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Cookie Bars influenced from Thanksgiving Pies

 

Martha White®Nashville, TN – Because there are no presents to buy, minimal decorations are fine and you get to eat a wonderful meal, Thanksgiving is a great holiday.

And how appropriate that the Thanksgiving dinner table is symbolic of this annual celebration.

(L to R) Praline Pumpkin Pie Bars, Pecan Pie Squares and Chocolate Fudge Pie Bars.

(L to R) Praline Pumpkin Pie Bars, Pecan Pie Squares and Chocolate Fudge Pie Bars.

“Maybe more than any other holiday, traditional dishes take over the table for Thanksgiving dinner,” explains Martha White® baking expert Linda Carman. “However, traditions are about as varied as the families that celebrate them. A tradition is what is meaningful to you and your family even if the tradition is trying something new each year.”

Thanksgiving pies are considered traditional, but flavors and recipes may vary among families and regions of the country. If making pies for Thanksgiving does not fit into your schedule, maybe pie-inspired cookie bars would be a good choice, especially since they can be made in advance and frozen until the big day.

Bar Cookies

As a dessert category, bars are hard to define except to say that they are baked in a pan and then cut into squares or bars. After that, the variations are endless and range from single-layered favorites, like brownies and blondies, to multi-layered creations reminiscent of pies or tarts. “Bars made with a buttery crust, creamy filling and sometimes a crisp topping, are a taste and texture sensation,” observes Carman. “They can be served as little cookies or cut into larger pieces, topped with whipped cream or ice cream and served as dessert squares.”

Holiday Timesavers

Bar cookies are definitely the easiest cookies to make. You don’t have to roll out, drop or shape the dough and they are baked in one pan. No endless batches in and out of the oven. If you need to get a head start on holiday baking, most bar cookies can be baked and frozen for up to six months.

Another bar cookie plus is that a 9 x 13-inch pan of cookies can be cut to fit your needs. If you want little bars for a party, you can cut 6 rows down and 6 rows across and get 36 miniature bars from one pan. On the other hand, if you want to serve the bars as a dessert after dinner, the pan may be cut into 3 rows across and 4 down to make 12 larger servings, or any amount in between.

For easy clean up and cutting, line the pan with foil. Turn baking pan upside down and tear off a piece of foil longer than the pan. Shape the foil around the pan and remove then fit the shaped foil into the pan, leaving excess foil to lift cookies out of the pan when cool. If cookies are soft, chill before removing from pan. Remove from pan, pull down foil and cut as desired.

Thanksgiving Pie Bars

Undoubtedly, pumpkin is the most traditional of the Thanksgiving pies and Praline Pumpkin Pie Bars are a delectable version of the classic. The prebaked brown sugar press-in crust is topped with a spicy pumpkin filling and topped off with praline topping.

Down South, pecan pie might come in ahead of pumpkin as a Thanksgiving favorite and Pecan Pie Squares are a wonderful alternative. The buttery press-in crust is easy to make and the filling is traditional – no need to tamper with perfection.

Chocolate Fudge Pie Bars have an easy press-in chocolate chip crust. The filling is dense and chocolatey enough to please even the most passionate chocolate lovers. For Thanksgiving dinner, holiday parties or as gifts, these pie-inspired bar cookies are sure to become holiday favorites.

For more delicious holiday recipes, visit www.marthawhite.com and click on the recipe section.

Praline Pumpkin Pie Bars

Praline Pumpkin Pie Bars

Crust
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 1/2 cups Martha White® All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter

Filling
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
1/4 cup half-and-half, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Topping
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray. Combine flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl; mix well. Cut in 10 tablespoons butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press mixture firmly in bottom and about 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.

2. While crust is baking, beat sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in medium bowl, with an electric mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, half-and-half, vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy.

3. Pour filling into partially baked crust. Return to oven. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until filling is set. Combine pecans, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Mix well. Remove bars from oven, sprinkle with pecan topping. Bake 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack 1 hour or until completely cooled. Store in refrigerator.

18 servings

Pecan Pie Squares

Pecan Pie Squares

Crust
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 cups Martha White® All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Filling
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Coat 13 x 9-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.

2. Beat flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and 1/2 cup butter in medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture resembles corn meal. Press evenly into bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Bake 20 minutes or until very light golden brown.

3. Combine eggs, 1 cup sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup butter, vanilla and pecans in medium bowl. Pour over partially baked crust. Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares. Store in refrigerator.

24 squares

 

Chocolate Fudge Pie Bars

Chocolate Fudge Pie Bars

Crust
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 (7.4-oz.) pkgs. Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix 1/2 cup butter, softened

Filling
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup Martha WhiteMartha White All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray. Combine muffin mix and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Blend with a fork just until crumbly. Press evenly into bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Bake 20 minutes or until very light golden brown.

2. Beat eggs in large bowl on low speed of electric mixer. Add sugar. Beat until well blended. Stir in 1 cup butter, flour, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix well.

3. Pour filling over hot crust. Bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

24 bars


Crisco is a registered trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company.


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