Imagine, if you will, a Snickerdoodle cookie with the topping of an apple crisp. I find that to be a very compelling marriage. My twitter friend, Milisa, of Miss in the Kitchen made Snickerdoodle Bars a few weeks ago that prompted me to get out my apron and bake. Not able to leave well enough alone, I added a crunchy layer on top of the bars and baked them in a 10-inch tart pan. The result was a gooey cookie on the bottom and a crunchy, oat-y, sweet layer on the top. To my surprise, the edges of the cookie baked up and created a crust that worked beautifully for a tart. Visit Milisa’s site for the food, of course. But, also look into her flour sack dish towels. They are very cute and I know some of you that need to have them in your hideaways.
This is sort of a grown up Snickerdoodle. If you want the full-on kid Snickerdoodle, I have a recipe for that, too.
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (for greasing the pan)
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons butter, cool, cut into small chunks
½ cup all purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup oats
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to fully incorporate. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined.
Transfer the dough to the tart pan, and using your fingers, press the dough to the edges of the pan, forming an even layer. Set aside in the refrigerator.
For the topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and working with your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter in until you have a chunky and sandy texture. Add the oats and work them into the butter mixture.
Evenly distribute the topping over the cookie layer. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 27 minutes. When you check the tart it will look a bit poofy and quivery on top. It will settle once you remove it from the oven, but you do want it to be nice and golden on top. Be sure to remove it before the edges get too browned.
For the topping, I have found that using a microplane or cheese grater with large holes is the perfect way to incorporate the butter while it is still cold. The grater makes perfect little bits of cold butter that you can then quickly work into the other ingredients.
This tart bakes in a funny way. The cookie layer will rise up at the edges and it will look a little like a deep dish pizza. I served it in wedges. I presume that you could also bake this in a square dish (8” x 8”) or a small rectangular dish (8-1/2” by 11”), but you will have to watch the timing carefully. The square would yield a thicker bar, and the rectangular would yield a thinner bar, so the times would vary respectively by a few minutes. Proceed at your own risk. I think I will continue with the tart pan because I like the way it looks.
Finally, the joke of The Meaning of Pie isn’t really a joke. I use pi (3.14159) all the time. For instance, here, where I needed to figure out the equivalent pan sizes for a tart or a rectangular pan, I just calculated the area of the tart pan (Area = Πr²) and the area of the rectangular pan (Area = xy). My 10-inch tart pan has an area of 78.5397 square inches and the rectangle has an area of 93.5 square inches. But the 8-inch square pan has an area of only 64 square inches. Thus, the pan size substitutions will yield either 15 square inches more, or 15 square inches less of the bars. That is a significant enough difference in either direction to alter the timing and the appearance of the dessert. So the next time your kid gripes about how they will never use math in real life tell them that the Pi lady…er, the Pie lady said otherwise. Having some primo nerd genetics can come in rather handy at times.