WHILE BRAIN-DEAD tourists wrap around the block to wait for cupcakes from Magnolia, Baked, the Red Hook bakery known for its rich brownies and other confections that trump any Little Debbie knock-off, manages to thrive beneath the radar. This is most likely because going to Red Hook is about as pleasant as catching the clap.
Recently, though, Baked released New Frontiers in Baking, a 200-plus page book detailing how to recreate the shop’s sinfully delicious dishes in a place slightly less far flung than its headquarters: Your kitchen.
While recipes for everything from Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with cream cheese filling to Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits are included in the book, there is one item that truly stands apart from others. It’s the same one we stock up on every time we happen to be near the bakery, the one we’ve gone from a Midtown office to a Dumbo grocery store for on a lunch break. The Baked Bar.
This namesake sweet comprises a toasty graham cracker and coconut crust, walnuts, semisweet and dark chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch and is topped off with condensed milk.When purchased in what is billed as a single serving, it costs $2.50. Having the ability to make Baked Bars at home—assuming we had coconut and butterscotch on hand and knew whether or not our oven worked—however, would be priceless, albeit time consuming.
But assuming you have three spare hours, $50 (what ingredients cost for a tray that fed our entire hungry, greedy office) and a desire to share baked goods, the project is Easy Bake Oven level–simple. Step one: Grab the nearest bottle of wine or Campari to use as a rolling pin. (Please, you thought we had space in our closet of a kitchen to keep a rolling pin?) Crush up about 20 graham crackers in a freezer-size zip-top bag. Melt butter, toast coconut and combine. Then flatten the mixture out in the pan. Cool the crust in the fridge. This helps it set and keeps it from getting soggy once everything else is on top. From there, it just becomes a layering exercise. If you don’t have toasted walnuts on hand, just toss the untoasted nuts into the oven while baking the crust.
This is actually a worthwhile endeavor, as it deepens the nutty flavor. A step that can definitely be skipped is chopping them. Leave those nuts unmolested, as they will add more of a crunch in the end and form a delicious nut barrier, keeping the condensed milk from soaking into the crust. Then just dump on the various chocolates and butterscotch. Obviously, more nuanced instructions can be found in the book.
A few hours and a couple of episodes of Iron Chef later, voila: freshly baked Baked Bars that look like a chocolate cobblestone road leading the way to diabetes land.
No matter how excited we were at the prospect of making our own Baked Bars, however, after the ordeal was over, we were stuck with giant slabs of winter weight just asking to cling to thighs and guts. Sure, it’s great to have a fresh sugar rush whenever you want, but making an entire batch is not an endeavor to be entered into lightly. Certainly, you could make them all and freeze what you don’t want to eat, but that seems like a recipe for a tooth-chipping disaster.
Or you could just jump on that B61, head down to Red Hook and get one ready-made. Either way, should take about three hours.