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July 2000 Issue
Cookie Bars to Enjoy
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Recently, I found myself reminiscing about times past and particularly those spent at my grandmother's farm. Memories of peeling bushels of ripe red apples for homemade pies, taking bowls of cream out to the cats that would only sit still enough for my grandmother to pet them, working up dark soil in the garden around fresh bunches of lettuce and beans and smelling the sweet scent of huge magenta roses come flooding back when I take a few moments to remember those good times. However, if there's one thing I remember most fondly, it's the scent and taste of warm molasses cookies ready to be bestowed upon all of the eager grandkids. My grandma always had molasses cookies on hand. Sometimes there might be other desserts about, but it just wasn't a home unless she had molasses cookies in it!

This month, I'm sharing a different rendition of my favorite recipe for molasses cookies, as well as a great oatmeal bar recipe, to help keep such lovely memories alive and well. After all, we all have our favorite memories of the good 'ol days and we ought to do our level best to keep them alive and well in any way we can. I think I'll do just that by pouring a tall glass of milk, cutting a slice of molasses cookie bars and taking a trip down memory lane. Won't you join me?


Molasses Cookie Bars

  • 1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 1 c. hot water
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 c. flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 T. sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening and 1 cup sugar. Add the egg and molasses and beat well. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the molasses mixture. Add the spices and mix well. Stir in the flour by hand -- the mixture will be moist and heavy.

Spray a 10-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the bars are cracked and set. Cool completely before cutting into wedges.

  • Yields: about 3 dozen
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Like the recipe above, this next cookie recipe is in "bar form". With all the hustle and bustle in life, I often find that I appreciate being able to mix the batter, press it into a pan and bake it for an admittedly longer period of time -- but I'd much rather periodically check an oven than roll dozens of cookies and be on constant oven duty! I hope you enjoy these incredibly chewy cookie bars as much as my family does!


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie Bars

  • 1/2 c. butter or margarine
  • 3/4 c. smooth applesauce
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 c. oatmeal
  • 2 c. Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 X 13" baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, applesauce and sugars; beat well. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and add to the applesauce mixture. Beat well.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well blended.

Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

  • Yields: about 24 bars
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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