Friday, August 6, 2010
Café au Lait Bars with Cinnamon Cocoa Glaze
I realized recently that I haven’t been mixing up the Friday cookie recipes quite as much as I’d like. I’ve been reaching for the same cookbooks, or just looking on the web for recipes. This week I again vowed to plan ahead and get everything ready long before I needed to bake the cookies. I grabbed by King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion to look for something to mix it up a bit. The recipes from this book always turn out well and they tend to have more complex flavors. A quick look through the book and I had a couple of possible recipes.
I decided to make the Café au Lait bars. Yes, I do make bar cookies a lot, but I hadn’t made anything coffee flavored in a while. The recipe suggested topping the bars with the cinnamon cocoa glaze, and this really added a lot. You do swirl the batters together and this becomes fairly invisible when you put the glaze on top, but I think the bars needed the extra sweetness. The original recipe called for nuts (well, they were optional) and I opted to leave those out.
I have to say that these are the most unconventional bars that I have ever made. They seem more like cake when you put them in the oven, but once they are baked they have a very firm, cake-like texture. I’ve never beaten eggs and sugar until stiff and glossy. I usually do that with egg whites when I make meringue, so that was interesting. The batter loses some of its volume when you add the other ingredients, but it is still very fluffy. Quite a departure from the normal creaming method that you use when making most cookies. I really liked these; they were different and quite elegant. The coffee flavor was there but not over the top; the addition of the cream mellows the coffee flavor. These were a big hit at work!
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cream or milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light-colored and thick. Add the sugar, beating until glossy and stiff. Add the vanilla and the melted butter, beating to combine. Stir in the flour and salt.
Set aside 1-1/2 cups of the batter. In a small bowl, combine the instant espresso powder and the heavy cream and then add to the remaining batter. Spread the coffee batter in the prepared pan and then spoon the reserved batter over the top. With a small knife, swirl the two batters to marble them.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the sides barely pull away from the edge of the pan. Cool and then top with the glaze.
To make the glaze, combine the powered sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually add the cream and whisk until no lumps remain. Spread over the top of the bars. Allow the glaze to set before cutting into bars.
Recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion