Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Bar Cookie Baking Tips to ensure you have perfect bar cookies each and every time!
Now that we’ve officially surpassed Thanksgiving, it’s game on for the Christmas and holiday season. Ovens will be getting their workouts, your mixers will be put to good use, chocolate chips will be abundant, sprinkles will be everywhere and copious amounts of cookie dough will be consumed. And that’s just in my house…. *wink* Bar cookies are probably the easiest ‘shape’/type of cookie you can make. I mean there’s no rolling, shaping, forming or making them look pretty. You pretty much put the mixture in the pan and bake.
…or so you thought, right? You’ve made an incredible dough only to have the bar cookies turn out like rocks or be hard on top and gushy in the middle. Or worse – they stick to the pan and you need a chisel to get them out of the pan. Well on today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’ll be sharing with you some of my best secrets and tips to making awesome bar cookies.
So let’s face it, bar cookies are the not-so-fancy cookie at the cookie table. They are either square or rectangle; some are even pie shaped (um, did ya use the wrong pan maybe?). There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to bar cookies – are they a “real cookie” or are they a wannabe brownie? Honestly I don’t care as long as it tastes good. I mean seriously if you are in one of those 2 schools then you need to step away from the bar and leave… so I can have your share *wink*. See what I love about bar cookies is that they are thicker and you get more stuff in a single bite.
However even bar cookies can be tricky. Here are some guidelines to follow when you make your next tray to ensure you make the best bar cookie around.
- Start with a great recipe.
- Make sure you use the exactly sized pan as the recipe states! If you use too small, your bars will be underbaked; too big and they will be too thin and dry. The size of a baking pan or dish is measured across the top of the container from the inside edge to inside edge. The depth also is measured on the inside of the pan or dish from the bottom to the top of the rim.
- If you make them in a glass pan, reduce the temp by 25 degrees.
- Line pans with aluminum foil for super easy removal of bars leaving a 1-2″ overhang at two opposite ends so you’ll be able to lift out the baked bars easily.
- Butter the foil.
- Score the bars as soon as they come out of the oven. Rule of thumb is every bar cookie (Unless it is a crisp-style bar) should be cut only when it’s completely cooled. For a crisp-style bar, cut it while it’s warm as if you cut it when it’s cooled completely, you risk it breaking or crumbling.
- Leave the bars in the pan on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When cutting, I use a smooth, non-serrated blade. Also make sure that between cuts, clean the knife by dipping it in hot water and wiping with a clean, dry kitchen towel. This will ensure no drag or sticking to the knife when you cut.
- For bars that you want to give away in packages or present all pretty-like use a large sharp chef’s knife to trim away the outer dry edges of the bars before cutting them, wiping the blade clean with a damp towel after each cut. This will create smooth, uniform sides.
- Lastly, the best way to store bars is to leave them in the pan after baking and cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Or if you’re like me your baking pans have lids, too.