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Got Any Bar Cookie Recipes?

Hey CH'ers...

I'm looking for a fun new bar cookie recipe.

Something that is not a brownie or blondie and does not have coconut.

Anyone have any favorites?

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  1. Tried a pecan-pie bar recipe from epicurious recently: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... It was pretty good. I'd say though that you could use a smaller pan to get thicker bars - mine didn't come out as thick as the ones in the picture. Also, start watching closely just 15 minutes after you pour the topping, as I thought they were a little overdone by 20 minutes. 17 or 18 minutes was probably what I needed. I used a larger metal jelly-roll pan and barricaded a 13x9 inch area to approximate the size called for in the recipe. So if you use an exact 13x9 pan and it is glass, then you may not need to worry about over baking. As reviewer's comments indicate, I would definitely use foil/parchment to line the pan, so bars may be cut easily without damaging the pan. I did not have any crumbly bottom problems. I had pressed in the base well and good with my hands, not a metal spatula.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sweetTooth

      Thanks! I looked around Epi, but this one got by me.

      I may give it a try.

      I'm having a dessert party open house and I need one more thing to make the table complete. I was hoping to find maybe something with dried cherries or cranberries (for the color)... but I'm good with anything tasty ; )

      1. re: Jennalynn

        You're welcome! A dessert party sounds awesome. Sorry, can't think of any dried cherry or cranberry bars. The only dried cherry recipe that comes to mind is the sweet potato rolls with dried cherries and cardamom - also from epicurious. But really can't see that gel with your party.

        1. re: sweetTooth

          This is my fifth annual!

          It's really an easy way to host a party for the holidays... because you bake/cook in advance and then put everything out and all you have to do is enjoy your guests! I do a 4 hour open house for about 50 - 70 (depends on who shows up).

          Then I send all the sugared up kids home with their parents ; )

    2. I haven't tried this recipe http://www.eaglebrand.com/detail.asp?...
      but I am kind of in love with the Eagle Brand Condensed Milk web site right now.

      1. I made cranberry bars back at Thanksgiving that were a big hit. I used this recipe and added some orange zest and a cinnamon stick to the cranberries while they were cooking.


        1. I made these maple-pecan bars a few weeks ago, and was really happy with them: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          Lemon bars are fantastic, and gooey, and refreshing. I have a recipe I can dig up and post if you like.

          And I've been meaning to try this recipe for blackberry-almond bars for a while: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe...

          1 Reply
          1. re: chloe103

            The blackberry almond bars look great, I just bought fresh blackberries at Costco, so I might try making them this weak. Thanks

          2. You might want to check out this post from Dommy! last Christmas... she did all bar cookies for her cookie trays: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357119

            1. joyofbaking.com has two bar recipes I love: Raspberry Oatmeal Squares and Butter Tart Squares (a Canadian take on pecan pie). You could sub almost anythng you like for the Raspberry jam, the base/topping holds together quite well which is what I had been in search of when I tried the recipe. Butter Tarts have a long history in Canada and depending on how you ate them when you grew up you'd prefer the filling to have either nuts (pecans or walnuts) or raisins... and a lot of people are fiercly loyal to one or the other lol.

              The link to her Bars & Squares page is: http://www.joyofbaking.com/barsandsqu... (scroll to the 3rd row for Butter Tart Squares and the bottom for the Raspberry)

              HTH :)

              3 Replies
              1. re: maplesugar

                Hey Maple...

                Thanks for the heads up on that page. The Rugelach Bars look fabulous! I'm going to make them with Apricot jam instead of chocolate.

                Just the kind of thing I was looking for!

                1. re: Jennalynn

                  You're welcome Jennalynn, let me know how the Rugelach Bars turn out! I'm slowly working my way through that page but I was thinking I'd make the Barefoot Contessa Rugelach... now I'm thinking bars would be quicker :)

                2. re: maplesugar

                  Butter tart squares?!?!?!? Oh, still my beating heart! I adore butter tarts but never take the time to make them at home. These look a bit simpler and still just as delicious. I think I'll make them tomorrow.

                  Maplesugar, thanks so much for posting this link!


                3. Definitely the raspberry white chocolate bars on the land o lakes website. Delicious and also very pretty on a holiday table/tray, with the color of the jelly showing.


                  Instead of making them in a 9 x 13 pan, I do them in a 10 x 15 pan, so the bottom "crust" is not so thick, but definitely thick enough.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                    This looks great too!

                    Since you've made it... Are vanilla milk chips just white chocolate chips?

                    1. re: Jennalynn

                      Yeah, I use the bagged Nestle chips. I thing Ghirardelli makes them also. They freeze very well if you are making them more than a day or two in advance and if you have leftovers, hold in the freezer for months, if they last that long. I love that when you taste the cookie bottom, it is really full of that buttery flavor, a sign of home-madeness (if there is such a word).

