I admit I was a little intimidated by the title of this cookie recipe, French Pastries. Just from the title, I imagined some type of fancy cookie that may require advanced skills to make. But I should have known better…Cookies by Bess is full of over 200 cookies recipes. Grandma Bess made sure most of the recipes are easy to bake and don’t require anything more than a passion for baking. French Pastries are no exception.
After reading the recipe, I realized French Pastries are a bar cookie! Not the fancy and dainty, time consuming cookie I was expecting. I was relieved! Also, I noticed the recipe calls for my favorite ingredients, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla…I was now relieved and excited!
Having said all that, I do have to admit I did have a slight problem with the recipe. All ingredients mixed together perfectly. I hand mixed the crust, no problem. The topping ingredients came together, no problem. I used a 7×11 inch pan and stuck it all in the oven to bake. This is where the problem started.
About 15 minutes into the baking time, the topping started to overflow the baking pan. It was hard to watch the yummy caramelly topping drip over the sides of the pan, but I let it drip until the baking time was done. I just hoped the rest of the bars baked and were done. Keep reading for how it all turned out!
I am rating French Pastries 2-stars for cookie making difficulty. To be honest, I think it’s a 1 ½ stars, but decided to round up to 2-stars because of the hand mixing needed to form the dough for the bottom layer crust.
The recipe doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and I just happen to have all of them in my pantry!
The first step in this recipe is to hand mix the dough for the cookie crust.
The ½ cup butter I used was very soft, so mixing the butter, flour, and brown sugar together was relatively easy and also a little messy!
After just a couple minutes, the dough came together nicely!
And was a perfect consistency for spreading into the baking pan!
While the crust was in the oven baking, I pulled together the ingredients for the topping. I want to mention that I decided to use almonds for the nuts. I usually only use almonds when specifically called for in the recipe. For some reason I thought almonds would be a perfect fit for French Pastries. After trying the finished cookies, I have to admit that I was right 😊
The topping ingredients came together easily and resulted in a beautiful caramelly mixture.
Once the crust was out of the oven, I was ready to pour the topping onto the crust.
And finally, I was ready to bake!
I checked in a couple times on how the baking was going. The first time I checked in, all looked good! I figured the topping was solidifying as there was a firm almost hard layer on top.
But as I mentioned above, the baking became a bit nerve racking the next time I checked. As you can see from this picture, the topping kept rising as time ticked away. Even though there was a nice firm layer on top, it seems the topping was still liquid just underneath. The topping starting to drip over the sides of the baking pan just after this picture was taken.
I decided to let the baking process continue until it hit the 25-minute mark. I felt I should continue to bake so the crust would be done, and I hoped the topping would solidify.
At 25 minutes, I took the pan out of the oven. As you can see, the firm topping layer is still there, but the topping underneath was able to escape over the pan edges. The topping was still loose under the firm topping layer, so I decided to let them sit for a while…hoping again the topping would solidify.
Finally, the French Pastries firmed up and the end result cookies are fabulous! Just check out the golden crust, the caramelly topping, the awesome almonds, and the crispy top layer. And can’t you just taste the brown sugar, vanilla, and butter! OMG…so good!
So, after all is said and done, I want to go back to what I said at the beginning of this blog post about my first impressions of French Pastries.
Looking back, I think I was a bit right to be intimidated. The recipe isn’t hard, but it is a bit complex. And something happened along the way that I still need to figure out.
Regardless, I’m glad I made French Pastries. I faced my fears and persevered even in the face of adversity (cookie adversity that is 😊)…it just goes to show you that if you persevere, you are able to figure anything out.
These French Pastries may not have turned out exactly like they should, but the still look great and taste even better!
Here’s to all of you out there that have maybe baked “not so perfect cookies”…who cares?!?! Just the fact that you are baking means you are trying and doing your best!
If you decide to make French Pastries, please send me your pictures and your thoughts about the recipe. I’m so curious if you get the same result as me or if you are able to make the perfect cookie!
You can send me your pictures and comments by going to our Contact Janet Page.
I hope to hear from you!
1 cup sifted flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
Work ingredients together with hands and press into a pan about 7×11 or 7×13 inches. Use a floured hand to pat in place. Bake in 350 degree oven 10 minutes
2 eggs beaten
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients and spread over baked crust. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer at same temperature. Cut into desired shapes at once.
Makes about 2 dozen bar cookies
Cookie Category: Bars