Rain is pitter pattering outside our door this weekend, ushering spring into the Fraser Valley. When it's a bit cold and nasty outside, these squares are warm and comforting with a cup of tea while you sit by the fire, staving off the last of spring's chill. A cookie like layer on the bottom is topped with a moist, gooey layer and topped with crunchy cinnamon sugar - if you like French toast or coffee cake, this square is for you.
We spent our Sunday out at Fort Langley trekking around in the rain; browsing through antique shops and candy stores, sipping coffee and listening to the train whistles. Living in the Fraser Valley means we can always find something to do, and coming home to these on the counter was a treat. When you bake them, the shorter baking time will give you a more gooey square, whereas the longer one will produce something more cake-like. Either way, they are delicious. One thing I especially love about this recipe is the option between corn syrup or honey that Deb Perelman offers. When you have a kid with a suspected corn allergy, it's a welcome treat.
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Cookie like base:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey or light corn syrup
1/4 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream ( I used 1% milk)
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups flour
Crunchy cinnamon top:
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease, and then line a 9x13 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set it aside.
Make the Cookie Layer:
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, mixing it some more to combine. Stop the mixer and scrape down again, and then add in the milk and mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Transfer the dough to the pan and using a knife or offset spatula, spread it evenly in the bottom of the pan. Set it aside and clean the mixing bowl and beaters.
Make the Gooey Layer:
Next, in another medium bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.
In the clean mixing bowl, beat together the butter, salt, and sugar until light and fluffy. Stop the beater and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat well. Add 1/3 of the flour, and mix until just combined. Next, add half of the milk mixture and combine. Repeat with 1/3 more of the flour, then the rest of the milk mixture, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour.
Layer this mixture on top of the cookie dough mixture in the pan, spreading it all over top the cookie layer evenly.
In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar. sprinkle this evenly over the gooey layer. Yes, this seems like a lot of sugar and in some ways it is, but it works out awesomely.
Bake the squares about 25-30 minutes. The first amount of time will give you a more gooey square, but if you prefer them less gooey then bake them a little longer. I baked mine about 30 minutes. Let them cool completely on a rack before you cut them into squares.
Makes about 24 squares