Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chocolate Espresso Bars

Not too long ago, I wrote about my break up with coffee. We were done; it wanted nothing to do with me. Well, forget that, because it came crawling back after I made these bars, and we're happily back together, thankyouverymuch. 
If you know me at all, you know I suck at cooking. Jar sauce, meet noodles: my idea of cooking. The boy and I maintain healthy diets, and eat well, but food is not complicated around here. Recently my boyfriend (equally lazy when it comes to cooking) and I have taken to attempting to cook and it's... not going so bad. The food doesn't burn! I don't get scared or sick! I get to be mildly bossy and domineering when following recipes! (Actually, that last point is why I so much prefer baking. You just follow a recipe. There is much less guesswork than cooking. And I know which ingredients go well together-- all the fatty, sugary ones).

These bars were our dessert the other weekend, after we poured through a few baking books and couldn't get this recipe out of our heads. Boyfriend was surprised I had all the ingredients on hand. As if some people don't have within three feet of them every ingredient to make any dessert at any given point? Strange.

But anyway, the bars definitely continue my obsession with all Williams Sonoma's recipes. They are incredible. Fudgier than fudge. Chewy, yet soft and melty in your mouth. And there's a layer of icing on top that beautifully blends into the bar so well you can barely differentiate between the two.

Plus they're totally a legit substitute for your morning coffee.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I am a lazy baker.
When I bake I like to streamline the process as much as possible. Partly because I am messy, and the less chance I have to make more of a mess, the better. And partly because I want to get to that chocolately finish line yesterday. 

I rarely mix dry ingredients ahead of time, unless it's something really fancy (or it's something from RLB, because she will cut a bitch). I just mix the dry stuff into the wet ingredients one item at a time, starting with the smallest amount, usually salt and baking soda// powder. Everything turns out fine, except for when it doesn't.

These bars are one of the good times. They're chewy and dense, with the perfect ratio of dough to chocolate. Just like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but better, because you can cut a giant square and say you ate just one, instead of being like, "Oh I had 8 cookies for breakfast...".

They'd also make a great base for other desserts. I plan on using it for the base of an ice cream cake for my son's preschool graduation next month!

What shortcuts do you take when baking?

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