Bar cookies often don't get enough credit. They seem like a lazier approach to drop cookies, mostly because it's a press-into-the-pan, one or two step effort. With a bit of creativity, however, they can offer so much more flavor, and a welcome texture change from a typical cookie. I made CSB members six different varieties to try today.
~Pecan Pie Bars: Starting with a shortbread crust, these feature a pecan crusted sweet custard like topping. My version is corn syrup free, instead using a combination of pure organic maple syrup and cane based Lyle's Golden Syrup…and I tossed in a couple of tablespoons of Buffalo Trace (GMO free!) Bourbon for good measure.
~Zesty Lemon Bars: Always a favorite, always a classic, I knew I had to include these this week! The crust is 100% whole grain, and I used organic lemons for a citrusy burst of flavor.
~Classic Fudge Truffle Brownies: One of my most popular market treats, these have a well deserved reputation. I'd like to take the credit for them, but their wonderfulness is really due to the pound of organic Lillie Belle chocolate that is in each small batch! They're naturally gluten free and pack a rich wallop of dark chocolate flavor.
~Mint Creme Fudge Truffle Brownies: These are exactly like the Classic FT Brownies, except that they have a layer of mint flavored buttercream sandwiched between the brownie base and the ganache frosting. The mint oil that I use is locally grown and produced, from Mint To Be!
~Candy Cap Mushroom Cheesecake Bars: Possibly my absolute favorite bar cookie ever, these cheesecake bars start with an organic graham crust that's sweetened with pure maple syrup. I use organic Nancy's cream cheese (locally made in Eugene), and grind up candy cap mushrooms for the filling (I source these from Oregon Mushrooms in Keno, OR). By grinding the dried mushrooms up, I avoid any odd texture issues, and they impart their wonderful butterscotch, earthy, maple notes perfectly. Even my daughter, who hates mushrooms, loves candy cap goodies!
~Strawberry Rhubarb Oat Bars: 100% whole grain and featuring locally grown fruit! Strawberry rhubarb is a flavor most often associated with June, so they may seem a bit out of season. I was able to can a ton of rhubarb pie filling this year, however, so have that on hand just for occasions such as this, and I picked up some freshly picked strawberries yesterday from Adams Berries & Produce. I'm trying to enjoy as many sweet, local strawberries as I possibly can before they all freeze (any day now!).
Please store bars in the refrigerator (especially those cheesecake bars!), or freeze to enjoy later.