Saturday, November 19, 2011

7-Layer Cookie Bars with a Shortbread Base

I made these this morning and they are so delicious (don't even ask me how I know). I got the original recipe from my mom-in-law (thanks, Jackie!) but have designed a major tweak to make them special. They are part bar, part cookie and part soft delicious goodness. Whether you class them as bar or cookie, they are going to be one of my cookie exchange items at work. These actually IMPROVE after freezing because of the shortbread base, and it's this unique base that gives these cookies their particularly excellent flavor and texture! I will take you step by step, because they are a bit fussy. Please remember to use a nonstick 9x13 pan, edged cookie sheet or the equivalent AND parchment or waxed paper on your pan to prevent sticking. I only had aluminum foil in the house and it was a bit of a struggle getting the edge pieces up.

7 Layer Cookie Bars <stock photo>
Shortbread Base
  • 2 c all-purpose white flour
  • 3/4 c golden brown sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 c) butter, softened
Mix the three ingredients together, using your hands at the end to judge if the dough will stick together. Add a bit more flour if necessary (I added an additional half cup). You want a dough that is soft enough to spread, but not sticky or cracked. In a prepared 9x13 pan or medium cookie sheet with edges (lined with foil or parchment/waxed paper) gently roll or pat the dough into place, pinching edges to make a bit of a barrier to the ingredients falling off during baking.

The Layers
  • 1/2 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 package of butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 package of coconut
  • 3/4 to 1 c raisins
  • 3/4 to 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large ziplock bag, combine all ingredients until mixed [non-traditional, but I like it]. Evenly pour the 5 dry ingredients onto the shortbread base. Partially open the sweetened condensed milk can and drizzle evenly over the dry ingredients. Et voila: your 7 layers!

The Baking
Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes (the shortbread base will be golden  underneath and the topping will have caramelized, due to the sweetened condensed milk). Let cool slightly - perhaps 10 minutes - then cut carefully into small bars or diamonds and cool completely before freezing or enjoying.

To freeze use a flat freezer container with a snug lid, and place inside a large ziplock bag to avoid freezer burn. These keep well for up to 3 months in the freezer - if they last that long!

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