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Mary’s Maine Bars

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for making Mary’s Maine Bars. This recipe, from Dorie Greenspan, makes a chewy, gingerbread type of bar cookie that’s really quick and easy to make. We’re working with OXO Good Grip tools and you’ll find a printable recipe included.

Award winning, Mary's Maine Bar cookies.

Mary’s Maine Bars, an award winning Dorie Greenspan recipe.

Once again, I am delighted to be working with our good friends at OXO Kitchen Tools.

I was contacted by them recently, to work with a very special project called Cookies for Kid’s Cancer which began back in 2007, to help raise funds for research in pediatric cancer, the #1 disease killer of kids in the United States.

This year, OXO is working with cookie legend Dorie Greenspan and her new cookbook “Dorie’s Cookies.”

For this post, OXO will donate $100.00 to Cookies for Kids Cancer. They have also donated a couple of their great products to help me create this recipe, and I’ll share that with you further down in the post.

I’ll show you step-by-step, how to make these “Mary’s Maine Bar” cookies by Dorie Greenspan, and tell you how they can now be called “Award Winning Cookies” as well. Keep reading. Even Dorie doesn’t know about this yet.

While this isn’t one of my normal “old Southern favorite recipes,” it’s well worth sharing this recipe with you here on Taste of Southern. We’ll share some delicious gingerbread tasting bar cookies with you, and hopefully help fund some of the research that could save a lot of kids lives. How much more awesome could that be?

All comments regarding the OXO tools used in this post are mine. As a matter of full disclosure, I haven’t been financially compensated to prepare this recipe, but did receive the tools listed below.

If you’re ready to bake up a batch of Mary’s Maine Bars, then lets get in the kitchen and… Let’s Get Cooking.

OXO kitchen tools provided these.

OXO provided me with these baking dishes, and the spatula. I’ll also be using my OXO Illuminated Hand Mixer that was provided by OXO in regards to another past post.

Mary's Maine Bar recipe is courtesy of Dorie Greenspan.

The recipe is courtesy of the Dorie Greenspan “Dories Cookies” cookbook.

Click the photo above for more information about Dorie and her books.

The Award Winning Mary's Maine Bar cookie recipe.

I’ve baked two batches of these cookies thus far.

Part of the first batch was entered into our local Regional Fair since the fair was taking entries on the same day that I made them.

I’m happy to report they did receive a 2nd Place Award, which is pretty awesome within itself. (I think some Lemon Bars took first place.)

Since I often enter many of my home canned goods, I couldn’t resist entering them into the fair to see what might happen. I was happy to learn they did win a prize. How cool is that?

Now, let’s see how to make them. Ready?

Mary's Maine Bars, you'll need these ingredients.

Mary’s Maine Bars recipe, you’ll need these ingredients.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the all purpose flour.

Grab a large bowl to mix the dry ingredients in. You’ll only need two bowls total to make these.

Begin by adding the All-Purpose Flour first.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the wheat flour.

Add the Wheat Flour.

Dorie gives the weights for these in her recipe. I did weigh out the ingredients for this recipe, but if you don’t have kitchen scales, you can measure it out in cups as given in the recipe as well.

Mary's Maine Bars, add baking soda.

Add the Baking Soda.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the sea salt.

Add the Sea Salt.

I’m not sure why the recipe calls for Sea Salt as opposed to regular table salt. Thankfully, I try to keep some on hand at all times.

Mary's Maine Bars, add cinnamon.

Add the Ground Cinnamon.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the Nutmeg.

Add the Nutmeg.

The recipe called for “freshly grated Nutmeg,” which I did NOT have. I substituted Ground Nutmeg instead.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the Ground Cloves.

Add the Ground Cloves.

Mary's Maine Bars, whisk dry ingredients together.

Whisk the dry ingredients together, then set this aside.

WAIT… where’s the Ginger?  Surprisingly, even those these bars taste like Gingerbread, there ISN’T any Ginger in the recipe at all. Mix it all up really good.

Mary's Maine Bars, cut some parchment paper for your baking dish.

Isn’t that a pretty glass dish?

OXO is well known for making quality products. Their line of Good Grip tools is great, with larger, easier to hold handles on many of them… for us older folks.

The new Glass Baking Dishes, have large, easy to hold handles also. The dishes are made from BPA-free borosilicate glass. I had to look that up, but basically, it makes them resistant to thermal shock. This means, they can easily travel from the freezer to the oven, and then to the table. How easy is that?

No more wrapping the dish with aluminum foil or fighting with plastic wrap either. These dishes have sloshproof lids which make moving your dishes super simple whether its just around the kitchen, or over to Grandma’s house.

You’ll certainly notice the “heft” of these dishes, which lets you quickly know you’re holding another quality OXO product.

This is the 3 Qt. Glass baking dish above. You can learn more about it by clicking: Glass 3 Qt Baking Dish with Lid

You’ll want to cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the dish. I did this by sitting the dish on top of the paper, then drawing around the bottom. Then, I cut INSIDE the line I just drew, to make the paper fit easily inside.

Mary's Maine Bars, spray the inside of the baking dish.

I used a baking spray to grease the inside of the dish. You could certainly use butter or cooking oil, but I’ve become a fan of spraying my pans lately. Choice is yours. Coat the bottom and up the sides.

Position the parchment paper on the bottom inside the dish. The oil will help hold it in place.

Parchment paper likes to curl and can sometimes be a little difficult to work with. Just be patient when using it.

Mary's Maine Bars, grease the top of the paper.

Then, I sprayed another light coat of the cooking spray on top of the parchment paper.

Set this aside for now. It’s time to mix the wet ingredients together.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the sugar.

Grab a large mixing bowl and your mixer. Add the sugar to the mixing bowl.

I’m using my OXO Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer as pictured above. That’s right, it’s got a light on it to help you see inside the mixing bowl.

I’ve had this for several months now and love it. You can read more about it by visiting the OXO website here: Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer

Mary's Maine Bars, add the oil.

Add the flavorless oil. I’m using Canola oil as suggested in the recipe.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the molasses.

Add the Molasses.

DORIE QUICK TIP:  Dorie makes a great suggestion in her cookbook that I sometimes forget. Anytime you’re working with something sticky like molasses or honey, add some oil to your measuring cup first.

That’s why we added the oil first in this recipe. After you get a coating of oil inside your measuring cup, then you add the molasses. You’ll be amazed at how completely it pours out of the cup without sticking all to the insides. Clean up is super quick and easy when you do this. Try it yourself and see.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the egg.

Add the egg.  I always suggest you break an egg into a smaller dish as opposed to directly into the mixing bowl. That way, if you have any shell that falls in, you can remove it easier.

Mary's Maine Bars, combine until smooth.

Using a low speed, gently mix the wet ingredients just until they are combined together.

Can you see the light on my mixer? It doesn’t show up well here, but it’s a great light for seeing what’s going on inside the bowl. Really helps when you don’t have a lot of under cabinet lights in your kitchen… like me. Just saying.

Add HALF of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Mary's Maine Bars, mix on low speed.

Pulse this a time or two to begin mixing everything together. Mix this on low speed just until the flour disappears into the mix. The OXO Digital mixer has easy to use controls right on the handle.

Mary's Maine Bars, add the buttermilk.

Add the Buttermilk.

Mary's Maine Bars, mix to combine.

Mix the buttermilk just until it disappears into the mix.

Can you see how easily the mixer sits up on my counter top? It’s cord also wraps around the base portion for easy storage. The cord also can flip from the left to the right side or vice-versa, depending on what you need where.

Mary's Maine Bars, add remaining dry mix.

Add the remaining dry ingredients to the bowl.

Mix on low speed to combine, just until the flour disappears.

This is where the OXO Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer really shines. You can see how thick this batter is, but the OXO mixer handles it super easily. The speed will adjust depending on the load placed on the beater bars at the time. This keeps the speed constant, when mixing your batters together.

