Today’s delicious dish – Snickerdoodle Bars
Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie. They are buttery, cinnamony, and sweet, and I could eat way too many of them. Their name also makes me smile, because when my son was little he called them Snickledoodies. Apparently there is no definitive explanation for the name of these delightful cookies – it might be German in origin, or it might just be a silly word.
In addition to being a popular cookie, Snickerdoodle has found a home in some other food groups and non-food items. Just imagine, you could slather Snickerdoodle lotion on your body, then pour a generous glug of Snickerdoodle creamer in your cup of coffee, and drink it in a room with a Snickerdoodle air freshener. I’ve not smelled these products, but I am willing to bet they are not as nice as a homemade Snickerdoodle.
When I want to have Snickerdoodles quickly, I might make them as a bar cookie. My recipe uses melted butter, so there’s no need to wrangle with cold hard butter that you forgot to take out of the refrigerator a few hours ago. These Snickerdoodle Bars are moist and soft, and capture everything that is great about a perfect Snickerdoodle.
The only complicated part of this recipe is making a parchment box to line a 9” x 13” pan. This is only difficult if you have not done it; once conquered, you will always know how. It’s a matter of making 4 cuts in the parchment paper, then creasing the sides, then sliding the pieces from one side behind the other. Since the cookie batter is relatively stiff, it won’t run out even if you have not done the best job of making the box. If you really, truly can’t figure it out or don’t want to try, it is fine to grease and flour the bottom and sides of your baking pan.
I don’t recommend substituting another solid fat (like shortening or coconut oil) for the butter in this recipe – the butter contributes flavor and a luxurious texture that would be missed if you used something else.
In fact, I wouldn’t substitute any of the ingredients – they are very basic baking supplies that I always have on hand. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use 1 teaspoon lemon juice instead. Cream of tartar acts to inhibit sugar’s ability to recrystallize after melting – this keeps your cookies softer. It also adds a subtle tang to the cookie dough. I encourage you to buy some cream of tartar – it is not expensive, and it is easy to find. It also keeps for years.
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Melt butter by microwaving for about 45 seconds, then set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper by making a parchment box. To do this, place baking pan on top of a sheet of parchment paper bigger than the pan. Cut from edge to corners (going longways). Crease paper along the long sides first, then the short sides. Fit paper into baking pan and stand up sides of box. Bend cut pieces behind short edges.
Mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add eggs and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and combine completely.
Spread dough evenly in prepared pan, making sure to push dough well into the corners.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the dough in the pan.
Bake for 27 minutes. Remove from oven and put baking pan on a cooling rack. When cool, remove from pan by grabbing edges of parchment paper and lifting.
Cool completely before cutting into 18 pieces (in a 3 by 6 grid). Each bar will be about the size of a credit card, or around 3” x 2”.
Makes 18 cookies.
Nutrition information (per cookie): 198 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 2 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams sugars, 0 grams fiber, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 95 milligrams sodium
Cost per cookie: 28 cents
Preparation time: 45 minutes
What happens next?
Any homemade cookie will keep for about 5 days at room temperature. These bars freeze well too. I would put them in a container to protect them from crushing or banging around.
It’s amazing to think there could be too many Snickerdoodle Bars and you might be faced with wasting a few. Don’t let that happen! You might cube them, toast them under the broiler, and use as a topping for ice cream, pudding, or yogurt. You could also crumble them and use as a cookie crust for a pie. Even better, they are crumbled and used in soft, rich dessert dumplings. I almost always put aside 3 Snickerdoodle Bars to star in my Mixed Berry Cobbler.
Another day’s delicious dish – Mixed Berry Cobbler
In this recipe, Snickerdoodle Bars are crumbled and combined with cream cheese and other ingredients to make rich cookie dumplings that float in a sweet and flavorful berry mixture. Frozen berries are called for, but you should feel free to substitute fresh berries, if you have them. I like the range of flavors and textures found in the mixed berry blend I get at my grocery store, but you could use any berries you have or want to buy. You might need to increase the sugar if your berries are particularly tart.
As you cook your berry mixture, you’ll notice that adding the frozen berries causes it to seize up. Don’t worry – just allow it to heat up and keep stirring occasionally. As the frozen berries thaw, they will give up some liquid, which will help the mixture to liquefy a bit.
If you don’t have any Snickerdoodle Bars left over or set aside, you can still make this wonderful dessert. Crumble up some other soft sugar cookies. You will need about 3/4 cup of soft cookie crumbs. Add a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to crumbs that are plain.
Mixed Berry Cobbler
- 1 Tablespoon softened butter
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 3 pounds (48 ounces) frozen mixed berries (about 10 cups)
- 3 Snickerdoodle Bars
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 8 ounce (1/2 pound) block Reduced Fat cream cheese, softened
- 3 Tablespoons 2% milk
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Turn on oven to 400 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” baking pan.
In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in water. Turn on burner and cook, whisking often, until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Add frozen mixed berries and stir well. Continue cooking and stirring until berries are thawed and softened and mixture is slightly thickened. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Crumble Snickerdoodle Bars. Combine cookie crumbs, baking powder, and flour, and set aside.
Beat together softened cream cheese, milk, egg, and almond extract to make a smooth mixture. Stir in cookie crumb mixture. You will have about 2 cups of cookie dumpling dough. Drop it, by generous Tablespoonfuls, evenly over the top of fruit mixture in a 4 x 3 grid to mark 12 servings. Lightly sprinkle sugar over cookie dumplings.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition information (per serving): 275 calories, 7.5 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 49 grams carbohydrate, 34 grams sugars, 4 grams fiber, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 164 milligrams sodium
Cost per serving: $1.16
Preparation time: 40 minutes