Monday, November 13, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge #4: Maple Shortbread Bars

This is my first entry in the Retro Recipe Challenge hosted by Laura of Laura Rebecca's Kitchen. I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to participate. I've been lurking on both of her wonderful sites and reading the round-ups on the RRC site. I own what MBH refers to as the mausoleum of cookbook collections. I LOVE to cook from my old cookbooks so Retro Recipe Challenge seems to be a tailor made food blog event for me! The premise behind RRC is to cook retro food; the good like beef stroganof, the bad like tomato pimento and pineapple chunks in lemon Jello, and the ugly like chicken ala king on toast from a cookbook published between 1920 and 1980. This month's installment is Fall Foods and I chose to cook Maple Shortbread Bars from the 1968 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two.

This was a quick and easy recipe to put together; 13 minutes total prep time: 5 minutes to make the shortbread and 8 minutes to make the coconut/maple top. The result however tastes like you slaved in an oven hot kitchen all day. In other words, the perfect dessert recipe a busy housewife can throw together between loads of laundry, vacuuming, dusting, and window washing and still greet her hard working husband at the front door wearing a hot pink mini-skirt, white go-go boots, silver lucite ball necklace, and holding a martini in her hand.

This cookie bar is made in two steps. First you bake the shortbread then you spread the maple syrup and coconut mixture on top and bake it for a short time, just long enough to toast the coconut and form a caramel top.

This was a terrific tasting cookie. The shortbread was buttery and the maple syrup/coconut topping was like the frosting on a German chocolate cake. I am going to make these again, but I think I might add a layer of mini chocolate chips between the maple syrup/coconut and shortbread and then serve it warm with vanilla ice cream. I'm also going to add this bar to this year's Christmas cookie tray. In a word, this bar is yummy!

Maple Shortbread Bars
from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two (1968)

1 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

Sift together flour and sugar. Cut in butter till mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press into an 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes. Combine syrup, coconut, and 1/4 tsp salt in small saucepan. Cook till coconut absorbs most of the syrup, about 8 minutes. Spread over warm shortbread; bake 10 minutes. Cool until syrup/coconut is firm but not hard. Cut into bars and cool on cookie rack.