioners sugar, cocoa, spices mixed with sugar or alone (eg. cinnamon sugar) can all be dusted over the top. For a special effect use a patterned stencil.
Chocolate of course is always popular and can be piped, curled, grated or added to icing. Check out our chocolate decorating ideas.
What about toasted nuts or coconut? Nuts can be used whole, flaked or chopped.
To toast nuts or coconut, spread on an ungreased baking tray and place in a moderate oven for 5 - 10 minutes. Check frequently to make sure they don't burn.
Bar cookies can be stored in their baking tin. Wrap the tin tightly with tinfoil, then wrap in plastic wrap ensuring as much air is pushed out as possible.
Your cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
However, if your bar cookie recipe includes a topping which contains cream cheese or cream it will need to be refrigerated and used within 3 days.
Freezing your bar cookies is easy. Check out how at our freezing cookies page.
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