The Anti-Cookie Cookie (Café au Lait Bars)
Have I expounded on my total lack of enthusiasm for the cookie making process yet?
Truly, there must be something genetically wrong with me. And I have probably scarred my poor dear children for life with Mom's lack of cookie skills... I don't know how the poor dears survived Elementary school.
And I TOTALLY feel about 2" tall around Christmas time when the plates of homemade delicacies start flying around the office and the whole "what cookies are you making this year" conversations begin to crop up every where I go. It's like being locked in a hall of mirrors and not being able to find my out. At some point I start to hold my head in an attempt to stop the spinning...
Now mind you, if I put my mind to it I can rock out a few dozen with the best of them. (In tomorrow's post I will
whine talk about making rugelach - and yes, I made them all by my lonesome... I can also throw together pretty mean chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.)
But at the end of the day, I am SO not the cookie lady. (Unless it involves eating them - at that point, count me in.)
But, that doesn't mean I have to show up empty handed. I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve...
I can totally rock out cakes. Scones - all over it. Bread - you betcha.
And when something cookie like has to show up, I turn to the ever-practical cookie bar.
Yes, the cookie concept is far less daunting when they don't have to be individually managed. Bake em. Slice em. Eat em. It's that simple.
These cookie bars are dressed up with the addition of a coffee-flavored swirl. A sprinkling of pecans gilds the lily. At the risk of sounding "Ina-esque", this is a recipe where you probably want to use the "good vanilla". These things matter, you know?
Show up with a tray of these and no one needs to be any wiser about that cookie-making phobia you may or may not be secretly harboring. Just sayin'
Café au Lait Bars
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
3 large eggs, room temperature
10 ½ ounces white granulated sugar (1 ½ cups)
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (12 Tbs)
8 ½ ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (2 cups)
½ tsp fine grain sea salt
½ ounce instant coffee crystals (1/4 cup)
2 fluid ounces heavy cream (1/4 cup)
4 ounces chopped pecans (1 cup)
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan (For thicker bars, a 9” x 9” pan works nicely – just increase baking time accordingly).
Beat together the eggs in a large mixing bowl until light colored & thick – beat in sugar, until thick & glossy. Stir in vanilla & melted butter, then the flour & salt.
Reserve 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) of the batter into a small bowl. Stir together the coffee crystals & cream until well mixed. Add mixture to the remaining batter, then spread into the prepared baking pan. Pour the reserved batter on top of the coffee batter & use a knife to “swirl” the two batters together to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle the pecans on top and place in the oven on a middle rack.
Bake for ~30 minutes. Bars are done when the edges start to pull away from the sides of the plan and the center is just firm to the touch.
Cool in pan on rack. Slice into squares, rectangles, whatever shape floats your boat...