Multilayered bar cookies have great visual appeal. Although they look complex, they are simple to assemble, which means maximum results for minimum effort. Most bar cookie crusts are quickly tossed together with a pastry blender or a spoon and formed into a layer in the pan with your fingers like press-in pie pastry. The end result might be a rich dough that resembles the base for Coffee-Pecan Triangles or one made with cookie crumbs like the crust of Orange Cheesecake Dreams. If the filling is very liquid, the crust will be prebaked so it won’t get soggy. When cutting bar cookies and bar cookies with a crust, you will get the neatest results if you mark off your lines with a simple grid. Use toothpicks as guides for your cutting lines for either squares or diamonds. A perfect square cut in half yields a perfect triangle. For a more generous triangular shape, cut rectangles in half.
Cutting in Butter or Margarine
Use a fork to stir together flour, sugar, and salt until thoroughly blended. Cut cold butter or margarine into pieces and cut in with a pastry blender, using an up-and-down motion, until the mixture is crumbly.
Pressing into Pan
Transfer the crust mixture to a baking pan (with a rich dough there is no need to grease the pan first). Push the dough around with your hands until it covers the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Be sure to fill the corners.
Spreading Filling Evenly
While the crust bakes briefly, prepare the filling. Remove the crust from the oven, set it on a cooling rack, and pour on the filling. Spread it evenly with a rubber spatula so that every part of the hot crust is covered.
Cutting Bar Cookies
Let the cookies cool completely in the pan before cutting them. Then mark cutting lines with toothpicks inserted around the inside edge of the pan. Cut the cookies with a small, sharp knife, using the toothpicks as guides.