Restrictions have nothing on her.

A Bar is a Bar is a Bar?

Posted: August 5th, 2009 | Author: rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

What makes a cookie bar a cookie bar?

Last night I attempted to bake banana-oatmeal bars with chocolate chips; a perk of not timely eating all the bananas means that they will be featured in a new, desserty incarnation. After much soul searching, I determined to make bars because the week before was banana bread muffins and I like creating new things. The bars were decided upon because Epicurious’s other ideas were banana pudding bananas foster or other unportables I can’t give out at work easily, and the dessert cookbook I own didn’t list much with banana!

I used this recipe, but substantially adjusted it based on reviewers’ suggestions and to taste. Basically, I halved the sugar, added a cup of oats, upped the ripe banana quotient to three instead of two and nixed the nuts. I figured it would be bar-like, since, well, it’s a bar recipe. Didn’t happen.

I’ll be honest, I like baking and I like that it’s generally simple and has consistent rules and formulaic outcomes, (whipping room temperature butter + eggs cracked one at a time equals…) but I’m pretty ignorant about what leads to what! (…equals fluffier cakes? Uh…?) So in adjusting this and other baked goods recipes I do not know, essentially, what exactly I’m doing. Which is fine by me since everything usually comes out ok anyway, but not what I was expecting; it would be nice to know how to actually achieve what I thought I was making!

My roommate, not at all a cook, whipped out her Betty Crocker Cookbook guide which she got as a ‘new college student’ gift from relatives. And there was the light! It gives overviews on these basic rules I was not tutored in. I’m more at ease with mains, salads, the savory stuff. But this basic intro to baking is exactly what i need. It might be helpful to review the whole thing, to be honest.

She told me that it’s one thing to play with an established, “sure thing” recipe but to adjust an unknown, well, who knows what will happen?

That being said, my “cake” got rave reviews! But does anyone know what makes a bar a bar?

3 Comments on “A Bar is a Bar is a Bar?”

  1. 1 Jesse said at 5:42 pm on August 8th, 2009:

    That’s quite a lot of winging for a baked good.

  2. 2 Adi said at 11:11 am on August 9th, 2009:

    Bars are denser and chewier, more like cookies. If it’s fluffy, it’s a cake =) More eggs make things chewier, and by the same rule more bananas should, also. (Bananas can be substituted for eggs in most baking recipes.) I wish I could be more helpful but most times I’m just sort of winging it, myself. I’m sure our own Bakezilla would have some tips, though =)

  3. 3 Bakezilla said at 3:16 pm on August 28th, 2009:

    I have many tips! I love cookie bars, and intend to write a post about it very soon. They are close cousins of brownies. Basically, you want them to be not too cakey, so they usually involve no baking powder or soda, and not a ton of flour. They allow you to use ingredients that are too runny for individual cookies, like jam, and are usually layered, which you also can’t really do with individual cookies. And, layers means several different types of goodness in one dessert!!!

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