Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Naughty Cookie Bars

I've started taking a series of cake decorating classes at The Makery in Denver, and it's been so much fun.  Hopefully you'll start to see an improvement on my cake decorating skills.  I've already learned some great tips to making better buttercream but am still working on learning simple piping techniques.

During the first class, our teacher mentioned a spice shop, Savory Spice Shop, which has a few locations in Denver, so the other day, I went on a mission to find some new and interesting spices.  Although I didn't find Savory Spice Shop in that particular location (maybe it moved?), I found Penzeys, where I spent at least an hour browsing all the dried herbs, powders, extracts, cinnamons (they had five varieties of cinnamon!), curry spices, and too many others to name.  I managed to escape with only Mexican vanilla and Vindaloo curry spice, although I would have loved to buy out the store.

Jamie was looking through their catalog later that night and pointed to a recipe called Naughty Bars.  "I think we need these," he said.

I had already planned on making the Ice Cream Parlor cupcakes from my last post for the party we were going to on Saturday, but decided a pan of cookie bars for a bunch of hungry people couldn't hurt either.

The name of these bars is half the fun, and they live up to their name as they are very, very naughty.  Incredibly rich with butter and brown sugar, a tiny little square is all you need or want.  For my own variation, I added more salt, a pinch of nutmeg, and a tangy cream cheese icing.

They are completely decadent.  Buttery.  Gooey.  Soft.  Sweet.

Don't plan on baking these to keep at home, unless you're expecting a lot of company, or you might find yourself sneaking one at 1am by the light of the refrigerator, and drinking milk straight from the milk carton.  Take them somewhere and share the love.

Naughty Cookie Bars
printable recipe
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • (optional add-ins - chocolate chips, chopped pecans, etc)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar with a whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg, then add to the batter.  Stir in any add-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts.  Batter will be thick.

Spread evenly in the pan and bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown but the center still looks a little gooey.  Let cool for 30 minutes.

Combine the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar and corn syrup until smooth; spread over the still-warm bars.  Let cool completely before cutting into squares. 

Recipe adapted from Monica Soebbing's "Naughty Bars" in the Penzeys Spices catalog