These cookie bars are after my heart.
They are everything I crave and love about a chocolate chip cookie–all crisp edges, chewy middles, toffee-like butteryness, dark chocolate, and crunchy nuts–except, there’s none of that portioning/scooping business. This means that these go from oven to mouth in a little less time with a bit less hassle.
When I spied this recipe on Not Without Salt, I needed it in my life with a quickness. I made them the same day, with what I had on hand–sharing them with neighbors and Sean’s co-workers–then, made them again 2 days later with a few adaptations of my own.
It’s not often that I make the same recipe twice in a month, let alone in a week. This is a recipe for the recipe box. It deserves a handwritten card and coveted space among the favorites…the ones you go back to over and over again, endlessly adaptable, always familiar.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from Not Without Salt
I used black salt for sprinkling over the top. It was a purely aesthetic decision and I had some on hand in my salt hoard–a gift from my brother-in-law–you can use any sea salt you have or like. I think smoked salt would be a nice as well. Also, I would encourage switching up the mix-ins if you like…different or no nuts, peanut butter or butterscotch chips, toffee bits, etc.
1 stick (4 ounces), plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, browned
4 ounces (1/2 bar) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granualted sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt for sprinkling
12 ounces dark chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
5 ounces nuts–I used walnuts–toasted and cooled
Grease a 9×13 pan, line with parchment and grease again. Preheat oven to 350F.
Toast nuts on a sheet pan for about 5-10 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from oven and cool.
Brown the butter in a skillet over medium low, until milk solids are brown and fragrant like toffee. Remove from heat and scrape into the bowl of a mixer, allow to cool slightly while you gather your ingredients.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a seperate bowl, toss together chocolate and nuts and set aside.
Add sugar and cream cheese to the browned butter in the mixing bowl and cream for 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl. Mix in vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to just combine, allowing a few streaks of flour to remain, it will be incorporated when you fold in the mix-ins. Fold in the nuts and chocolate by hand so as not to overmix.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan–I used clean and oiled fingertips–and bake in the center of the oven for 30-40 minutes until the edges are deeply golden and the center is just set. Remove from oven and cool in the pan.