Friday, July 10, 2009

Bars! Brown Sugar Meringue Bars! Oh My Gosh, Bars!

Yep, I'm officially hooked on making bars, or maybe I just love that Pillsbury booklet from the 50's. No matter, here's another delightful serving of bars suitable for pot-lucks, basement church supper, or just impressing the heck out of your family. I skipped the nuts in the recipe and substituted a cup of dried (dried out, actually in the back of the fridge) currants. This is a good way to use up egg whites left over from making ice cream every other day...Oh I know, you'd never eat nothing but ice cream for five days straight...but if you did, why, you'd have quite a few egg whites looking to be used-up.

Adapted from:
Pillsbury's Best Butter Cookie Cookbook (circa 1950)

You Will Need:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flaked (or shredded) coconut
1 cup dried currants
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will need a 9x13 inch pan, but don't grease it.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into the pan. Bake 15 minutes. While it bakes, prepare the topping.

For the meringue layer:

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff (I use a copper bowl and it goes much easier). Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until it forms stiff, straight peaks. Stir in the dry ingredients, then fold in the coconut, currants and vanilla.

Spread evenly over the first layer and bake 25-30 minutes until done. The top should be quite brown. It will be soft and chewy, so don't expect it to be like a baked meringue with egg whites and sugar. At least, mine didn't have any crackle to it.

When they are still warm, dip a sharp knife in water and cut into squares. Cool completely in the pan before removing.

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