Cookie lovers have a new baking tome to add to their shelves: Sarah Kieffer’s “100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen.” You may know the self-taught baker, who’s the voice behind The Vanilla Bean Blog, as the creator of the viral pan-banging chocolate chip cookie recipe that circulated the web this past year, her ode to the simple pleasure of crispy, crunchy, caramelized cookie edges. But if you’re not familiar with her work, you’ll want to change that, stat.
Related Reading: Beat the Summer Heat with Easy No-Bake Cookie Recipes
Start by ordering “100 Cookies,” your new resource for just about every kind of cookie, brownie, and bar you could possibly dream of. There are the classics, like snickerdoodles and jam-filled thumbprints; brownies and blondies filled with cream cheese and marshmallows; and an entire section devoted to fruit, like grapefruit cake bars and orange-almond shortbread cookies. Sarah also offers a slew of cookie recipes devoted to the aforementioned pan-banging technique, supplementing the original chocolate chip version for the likes of toasted sesame cookies and rocky road cookies.
100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen, with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More, $20.72 on Amazon
The book is rounded off by Sarah showcasing her baking background, proffering recipes for homemade pie dough, lemon curd, no-churn ice cream, and caramel shards, items that often find their way into the cookbook’s bars and treats.
Good Cook 13 Inch x 9 Inch Bake Pan, $9.54 on Amazon
Below, Sarah has supplied Chowhound with a recipe for her strawberry creme fraiche bars, a treat that revels in summer’s strawberry bounty. The strawberry filling requires the whisking together of both freeze-dried and fresh strawberries, plenty of sugar, lemon juice, creme fraiche, and sweetened condensed milk. It’s spread on top of the crust, which stems from a mixture of flour, rolled oats, sugar, and butter, half of which is baked first on its own, like a layer of pie crust. The other half gets sprinkled on top of the smooth creme fraiche-infused strawberry filling before it’s slipped into the oven for a second time. The result is a decidedly sweet cookie sandwich, one that straddles the line between a slice of pie and a scoop of fruity crumble.
Reprinted from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020
Strawberry Creme Fraiche Bars
Strawberry-filled bars are just what every hot summer day needs. The creamy, smooth filling pairs perfectly with the crunchy streusel sandwich that surrounds it.
Strawberry Creme Fraiche Bars
- STRAWBERRY FILLING: ¼ cup (8 g) freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 lb (455 g) strawberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Two 14 oz (396 g) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 or 5 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)
- CRUST: 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups (150 g) almond flour or rolled oats
- ½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 by 13 in (22 by 33 cm) pan and line it with a parchment sling.
- FOR THE FILLING: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, process the freeze-dried strawberries until they reduce to a powder.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the fresh berries, sugar, and water. Cook, until the berries have broken down and released their juices, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the berries through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the berries to release all their liquid. Discard the berries.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cooked berry juice, freeze-dried strawberry powder, sweetened condensed milk, crème fraîche, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and food coloring, if using.
- FOR THE CRUST: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the all-purpose flour, almond flour, brown and granulated sugars, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the mixture is crumbly.
- TO ASSEMBLE: Press half of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and carefully spread the filling over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is set and does not jiggle, and the crumbly top is light golden brown.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for 4 to 6 hours. Slice the bars and serve. The bars can be served cold or at room temperature but keep best in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
Header image by Sarah Kieffer.