Recently, New West Knife Works sent me a product sample of their most excellent Fusionwood Petty Knife. Now, the first thing I noticed is that it's really a beautiful knife--and they had kindly sent me the "Jessica" style, you know, since that's my name. I knew this was going to be the knife for cutting bar cookies.
But having a great knife in hand isn't worth much if you don't actually know the correct method--and this raises the question--wha is the correct method for cutting bar cookies?
With fancy knife in hand, I set out to find out. Here are some of the valuable tips I have found:
One tip, which I have found through trial and error, is that bar cookies are always easier to remove from the pan if you line it with parchment paper and leave a bit extra trailing up the side of the pan so that you have a "tab" to pull up after baking. No matter how well you may grease the pan, it's always easier to pull up the parchment from the sides, especially for the first few slices, which are notoriously hard to remove.
A tip I found on What's Cooking America is that to make cutting easier once brownies have cooled, score the bars right out of the oven--I recently tried this with a batch of the Baked brownie recipe, and it worked like a charm.
However, you want to wait until the bars have cooled entirely to cut them all the way through. Sometimes I will even let bars chill in the fridge for a half hour or so to get more firm so they don't come apart when cut.
When it comes to actually cutting, make long cuts the length of the pan with your knife--don't make a sawing motion, but rather move the knife in a line until it has made a clean cut. Between cuts, clean knife by dipping it in hot water and wiping with a clean, dry kitchen towel.
For easier serving, remove a corner piece first--this will give you an in to the rest of the goodness in the pan.
As for the knife? Some suggest serrated, but I always like a smooth finish, and think that investing in a nice knife is a good investment--and the New West one has become my go-to knife for cutting bars.