The Year of the Cookie: Enter the Bar-Cookie
I was sitting around perusing some cookbooks in search of interesting cookie recipes and I kept finding these sections devoted to bar cookies and I thought to myself, “No. It isn’t the year of the bar. It’s the year of the cookie. Bars aren’t cookies.”
You see, I’ve never been a fan of the bar, really. I mean, obviously I like brownies, but they’re closer to the Cake Genus than to the Cookie Genus. (Did you all have to learn the order of classification in science class? I did, but had forgotten it. In case you were wondering it goes like this: Life, Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. Maybe I should come up with a classification of food items? Would baked goods be a Kingdom or lower – Phylum?).
Anyway, I got to thinking. A lot of people love bar cookies. In the dining hall everyone got really excited when it was time for Congo Bars and so forth. (I usually had yogurt with honey that day.) I began to wonder whether I was being a cookie bigot.
Of course I didn’t change my tune entirely. I didn’t just throw away my love of proper cookies. But I did come across this one recipe that sounded too good to pass up. They’re not a rich cookie – not a gooey, chocolatey, nutty, decadent mess. They’re a very February sort of cookie – hearty and straightforward. They’re halfway between cookie and granola bar – you could almost convince yourself they were healthy, if you didn’t know how much butter was in them. They’re different from your normal run-of-the-mill bar cookie – not stodgy, not sticky, there’s no coconut involved, and they’re not overly sweet.
Anywho, here’s the deal. Make these. You’ll thank me. It’s not a special occasion cookie, but it’s a really ridiculously tasty cookie. In fact, if you’ll permit me a moment of geekery, I’m pretty sure these cookies (fine, bars) are what the Elves gave to our intrepid heros, all wrapped up in leaves and ready to sustain them through their journey. Delicious.
Scotch Oatmeal Shortbread
adapted from McCall’s Cookbook (1963)
- 3 c oats
- 1/3 c granulated sugar
- 1/3 c light brown sugar
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 3/4 c butter
- 2 t vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ pan (this yields a very thin bar, I think you could also use a 9″x9″ pan, but obviously do adjust the baking time).
- In large bowl combine oats, sugars, flour, and salt.
- With pastry blender or two knives (or your hands), cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Mix in vanilla.
- Press the mixture evenly into the pan.
- Bake 30 minutes or until golden.
- Cool slightly, but cut into bars while still warm.
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*A note on this cookbook: it’s fabulous. Hundreds of no-nonsense recipes (and a few ridiculous 1960’s-y ones) with lovely line drawing illustrations in blue and black and white. It’s a gem. See the below images for proof. (Thanks to Kristen, who, about a year ago, gave me a whole truckload of cookbooks, including this one.