brown sugar bars

i had a discussion last week with a friend about bar cookies. bars are the true workhorses of mid-america baking. because you can make a large batch in next to no time, bars are the perfect solution to pot luck dinners, church suppers and bake sales. back in the 50’s, everyone had their ‘signature’ bar cookie recipe, and it wouldn’t be a successful church supper unless mrs. h brought their lemon bars, and mrs. t brought fruit bars. well, one of my neighbors from long ago gave me this recipe, and though i grew up in the bronx, far away from the midwest, i know that these bars would have held a place of honor at most any church supper throughout the country.

these bars have a truly ‘old-fashioned’ taste and texture to them – definitely a great ‘after-school with a tall glass of milk’ bar. and oh-so-quick and easy to bake!

brown sugar bars
1/2 cup and 2 additional tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (i use light brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1. preheat oven to 35o degrees.
2. spray 9×9 baking pan with non-stick canola spray oil
3. cream together brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract until light and smooth.
4. add flour, salt and baking soda to the wet ingredients, stirring until well combined.
5. stir in 1 cup walnuts.
6. place cookie batter into pan, then add remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts, sprinkling them evenly over the top of the unbaked batter,
7. place in oven and bake for 23 minutes – outer edges will look firm and baked, center may look soft. remove from oven.
8. let cool on wire rack. when completely cool, cover with foil and let sit for 24 hours.
9. slice and serve! enjoy!

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