Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
As the designated baker in the family, I get to make the choices.  And I like cookie bars for the simple reason that bars are less work than drop cookies.  A big pan of bars is done just like that with only one dirty pan while cookies takes several sheet pans that all need to be cleaned after the baking is done.  My dishes aren't magically wisked away and cleaned like cooking shows on the Food Network!  As it turns out, the family prefers softer cookies over crunchy so it's a win-win all around.

This is a recipe that I've used for a few years that I found on a blog by Julie at Dozen Flours here  except that I omit the cinnamon...the kids don't think it adds to the chocolate chip cookie feeling.  I bake mine in a 12X18 pan.

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookie Bars
2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons of cinnamon + 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chocolate chips (you can use chocolate chips that are the same, or change it up)

Note: you can substitute one cup of the chocolate for one cup of roughly chopped nuts of your choice)

I like Ghirardelli chocolate.  It feels so bad using 4 sticks of butter at once!
Preheat the over to 375F. Grease and flour (I use parchment paper instead of greasing the pan) either one half-sheet pan or 2 13x9 pans.

Combine all the chocolate chip/chunks and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour and a shake or two of cinnamon. Use your hand to coat the chocolate chips and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars together until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs (all at once) and the vanilla and beat for 1 minute on medium until thick and well combined (be sure to stop and scrape down the bowl a few times if necessary).

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well each time (the batter will be very thick and the flour will get trapped in the pockets).

Use your hands to add the chocolate, trying to avoid the handful of cinnamon flour that's sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Using a mixer or your hand, blend it for a few second until the chocolate is well distributed into the batter.

Press the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the half-sheet pan for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and bang it on the counter to force the air out of the batter. Put the pan back into the oven and continue cooking until the center passes the toothpick test. I kept checking it every 3-5 minutes. DO NOT OVER COOK! The dough along the perimeter will cook and brown faster than the middle and that's okay. You want the center to be just at the point where they are done, so it might look like they are slightly under cooked. For the half-sheet pan, they were done after 30 minutes. For the 9x13 pan, check the bang the pan after 10 minutes and continue cooking until done, checking on it every 3-5 minutes.

When they are done, remove from the oven and bang the pan on the counter again. Use a knife to cut around the perimeter of the pan (just to loosen the bars ), and leave 'em alone for a while.

Out of the pan and cooling on the counter
When the pan is cool enough to touch, invert onto a cooling rack (they will be upside down), then invert them again onto another cooling rack or onto a big cutting board. Let them sit until totally cool (I gave them 8 hours). Cut into the desired shape and size.

two big slabs for Stuart at college, a large box with the edge pieces and a bowl with bars

Yield:  Cut them into whatever shape fits your needs.  Julie of a Dozen Flours cut her's into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch chunks and 1x3 inch dunking-bars and got roughly 60 servings. Your results will vary depending on the size pan you use and how big you decide to cut them.

Thanks Julie!


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