Suggested Bar Cookie Variations

This post holds for ideas for bar cookie variations that I haven’t tried yet. See the original recipes here:

Frosting for Bar Cookies

Lemon Glaze:
Blend 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth. Drizzle over finished lemon bar cookies. (Adapted from cooks.com)
Sugar Glaze:
Blend 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon melted butter, and 1 Tablespoon milk. Drizzle over finished bars. If you like heavier frosting, double this glaze recipe.
Chocolate glaze:
Cook 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 2 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture boils. Turn off heat, and stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Continue to stir until chips have completely melted and glaze is smooth. Spread chocolate glaze over bars. (From the book Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor)

Shape variations

Button Cookies:
For perfectly shaped cookies, make the Chewy Bar Cookies dough. Drop the dough with a teaspoon-scoop into greased mini muffin pans. Makes almost 5 dozen cookies (55 to 58 cookies). Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes.
Drop Cookies:
Make the Chewy Bar Cookies dough. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake at 350 F until edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 2 minutes on sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (Technique from Martha Stewart)

Shortbread variations to try (untested)

  • Candied Ginger shortbread: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the dough. Optional: Drizzle bars with glaze. (Adapted from epicurious)
  • Dark Chocolate shortbread: Reduce flour to 1.5 cups. Add 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt to the dough. Optional: Add mint extract to the glaze. (Adapted from epicurious)
  • Pine Nut and Rosemary shortbread: Omit the vanilla and chocolate chips. Add 1 scant teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, zest of one lemon, 2/3 cup toasted pine nuts, and 1-1/4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped. (Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Chewy Bar Cookie variations to try (untested)

  • Almond bars: Omit the vanilla. Add 2 teaspoons almond extract and 1-1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds to the dough. Optional: Drizzle bars with glaze (see above).
  • Apricot bars: Add 1 cup chopped dried apricots and 1 cup white chocolate chips. (Inspired by this deluxe drop-cookie recipe.)
  • Chocolate Chip Raisin bars: Add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup raisins to the dough.
  • Cocomia bars: Add 1 cup shredded coconut and 1 cup whole macadamia nuts (up to 1.5 cups macadamia nuts).
  • Cranberry Cornmeal bars: Reduce flour to 1.5 cups. Add 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal and 1 cup dried cranberries to the dough. Omit chocolate chips. (Adapted from Doodle Bug Kitchen)
  • Glazed Lemon bars: Add 1 Tablespoon lemon zest and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice to the dough. Make the glaze with 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice. (Adapted from Every Day Food)
  • Lemon Macadamia bars: Omit the vanilla. Use 2 teaspoons lemon extract instead of vanilla extract. Add 7 oz (1.5 cups) whole macadamia nuts. (Adapted from Mrs. Fields)
  • Mandarin Orange bars: Add 1 Tablespoon orange zest and a 10-oz can of mandarin oranges (drained and chopped). Add 1 cup white chocolate chips. Optional: Drizzle bars with glaze (see above). (Adapted from Mrs. Fields)
  • Orange Chocolate bars: Use 1 teaspoon orange extract instead of vanilla extract. Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips (Adapted from Mrs. Fields)
  • Peanut Butter bars: Add 1 cup of creamy peanut butter to the dough (suggested by the Drinkology Eats Guide)
  • Spiced Raisin bars: Bring 1 cup seedless raisins to boil in 1 cup water. Let cool for 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves to the dough. Add the raisins and 1/2 cup chopped pecans (adapted from Penzeys Spices, Early Summer 2009 catalog)
  • Reese’s bars: Add 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter and 1 to 1.5 cups Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s candies to the dough.
  • White Macadamia bars: Add 1 cup white chocolate chips and 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts to the dough.
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