Just 45 minutes to heaven… Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oh… MY!

About an hour ago, two of my Web teammates (names will be withheld to protect the guilty er, innocent) came and begged for chocolate.

BEGGED. I’m not kidding. They did everything but crawl on their knees.

“Oh, please, please, PJ, we NEEEEEED some chocolate. It’s been such a lonnnnnng day. We need a pick-me-up. Don’t you need to go bake something, like, right now?”

Who can resist that kind of pleading? Not I. Especially when the end goal is something I can totally endorse.

I fake reticence. “Gee, I have a lot of work to do right now…”

I can see their faces falling… shoulders drooping…. until I say, “But I was just looking at a recipe online that needs a new picture. How do chewy chocolate chip cookie bars sound?”

AWWRIGHT!

Great rejoicing ensues.

And eye-rolling, and satisfied sighs when I offer warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie bars to – OK, you’ve forced my hand – Halley and Tracy, two of King Arthur’s most devoted chocolate-lovers.

Is there a chocoholic in YOUR life? Read on…

If you’ve never tried any of our extra-strong flavors – what are you waiting for? Just 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon adds rich, nuanced flavor to your cookies, bars, cakes, scones, muffins, breads, and other sweet treats. These bars are the perfect place to test one of the vanilla-caramelized-sugar type flavors, such as those pictured above.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.

Melt 2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) butter, and stir in 1 pound brown sugar; that’s 2 firmly packed cups + 2 tablespoons, if you want to use a measuring cup rather than simply use a 1-pound box of brown sugar.

Add 3/4 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon, if you’ve used unsalted butter), and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

If you’re adding an extra-strong flavor, now’s the time. Today I’ve chosen pralines & cream. Butterscotch, butter-rum, and vanilla-butternut are all yummy, too.

Stir until smooth.

Add 3 large eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl midway through this process.

Look how nicely the eggs thicken and lighten the batter.

Add 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder. 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder gives the bars extra depth of flavor, without adding any coffee taste; but omit it if you like.

Add 2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Stir until well combined.

Next up: chips and/or nuts of your choice. I’m using 3 cups (18 ounces) of semisweet chocolate chips here. But cappuccino chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate, chopped walnuts or chopped pecans – all good.

Also, a 16-ounce bag of chocolate chips is 2 2/3 cups – close enough.

Stir until the chips are thoroughly dispersed throughout the batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with a wet spatula (or your wet fingers). Smooth the top as best you can.

Bake the bars for 30 to 32 minutes…

…until they’ve risen, and their top is shiny and golden.

A cake tester inserted into the center won’t come out clean; in fact, the center of the very middle of the pan may look quite molten when you dig into it. But so long as no wet batter is showing farther out towards the edges, the bars are done. As they cool, the center will solidify.

Remove the bars from the oven. If the edges have risen a lot compared to the center, use a flat spatula to tamp them down.

Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

These bars are very moist indeed just after you’ve removed them from the oven. You might think they’re underbaked; that would be true, if you were going to eat them right away. But letting them cool completely (overnight is best) leaves them with wonderfully chewy, moist texture; if you baked them completely through initially, their final texture would be much drier.

Don’t you love that satiny, delicate top crust?

IMG_2318

Store completely cooled bars, well wrapped, at room temperature. To regain that delicious just-baked, melty chocolate freshness, reheat individual bars in the microwave very briefly, just until warm.

Want to make old-fashioned “congo bars?” Use a mixture of your favorite flavored chips: chocolate, white chocolate, cinnamon, cappuccino, butterscotch, etc.; plus chopped walnuts or pecans.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Yael

    To make these non-dairy, can I substitute oil for the butter? Would it be the same measurement? Would the consistency of the bars very terribly altered? Please don’t suggest margarine – aaack!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Oil should work or you could use melted shortening or lard. However, I would use about 5 ounces of oil along with 3/8ths of an ounce of water. Jon@KAF

  2. Atheen

    I have to concur with the other posters. These are amazing! I tried them first with praline and cream flavor, and this time I added Vanilla Butternut and Pecan extract. I also do 2/3 semi sweet choco chips and 1/3 butterscotch chips. The result is pure and unadulterated bliss. My husband had his eyes rolling behind his head and finished the first batch is less than 12 hours…

    Also, as a side note, the cooking time in my oven is 25 to 27 minutes tops. At 27 they were almost cooked through, and not slightly underdone like called for in this particular receipe. My oven is NOT a convection oven, which could have explained the faster cooking time, it’s a traditional oven, and it IS callibrated, I checked with 2 different thermometers after cooking the first batch, so I know that the temperature was accurate. So definitely DO start checking early like another poster suggested.

    Trust me, make these, they whip up in a snatch and you’ll be a hero in your household.

    Reply
  3. sundance183

    These look super! I get my eggs at the farm and yesterday all they had was jumbo. Probably one would work for a half batch, or maybe one and a Tbs. of liquid whites, but how to adjust for a whole batch?

    Great question! http://www.aeb.org/foodservice-professionals/egg-products#2 The American Egg Board has sizes of eggs if you scroll down a bit. For jumbo-to-large, adding extra egg isn’t necessary unless you’re using 5 or more eggs. You could add another teaspoon of egg white, but I feel that would just be a waste of the rest of the egg unless you save it as an egg wash for something else or in an omelette! Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply

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