Tuesday, August 26, 2008

White Chocolate Cashew Bars

This is actually the third bar cookie I have made from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion and I have to say, I've been disappointed in all three recipes. I didn't even blog about the first two, although timing and lack of pictures had more to do with that than anything.

The first bars I made were Cafe Au lait, and while they tasted pretty good with a rich milky coffee flavor, they were awfully dry for a bar cookie. The second try was one I was pretty excited about, something called a Camelot Dream Bar that featured coconut and pecans in a dark brown sugar batter. Unfortunately, the bottom crust got a touch overdone, as did the bars themselves in the second baking, leaving them crispy and crunchy rather than chewy and gooey.

When I made these White Chocolate Cashew bars I set the timer for 25 minutes even though the book said to bake them for 30 to 35 minutes. I checked them around 20 minutes and I think I could have pulled them out then and by 25 minutes they were a touch overdone on the edges. Again, like the other bars before them, these were dry and almost gummy... not exactly the texture I was aiming for.

The flavor was good, white chocolate combined with salty cashews, but for me the texture ruined the whole thing. I added dried cranberries to half of the bars thinking the flavors would go well together -- I was right about that, but next time I will simply stir the cranberries into the batter instead of leaving them on the top to get browned.

I have very high hopes for this book though, so hopefully my next attempt at bar cookies will actually turn out okay.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup salted cashews, toasted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder, continuing to beat the mixture until it is shiny and pale yellow.

In a microwave safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate with the butter. Set aside.

Stir the flour into the egg mixture in two additions, mixing until smooth after each addition. Beat in the nuts and the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate.

Bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes until they're puffed and shiny, browned around the edges, and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into bars.


Anonymous said...

They sound great! Bummer they didn't turn out as expected! i hate when that happens.

Anonymous said...

ah, sorry all 3 came out poorly! i personally love the kaf cookie book... try the chocolate coconut bars that say they resemble samoas. you have to add extra chocolate chips on top, but they are fantastics. :)

burkie said...

the silver lining is that since you were disappointed in them, i can admit that i wasn't overwhelmed by the one i tried, too (it had cranberries). it just had no identity--it was too cakey, or not cakey enough, or not nutty enough, or not cookieish enough, or....*shrug* there's just no "there" there, you know? i ate it all, though :)