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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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet and milk)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or coat with butter, and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. (As noted above, I never do this step unless it's for something fancy. I just mix this stuff into the wet ingredients, one item at a time, starting with the baking soda and salt).

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth and pale. Slowly add the dry ingredients (see my lazy cooking from step 2) and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Pour (Mine plopped more than poured) cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula (I used my hands... shh...). Bake cookie bars for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.


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