The bar cookie is a thing of beauty. It brings with it the promise of plenty, the memory of picnics and luncheons and family gatherings where people talked long and laughingly and dessert was a reward worth saving room for. With all the press about farm-to-table and eating in season, it’s nice to remember that the humble bar cookie was a showcase for that long before it was en vogue, featuring whatever came from the garden or farmstand–fresh first, and then “put by.”



Every two weeks, I get to test all sorts of bar cookie recipes, serving them to my guests at the Pig & Weasel, our living-room house-concert series and arts incubator. Last night, this recipe was the winner. The buttery crust works well pressed in to tart pans for a fancy scalloped edge, or, just pressed into typical 9 x 13 casserole dishes, or–doubled for a crowd–into half-sheet pans. For the filling, I have used jams I made myself from fresh apricots, figs and berries, but in a pinch you can use store-bought fruit spreads. (I like Trader Joe’s organic fruit spreads made with fruit & grape-juice concentrate.)


I found this fantastic crust recipe in a 50th anniversary community cookbook put out by the Womens Advisory Committee of the Sears Roebuck YMCA of Chicago in 1952. I like it with my homemade fig filling, or this apricot filling. And for more bar cookie bliss? Try one of my other favorites, such as these coffee-and-molasses dream bars.


Print Classic Ratatouille

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • 1 small eggplant, unpeeled, top removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne


  1. Cut the eggplant into 3/4-inch cubes. Place the eggplant in a colander and
  2. Sprinkle it with salt. Place a bowl over the eggplant and let stand for 1/2 hour.
  3. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-high
  4. heat. Add the onion and red and green peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the zucchini to the skillet Sauté on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the zucchini and place with the other vegetables.
  6. Rinse the salt from the eggplant and dry it with a paper towel. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Sauté the eggplant on medium heat for 6–7 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables to the eggplant. Stir in the thyme, oregano, pepper, and cayenne and cook for 5 minutes. Serve.



Calories - 185 Fat- 2 Calories from fat - 100 Total Fat - 11.0g Saturated Fat - 1.5 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium - 15 mg Total Carbs - 22g Dietary Fiber - 6g Sugars - 10g Protien - 4