maandag 14 januari 2008

Cranberry bar cookies and the 'new' oven

This weekend I finally found some time to think about baking for a change. Things have been crazy with the move, finalizing the sale for our 'old' house, trying to turn the rental house into something that resembles home for the next 10 months, and building plans, contractor meetings and whatnot.

So back to baking. I was so pleased to find an oven in the rental place, and one that looked that it hadn't been used much to boot. The only thing that concerned me was the less than precise temperature knob. Right on the knob are the indications for temperature. What is problematic, is the fact that the distance between 100 and 200 degrees the same as the distance between 200 and 350 degrees, and the same as the distance between 350 and 400 degrees (??). Yes, I scratched my head a couple of times over that too.
I had used the oven twice before, to bake frozen mini-quiches, that admittedly took me 50 minutes to bake instead of the usual 30 in my left-behind oven. I decided right then, that I would not make cookies first, because I feared ending up with either raw or overbaked cookies.

I came across this recipe for cranberry-bar cookies, in Fine Cooking magazine Issue 82. I probably raved about thsi issue before, and I'll do it again. It is magnificent, and you should have a copy in your library :o).

The recipe states you need to partially bake the crust (20 minutes), add a cranberry topping and streusel, than bake another 25. First bake is at 325, second at 350. Setting the oven was a challenge in itsself. I followed the recipe, took out the crust after 20 minutes, even though it looked a little too raw. I added the topping and the streusel, and checked after 20 mintes. Raw. I kept checking at 5-minute intervals, until the whole thing had baked for 60 minutes instead of 25 and I had turned up the heat. It was the strangest thing, still only slightly pale, golden would be a stretch. But it was presentable and quite nice, even though I found it a tad dry. I loved the filling though, and think it will be lovely in any kind of linzer-like cookie or torte. I'll have to think of what to bake next, which has to be something that can withstand serious oven-abuse ;o).

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