Friday, November 5, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 44

I like bar cookies.  They are typically very simple and relatively quick to put together, unless you have a recipe for one that has several layers.  But, by and large, bar cookies are the way to go if you are pressed for time.  They are especially handy in the heat of summer when you'd prefer to have your oven on for a shorter amount of time.  I also like bar cookies because I have a hang-up with wanting my cookies to all be perfectly sized and shaped and sometimes, no matter how many extremes you go to in order to produce such a cookie, the cookie has a mind of it's own and may come out oval or amoeba-shaped!  Bar cookies are at the mercy of your knife and how you cut them.

This week's cookie is a bar cookie that left me more than a little disappointed.  The Apple Pie Bars looked simply delicious in my September 2010 issue of Family Fun magazine.  I'd been wanting to make these all fall and just hadn't found the time which seemed necessary for the dough chilling and rolling out, plus the nearly one hour of bake time.  Furthermore, a cookie/bar/brownie is something to be picked up and held in your hand while you eat it.  There is no way these can be held in your hand.  It's nothing more than apple pie baked in a jellyroll pan, which is great, if that's what you're going for.

I am pie crust challenged.  Some things just elude me.  I haven't found the opportunity to perfect the pie crust.  It's been my albatross since childhood when I first began baking.  Maybe someday.  For now, cookies are my game.

Apple Pie Bars
Here's What You Need:
2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
Milk (about 2/3 cup)
1-3/4 cups cornflakes
8 cups peeled and sliced cooking apples
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Here's What You Do:
In a medium-size bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender incorporate the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Separate the egg yolk and egg white.  Save each in different small containers. Beat the yolk, then add enough milk to measure 2/3 cup.  Blend well. With a fork, stir together the yolk-milk mixture and flour mixture until the ingredients form a sticky dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle-shaped disk. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until well chilled.  I did this part the night before.  You want it in the fridge at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the cornflakes into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to lightly crush them.

Roll one portion of dough into a 15-1/2- by 10-1/2-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a 15- by 10-inch jelly roll pan. Sprinkle the crushed cereal over the dough, then layer on the apple slices.  Roll out the remaining dough. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the filling. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples, then lay the 2nd rolled out dough on top. You are then supposed to use the tines of a fork to seal the dough edges.  I was unable to roll the dough out into a large enough piece, so I didn't follow this step.  Slacker; I know.

In a small bowl, beat the reserved egg white until foamy, then brush it over the dough. In another small bowl, stir together a little sugar and cinnamon for the topping and sprinkle it on the crust.

Bake until lightly browned, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let it cool for an hour.  It suggests combining some water and confectioner's sugar to create an icing-type glaze.  I found this recipe to be incredibly sweet and the idea of adding more sweetness didn't appeal to me. 

While my family really liked this, (it is, after all, more or less, apple pie) I don't believe I'll be saving this recipe to make again.  If you are a good pie baker, ie. crust maker, then perhaps you would like this, especially if you have a decent sized crowd to serve this to.  You can get about 18 bars from this recipe, depending on the size of the servings.

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