Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Part II: The Bar Cookie

White chocolate, freeze-dried strawberries, and dried rose petals spiff up these blondie-like bars.
White chocolate, freeze-dried strawberries, and dried rose petals spiff up these blondie-like bars.

She is the self-proclaimed “queen of easy-peasy baking.”

And Brooklyn-based recipe developer Jessie Sheehan’s latest cookbook certainly adds another jewel to that crown.

“Snackable Bakes” (Countryman Press), of which I received a review copy, is the type of cookbook that makes baking a treat on a whim not only doable but deliciously satisfying.

The book includes 100 no-nonsense recipes that are simple to follow, require limited equipment, and easy to put together. There’s no stressing over baking “Strawberry Sheet Cake,” “Luscious Lemon Possets,” “S’more Icebox Cake” or “Espresso Ganache Swirl No-Churn Ice Cream.”

I tried my hand at “Strawberry-n-Cream Bar Cookies,” a blondie-like bar cookie that’s flavored with freeze-dried strawberries and white chocolate chips.

Just for fun, I also added some dried rose petals to the dough because strawberries and rose go together nearly as well as peanut butter and chocolate, with the rose accentuating the lovely floral quality of ripe berries.

My rose petals were a sample from Selefina, the new online spice shop from Adagio Teas, which makes it easy to source really fresh and fragrant spices in small quantities, so you don’t end up with a half-used jar languishing in the pantry.

Cool, then cut into squares.
Cool, then cut into squares.

This bar cookie is a cinch to make. No electric mixer required. You don’t even need to wait for butter to soften on the countertop, since it’s melted for this recipe. Combine with sugar, flour, an egg, baking powder, and a generous pour of vanilla extract. Then, fold in white chocolate chips, freeze-dried strawberries (Trader Joe’s is a great source for them, by the way), and 3 tablespoons of dried rose petals, if you’re using them.

The bar cookies bake up crisp on the edges and chewy within. They’re sweet and milky tasting from the white chocolate, fruity-tart from the strawberries, and leveled up with a barely-there floweriness.

They’re easy-peasy to be sure, and just a little rosy-posy.

Easy to whip up, and easy to love.
Easy to whip up, and easy to love.

Strawberry-n-Cream Bar Cookies (With Dried Rose Petals)

(Makes 16 bars)

Cooking spray or softened unsalted butter for pan

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup chopped white chocolate, or chips

3/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries, crushed in your fist into dusty little bits, about 1/4-inch or smaller

3 tablespoons dried rose petals (optional)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line with a long piece of parchment paper that extends up and over two opposite sides of the pan.

Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Whisk in the egg, Sprinkle the salt and baking powder into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Fold in the flour with a flexible spatula until just a few streaks remain and then fold in the white chocolate and strawberries, and dried rose petals, if using, until the last streak disappears.

Evenly spread the (thick) dough in the prepared pan with a flexible spatula and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The bars are ready when lightly browned in the middle and darker brown around the edges. Don’t overbake.

Remove from the oven. Let cool at room temperature in the pan and then lift the bars out by the parchment overhang. Run a butter knife around the edges if they resist and slice into 16 squares. Keep the bars in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.

Adapted from “Snackable Bakes” by Jessie Sheehan

Plus: Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Part I: The Roast Chicken

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