Tuesday, April 11, 2006
My Favorite Bar Cookies
Aspen Date-Nut Fingers aren't on my short list, but from now on, powdered-sugar-dusted cookies will always make me think of Suzanne!
I'm nearing the halfway point in this little venture and already I'm starting to think about what I will do when I've finished this book. It's not so much that I'll have difficulty finding something different to do on the weekends, it's that I think everyone (myself included) has gotten used to that little cookie fix at the beginning of the week. 70 cookies down and 78 to go - guess I've got lots of time to figure it out!
The bar cookie flops were not quite on the same order as the drop cookie flops. There were certainly a handful of disappointing bar cookies, but in my mind there was only one flop and it was a huge success in comparison to those awful Poppy-seed Wafers from the drop cookie chapter.
I found it a little harder to come up with a short list of my favorites this time around and near impossible to pick just one as my very favorite. I can't decide if it's a tie or if one just barely nudged out the other. But before I worry about that, here are the three runners-up in no particular order...
Chocolate Mint Sticks - who knew that an unsweetened chocolate glaze would work so well atop that minty icing and fudgy brownie?
Cinnamon Almond Cookies - I have always had a soft spot for these buttery cookies loaded with cinnamon and topped with a sweet lemon glaze. Another surprising combination from Maida that works really well.
Polish Wedding Cakes - I love the contrast between the sweet cookie and the tangy apricot filling. Walnuts, oatmeal, and coconut are three more reasons to love these crunchy, gooey wonders.
Which brings me to my two favorites - one old, one new. The new favorite has the advantage of having been made fairly recently, but then again the old favorite has been prepared time and again. I think I might have to declare the new favorite the winner by a nose, but on a day when I am in need of chocolate, the new guy couldn't possibly beat out the tried and true...
Viennese Chocolate-Walnut Bars - A crunchy shortbread base, with a little raspberry jam, a chocolate-walnut middle, and gobs of chocolate and walnuts on top... mmmmm! Such a delicious (and attractive) combination of flavors and textures. You really can't lose with this one.
Texas Cowboy Bars - That unforgetable lemon-scented date filling puts this one on the top of the list... at least for today. Buttery, meal-sized cookies with oatmeal and walnuts and a generous amount of that heavenly, lemony date filling. Outstanding!
Next week begins the chapter on icebox cookies. This chapter includes what may be my favorite cookie in the book and has a number of cookies which look very promising. If you want to follow along, I can't recommend this book highly enough - it is Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies. Though out of print, it is still available as a remainder. There is also a more recent compilation of Maida's cookie recipes, Maida Heatter's Cookies, which includes all but one of the recipes in the old book.