I have been on kind of a cookie bar kick lately. I tend to make them more in the summer, when I want to get any necessary baking done as quickly as possible, to keep the house cooler. And yes, there is such a thing as necessary baking – baking for parties, baking for friends and baking because it has been too long since we have eaten something laden with butter and sugar. Okay, that last one doesn’t happen ever often around here, but it probably does for some people.
Just about any cookie recipe can be pressed in a pan and baked as bars. Recipes that use a cup of butter, about two cups of sugar and about three cups of flour will usually fit in a half sheet pan (or two 9 by 13 pans) and make beautiful bars. Cookie recipes vary, of course, but those ratios are pretty close to what most cookie recipes make. If you are experimenting with a larger or smaller cookie recipe, just take into account the depth of the dough and adjust the baking times accordingly.
Calvin and I made triple chocolate cookie dough the other day. Well, actually, Calvin made the dough and I washed the dishes. He was all for baking them as cookies, but we were crunched on time and I didn’t really want to have the oven on for that long on a hot summer’s day. I pressed them in a half sheet pan and had them baked off in ten minutes. Then we went on our merry way, running errands while they cooled.
I cut them later, while Calvin was at a friend’s house. I had to try one, because, well, it was a triple chocolate cookie bar. Does there need to be any other reason? I was blown away by how good they were – velvety, deep dark, chocolate punctuated by gooey pools of melting chocolate chips. I ate three before I came back to the real world. The original cookies were fabulous, but I think the cookie bars might be better. They might just be the best cookie bars we have ever made. And I don’t think I am exaggerating much.
Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars
From the Cook’s Life
Makes 5-6 dozen cookie bars
The whole wheat gives a fuller flavor to the cookie bars and will be that “mystery ingredient” in your cookies. You can use all-purpose flour instead, if you prefer.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out a 12 by 17 inch half sheet pan or two 9 by 13 inch pans. If you only have one 9 by 13 pan, you can bake half the dough at a time.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until well combined. Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda and mix on low speed until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix on low or by hand.
Spread and press dough evenly into pan(s). Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour if it sticks to your hands.
Bake 9-10 minutes, or until just set in the middle, but still soft. Cool in pan on a metal rack until just warm before cutting into small squares. Store in an airtight container for several days, or freezer for longer storage.