                      As I do with most cookies that I freeze, to get rid of any excess moisture, I turn the oven on to about 250 for 10-15 minutes, turn off the oven, then put the frozen, or just defrosted bars on cookie sheets and leave them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. With the oven turned off, there's little or no risk of overbaking already baked cookies. And the kitchen smells great.

                  2. These rock. Absolutely killer. From an old Penzey's catalogue.

                    Caramel Pecan Bars

                    2 Cups all-purpose flour
                    11/2 Cups packed brown sugar, divided
                    11/4 Cups room temperature butter, divided
                    1 Cup pecans, whole or chopped
                    1 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
                    1-2 Cups chocolate chips

                    Preheat oven to 350°. Blend together the flour, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 Cup of the butter until particles are fine crumbs. Pat into an ungreased 9 X 13" glass pan. Spread the pecans over the crust. Put the remaining butter (3/4 Cup), brown sugar (1/2 cup) and PURE VANILLA EXTRACT into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Bring to a full boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Pour over the crust and pecans. Bake for 20 minutes–do not overbake. Sprinkle the top with 1-2 cups of chocolate chips. The amount depends on your preference for chocolate. Two cups will give you a fairly thick layer. When the chips have melted spread them evenly over the crust with a butter knife.
                    Cut into squares while they are still a little warm, or room temp.
                    Yield: 24 good-sized bars
                    Prep. time: 10 minutes
                    Baking time: 20 minutes

                    1. My local paper, The Oregonian, recently ran a recipe for cranberry bars with a picture on the front page of the Food Day section. They looked absolutely amazing and I can't wait to make them! I can see if I can find it for you, if you'd like.

                      6 Replies
                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                          Yeah, that's totally the one! Google is amazing. Too bad the picture isn't on the webpage, because they looked really good.

                          1. re: ScarletB

                            another great sounding bar!

                            I'll be saving these all for next years party too!

                            1. re: Jennalynn

                              These cookies are gooey and delicious. They come from the Land o Lakes web site.

                              CARAMEL CASHEW SQUARES

                              Preparation time: 15 min Baking time: 19 min
                              Yield: 25 bars

                              Crust Ingredients:

                              1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                              1/4 cup cold LAND O LAKES® Butter
                              1 cup all-purpose flour
                              1/4 teaspoon salt

                              Topping Ingredients:

                              1/2 cup butterscotch-flavored baking chips
                              1/4 cup light corn syrup
                              2 tablespoons butter
                              1 cup chopped salted cashews

                              Heat oven to 350°F. Place brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in 1/4 cup butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add flour and salt; mix well. Press mixture onto bottom of ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until set.

                              Meanwhile, melt butterscotch chips, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons butter in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth (2 to 3 minutes). (DO NOT BOIL.) Remove from heat. Stir in cashews.

                              Pour cashew mixture over hot, partially baked crust. Continue baking for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and set. Cool completely. Cover; store refrigerated. Cut into bars.

                        2. re: ScarletB

                          I made the Oregonian's cranberry bars last night - unfortunately, they were a flop. The flavors were great, but the bars just crumbled into bits.

                          The dough stayed completely "floury" and didn't bind together. The bottom crust wasn't bad, but the top was a mess. Also, I think the specified pan size (7x11) was too small. Saving half the dough for the top meant that there was a thick layer on top of the cranberries, not just a "streusel" topping. Perhaps because there's no liquid in the dough - just butter - the top layer stayed dusty and uncooked (though the very top of the flour and oats did get lightly browned).

                          I followed the recipe exactly (I think), except I used my leftover home-made cranberry sauce. Maybe the recipe makes really a really liquid sauce that helps bind the oatmeal mixture. But the recipe does specify cooking it "until thick", so probably not.

                          However, the taste is so great that I think I'll try again. I'll use a bigger pan (11x9, maybe), add some liquid to the dough (milk or egg?), and put 2/3rds of the dough in the bottom crust (not 1/2). And I would use less butter - the bars taste too rich and greasy to me.

                          I'd love to hear from anyone who has made these bars (or similar bars) successfully. Did you make any changes to the recipe?


                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            I am so bummed to hear that, but thanks for the review Anne. This will help when I try them in the future. I might make a different streusel topping, more traditional style, from another recipe. I don't know that I've seen streusel with baking soda before anyway. The crust sounds a lot like typical seven-layer type crusts, but I have always used melted butter instead of softened, so maybe that would help?

                            Thanks again! I will try to make soon and report back also.

                        3. Magic cookie bars
                          mix graham cracker crumbs (about 1 cup) and melted butter (4 or 5 tablespoons) and press into an 8x8 cake pan
                          pour over some sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 a can) then sprinkle with chocolate and butterscotch chips and chopped pecans or walnuts (a generous handful of each until the top is covered). Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 F until the milk bubble a little and let cool before cutting.
                          The original recipe had coconut but I always leave it out.
                          You could also add plain M&Ms and a few dollops of peanut butter to this, or use a premade graham cracker crust. It is very forgiving and fast to make.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: iluvcookies

                            That's a classic in my house... though we call them 7 Layer Bars, with the coconut. It will be on the dessert table, which is why I was looking for another bar without the coconut.

