Make Your Baked Bars Stars With These Tips
There’s so much to love about a bar dessert. They’re rich, delicious finger food, easy to bring to a potluck or a simple treat to set out for guests.
With very little effort, you can quickly make bars look professional. Since you bake them in a pan and wait until they’re done to cut, it’s easy to slice them cleanly and make them uniform. And, you don’t have to worry about them losing their shape while baking.
It’s for these reasons that so many pastry chefs understand the importance of having a go-to baked bar recipe in their back pocket, and why online pastry students will likely discover their own favorite bar recipe.
While baked bars are a favorite for home cooks and professionals alike, it’s easy to turn to a quick boxed brownie or cookie mix. However, with a few simple tips, you can make your homemade bars the star of your dessert spread:
Customize an oat bar
Just because bars are tasty doesn’t mean they can’t be healthy, too. Next time you’re in charge of bringing bars to an event, give an energizing option a try, like these homemade granola bars from Bless This Mess. While granola bars are often associated with take-along snacks for children, they’re also a healthy and delicious option for your events.
The good thing about homemade granola bars is their versatility. You can make the base recipe and customize it according to your own or your friends’ favorite foods.
Begin with the base. Toast oats and nuts in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix honey, butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Then, stir in salt and vanilla.
Take the oats and nuts out of the oven and pour the honey butter mixture over them. Make sure all oats are covered.
Now add your favorite ingredients: dried fruits, coconut flakes, pretzels more nuts, peanut butter – the possibilities are endless. The only rule here is to hold off on chocolate – the mixture will be too hot for about 15 minutes after mixing the honey and the oats.
Once your mixture is complete, pour it all onto a greased 9-inch baking dish. Chill for two hours, and then cut into squares and serve.
Skip the flour and try a nougat bar
When you think of baked bars, you might picture brownies or chocolate chip cookie bars, but these dense flour-heavy options aren’t your only choices out there. Mix it up by trying a nougat, like these pistachio almond torroncini bars from Food Network.
Begin with the sweeteners. Mix honey, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat. You want to warm these up slowly so they don’t burn. Once the sugar is dissolved and the sticky solution reaches 275 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re ready to work with the egg whites.
Beat the whites until they form soft peaks. Then, slowly add the syrup from the saucepan to the egg whites. Let it cool for about 30 seconds before stirring in chopped almonds and pistachios.
Oil a smooth work surface. Ideally you’ll have marble, but a clean baking sheet works just fine in a pinch. Pour the whole mixture out onto the oiled surface. Smooth and shape with a spatula, and then use a knife to cut into identical pieces. Let them cool for about three hours before you wrap them in waxed paper.
These simple-to-make bars look classy and professional, and you can keep for up to a month to take out whenever company drops by.