Friday, May 27, 2011

Thick and Chewy Cookie Bars

Chocolate Nut Bars, Congo Squares, Cookie Bars this particular type bar cookie has given me heartburn for years. Simple to mix up, this should really be a no brainer. So why have I struggled for years? As a child my Mom had a recipe called Chocolate Nut Bars, when they worked nothing could beat their chewy, brown sugar, nutty flavor. But too often they were hard as a rock or they baked up beautiful only to fall in the middle and be raw and sugary. I finally just avoided them.

Years passed and my desire to conquer this treat returned. I knew part of my failure was altitude, I made a few adjustments that helped. I e-mailed Dorie and she kindly responded with a few ideas. I was getting closer but something was still not working.
I was lucky enough to win a scale on Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She has a recipe on her blog called Thick and Chewy Cookie Bars. It gives measurements in both cups and ounces. I was interested to see how well I 'measured up'! I was spot on with the flour, but my brown sugar measurement was way off. I was taught that brown sugar was packed into the measuring cup. I guess I packed too tight! I was over an ounce off. This was the missing puzzle piece.
The Thick and Chewy Cookie Bars were perfect. I felt like I have conquered my Everest!
Here is Mels recipe!

2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated
Linked to A Well Seasoned Life


cocoa and coconut said...

They look perfect! Well done on perfecting this recipe. I love the sound of their chewiness

Nedra said...

I never thought about measuring my brown sugar. Great tip, and these look good enough to eat for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

How great that you got the recipe to work! I'm so happy when recipes give measurements in weight; that way, you know you've got it right.

Hindy said...

Fascinating! Thanks for doing the research on this for all of us. I will stop packing down my ingredients.
Your squares look awesome!

Kayte said...

Going to bookmark all these cookie type things you post so I have a variety for sending to Matt at college next year (and Mark will enjoy them here at home as well no doubt). Keep them coming!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I couldn't leave your blog without finding the recipe for those outstanding bars on top of your page...these look fabulous!

Kim McCallie said...

These look delicious! I love bar cookies, especially those with lots of brown sugar in them. Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

Amber @ said...

Those look perfect. The sides didn't even come up a ton, so it's nice & even throughout the whole pan! What's your secret?! Haha. Thanks for sharing at Sweet & Savory Saturdays #16!

~Amber @ Dessert Now, Dinner Later!