                            I'm making them today, they keep so well.

                            1. re: Jennalynn

                              Some of my usual ones.....Chinese chews (though there are very different versions) have coconut, but are terrific. Key Lime/Lemon bars, disappearing marshmallow brownies, toffee caramel bars, chocolate chip cheesecake bars, cranberry caramel bars & nanaimo bars. Also, been wanting to try rhubarb custard bars, haven't yet, but do sound good!

                              1. re: pamd

                                pamd, are you referring to a Cooking LIght recipe for rhubarb custard bars? If so, I've made them and they were really really good. Hmmm, I have rhubarb in the freezer. Perhaps I should make them again...

                                1. re: ScarletB

                                  yes, those are the ones. Glad to hear you've tried them & were good b/c I find CL to be hit or miss with sweets. Now I'll try them when I get some rhubarb.

                                  1. re: pamd

                                    I agree with you on the hit or miss, and they often include strange ingredients in attempts to lighten. This one was good though, so I hope you like them.

                          2. Yesterday's Detroit Free Press printed winning recipes from a bar cookie contest. I'm definitely trying some of these!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: coney with everything

                              thanks for the link! can you see the cinnamon nut diamonds recipe- picture looks good but I couldn't pull it up.

                              1. re: pamd

                                I see what you mean...here it is from the paper:

                                2 c. all purpose flour
                                1/2 tsp salt
                                1 tsp cinnamon
                                1 c. softened butter
                                1 c. packed light brown sugar
                                1 tsp vanilla
                                1 egg, separated
                                1 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans, divided

                                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease jellyroll pan and set aside

                                Sift together flour, salt and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, place butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg yolk. Beat till light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and 1/2 cup of the nuts.

                                Spread and pat the mixture into the jellyroll pan.

                                Brush lightly with the egg white (lightly beaten). Sprinkle with the remaining chopped nuts.

                                Bake for 25 minutes, til golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into 2 inch diamonds. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

                              2. This is one of my favorites. It is super easy but incredibly good. If you like that sweet-salty combination, you will love these!

                                SALTED NUT BARS

                                Heat oven to 350
                                Blend the following ingredients:

                                3 cups flour
                                1 1/2 cups brown sugar
                                1 tsp. salt
                                1 cup butter or margarine, melted

                                Press into an ungreased 15 X 10 pan. Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

                                Sprinkle 3 cups of mixed nuts or salted peanuts over partially baked crust. (I always use the canned Planters deluxe mixed nuts but you could use whatever combination of nuts you prefer.)

                                In small saucepan combine:

                                1/2 cup corn syrup
                                2 Tbsp margarine
                                1 Tbsp water
                                6 oz. butterscotch chips

                                Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. (don't overboil, a little less is better than over doing it). Pour cooked mixture over nuts. Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

                                I find these are easier to cut if I line the pan in aluminum foil. I can lift them out of the pan whole, and put the on my cutting board to cut with a long knife.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mdepsmom

                                  This recipe (and the one above) are similar to the butterscotch cashew bars recipe that I am looking for. I saw it originally in the New York Times a few years ago, and it was attributed to Amy's Bread (a local NYC bakery). I have been making these bars and giving as a present to someone every year since but I lost that recipe, so if anyone has it and could post it or email me I'd be grateful. It's basically a shortbread with a butterscotch caramel topping and then topped with salted cashews. I'm pretty sure it calls for 10oz of butterscotch chips, because there was always a little bit left over from the 11oz bag.

                                  Thanks! josephsm on yahoo.com

                                2. Cranberry Bliss Bars are good, and look so pretty, red and white.


                                  1. For about a year, I became known for these walnut bar cookies because I kept taking them to parties/dinners -- got the recipe from the back of the (Diamond brand) walnut package. They are one of those things that looks kind of cute but is pretty easy.

                                    Looked on Diamond Nuts website; didn't find but found it here:

                                    1. I just made some fig oatmeal bars.

                                      The fig filling was adapted from a fig tart recipe in a recent Sunset magazine. Basically it was diced dried mission figs stewed in red wine - with added sugar, spices, and other dried fruit like raisins and prunes.

                                      The oatmeal part was a typical rolled oats, some flour, sugar, butter mixture. I believe there is a chow recipe for apricot bars that uses this.

                                      I lined a glass pie plate with the oat mixture, filled it with the fig mixture, and then covered it with more oats. The final product almost looks like a fig pie. My wife said it reminded her of minced meat. I kept the total amount sugar light enough that I can eat it for breakfast without feeling too guilty.