Bar Cookies A to Z is an alphabetical journey into the world of the bar cookie, all established in “The Bar Cookie Alphabet”– a light frolic through a cookie baking category. Generally speaking, bar cookies are simple to bake and easy to store, becoming a low-key baking projects. Ingredient lists for bar cookies generally call for pantry staples, and the resulting doughs or batters are portioned out into standard-size bakeware.
In every letter, you’ll find one or more formulas. Twenty-six letters yield a lovely collection of recipes, all of which are preceded by two chapters titled “Baking Notes” (page 15, and following pages) and “Cutting the Bars” (page 18). “Cutting the Bars” is a single graphic page that shows the reader/baker four ways to cut a pan of bar cookies, and is most helpful when faced with three different pan measurements (13 by 9 inches, 15 by 10 inches, and 9 by 9 inches); the visuals on this page simplify the final act of cutting up a solid bar cookie sheath without relying on tedious descriptions. For the 13 by 9-inch baking pan, two methods for cutting bars for two different yields (20 bars and 24 bars) are presented; for the 15 by 10-inch baking pan, the way to cut bars to arrive at 36 portions is offered; and for the 9 by 9-inch baking pan, guidance for cutting the sweet into 18 bars is revealed.
Recipe highlights: Old-fashioned Oatmeal & Raisin Bars (page 76) are somewhat soft, a little chewy, buttery, and brown sugar-sweetened (ideal for packing up as a lunch box treat); Nutter Doodles (page 70, and following page) end up as a buttery, chocolate chip-laced, pecan-loaded pan of bars reminiscent of blondies; and Honey Granola Bars (page 50, and following page) are oaty and buttery fruit-and-seed bars sweetened with honey and brown sugar (main ingredients: oats, wheat germ, dried apples, raisins, almonds, coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds).
The recipes and methods in Bar Cookies A to Z are basic and will not present a challenge to new bakers, even though some are multi-dimensional. Veteran bakers, having logged in many hours measuring, combining, or sifting ingredients, scraping a mixing bowl, turning mixtures into baking pans, and blithely cutting through their finished contents will find some choice recipes to add to their ever-expanding baking file as well.
An important trait of a bar cookie mixture–that of adaptability–allows for a certain amount of flexibility, making this sort of sweet very baking-friendly. The reward: Tins full of goodies.