Bar cookies are easy to make — and they’ll disappear quickly.
Who has time to bake tray upon tray of individual cookies? Plus, bar cookies are served in the same pan in which they are baked. Who has time to clean all those cookie sheets?
Bar cookies travel well. Snap on a plastic lid or cover with plastic wrap and they are ready to go.
Check out these best-ever bar cookie recipes!
Chocolate Chunk Blondies
Blondies have a tendency to be dry, but there are two solutions: Under-bake them a little, and store them in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
Makes 12 large bars
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate chunks
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 8 1/2-by-12-by-2-inch baking pan.
Cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on high speed 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, and mix well, scraping down the bowl after each addition. In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer still on low, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chunks with a rubber spatula.
Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t over bake. The toothpick may have melted chocolate on it but it shouldn’t have wet batter. Cool completely in the pan and cut into 12 bars.
(“Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust,” by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter, 2012)
You can make these in a 9-by-13-inch pan, but use only one can of cherry pie filling; it will take 50 to 60 minutes to bake.
Makes 18-24 bars
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
2 21-ounce cans cherry pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 15-by-10-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan; set aside.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Cream together butter, sugar and 1 teaspoon almond extract in another large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just combined.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups batter and set aside. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan.
Spread cherry filling evenly over batter. Finish by gently spreading the reserved batter over the cherry filling. (There will be gaps where cherry filling shows through.)
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Prepare glaze: Combine powdered sugar, milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in a medium bowl. Mix until smooth. Allow bars to cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then pour glaze over them. Allow bars to cool before cutting.
(“Two Chicks From the Sticks: Back Home Baking,” by Jill Schwalbe Means and Jamie Greenland Gorey, Meredith, 2011)
Raspberry Crumb Bars
Makes 18 bars
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (1/2 pound) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (4 ounces) sliced almonds
1 (15 1/4-ounce) jar seedless raspberry fruit spread
Position rack in center of the oven and heat oven to 325 F.
Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl with an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add butter and mix on medium until butter is mostly blended and the mixture appears moist and begins to pull together, about 3 minutes. Stir in the almonds. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of crumb mixture and refrigerate. Firmly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
Bake until almonds are just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
Spread raspberry fruit spread evenly on top, leaving a 1/8-inch border around the edge of the crust. Crumble the reserved crumb mixture over the top, letting the fruit show through in places.
Continue baking until lightly browned and the fruit filling is bubbling all over, including the center of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing into bars.
Makes 18 bars
(“Fine Cooking Cookies: 200 Favorite Recipes for Cookies, Brownies, Bars & More,” by Editors and Contributors of Fine Cooking, Taunton Press, 2011)