Okay, all those splotches of batter around the inside of the bowl is what happens when you speed up the mixer while removing the beaters from the batter. It’s my way of cleaning off the beaters, but it can quickly throw batter around inside, and sometimes OUTSIDE of the bowl. Proceed with caution. You can thank me later.

Mary's Maine Bars, thick batter.

Place the batter inside your 9×13 baking dish.

Dorie Greenspan refers to this as dough instead of batter. As you can see, it’s pretty thick.

Mary's Maine Bars, work it into the corners of the dish.

Use an offset spatula to work the dough into the corners of the dish.

The dough wanted to slide around inside because it was sitting on top of the parchment paper. I had to use my fingers to hold the paper at one end while spreading the dough into the corners.

Mary's Maine Bars, sprinkle with sugar.

Sprinkle the top of the dough with some sugar.

Regular granulated sugar will work. I just happened to have this larger grained sprinkle sugar on hand so I used that.

Mary's Maine Bars, baking time and temp.

Place the dish on the middle rack in your oven. The oven should be pre-heated to 350F degrees.

The bars will need to bake for abut 25-30 minutes total, but you need to rotate the pan after about 15 minutes to insure even baking. Remember, oven temps vary, so watch it carefully.

Mary's Maine Bars, test for doneness.

When you start smelling the goodness of your baking, insert a toothpick into the dough to see if it’s done. If the toothpick pulls out clean, it’s done. If it has a few crumbs sticking to it, let it bake another minute or two longer. You can also look at the edges and see if it’s started to pull away from the edge of the dish.

Mary's Maine Bars, cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

When it’s done, remove the cookie from the oven and place the dish on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Mary's Maine Bars, loosen the edges.

After it’s cooled for 10 minutes, run a butter knife around the inside edges of the baking dish to loosen the cookie bar from the dish.

Mary's Maine Bars, using the lid to flip.

The lid is shown upside down in this photo. Perhaps you can see the raised portion of the lid, which would normally be up instead of like this.

The height of the lid makes it easy to cover the top of whatever is in your baking dish without worry of messing up meringue, frosting, or whatever topping you might have on your food item.

I thought it would work just perfect to help flip the cookie out of the dish. Since I didn’t have a rack that would cover the size of this dish, I was afraid the cookie bar would break when I tried to flip it out again to cool on the rack.

Flipping the plastic lid over, it fit down inside the dish, and rested on top of the cookie itself.

Mary's Maine Bars, ready to flip.

Then, I used a folded tea towel to hold the lid and baking dish together. The glass dish was still hot, so I used the tea towel as a pot holder.

See how the lid slipped inside. It’s going to keep the cookie from breaking while I flip it over.

Mary's Maine Bars, flipped again.

I held the lid and dish together with the tea towel, and flipped it over. The whole cookie bar slipped easily out of the baking dish. I didn’t even have to remove the parchment paper, it stayed inside the baking dish.

Mary's Maine Bars, cool on wire rack.

I used the wire rack above to once again flip the cookie. The bar needs to cool on a wire rack until ready to cut.

Mary's Maine Bars, cut and enjoy.

The OXO Brownie Spatula came in handy when cutting and moving the bars. If you’re making brownies, sheet cake, or perhaps lasagna in the dish, you can use the end of the Brownie Spatula as a knife to cut then scoop them out with the spatula itself.

Since the entire cookie bar is removed from the baking dish to cool, I cut it into bars on my cutting board.

Any leftover bars can easily be stored in the 3-Qt., or the 2-Qt. baking dish, using the lid to keep them sealed and secured.

Here are the links for the 2-Qt. baking dish with lid, and for the Brownie Spatula.

Glass 2 Qt Baking Dish with Lid

Brownie Spatula

My special thanks to OXO for allowing me the opportunity to share these great products and this recipe with the Taste of Southern readers. I do hope you’ll try it and I look forward to reading your Comments below.

Thank you also to Dorie Greenspan for the great Mary’s Maine Bars recipe.


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