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.
I want to gobble these up. I just really want to!
you should just make these and do exactly that!
FINALLY making these RIGHT now. So excited! So many brown butter freckles!
Oh yes. Whenever someone uses “toffee-like” as a descriptor for chocolate chip cookies, I’m sold. Loving that cookie Jenga tower in the first photo. 🙂
Ha, thanks Terris! I keep calling it “cookie-tetris” 🙂
i love chocolate chip everything! and i’m intrigued by the addition of cream cheese. yum!
yes! the cream cheese just brings a little tang and softness to the bars 🙂
Ohmyfoodness these look SO delicious. Perfectly moist with the right bits of crunch! I think I’ll be making these TODAY!
yay! I hope you do!
lynn @ the actor's diet
THOSE LOOK EPIC!!!
yes! thanks Lynn!
These look lovely! I tried a Chocolate Chip Cookie bar awhile back and it was a complete failure. I am looking forward to trying this and I am sure my kids are too!
thank you! I love these and hope you will too 🙂
Yum! How neighborly of you to share such deliciousness 🙂
Ha, thanks Nicole!
I saw these a few months back on Not Without Salt, and thought they looked absolutely amazing. Now that I see them here, I think it’s a sign that I HAVE to make them too. I like the touch of black salt on yours (although at first glance, I thought they were black sesame)! I think I might add Maldon sea salt when I make them!
maldon would be great!
Russell at Chasing Delicious
I could definitely go for a few of these right now! They sound scrumptious.
yes! Thanks Russell!
I tried these and it failed miserably– I think your instructions should reduce the ‘mixing’ time for the wet mixture of cream cheese, butter and sugar. My ‘bars’ turned out so cakey! I followed every ingredient to measure, what else could have gone wrong? Will try again with another recipe.
I’m sorry to hear that the recipe failed for you. I hope you have luck with your next try.
is it possible the batter was over-mixed after incorporating the flour, or perhaps you could bake them a bit less, just until the center is set, not firm? I hope this helps 🙂
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; your pics knock my socks off. Those bars with the black salt? TO DIE FOR!!
yes! Thank you Jenny!
Is the sugar amount supposed to be 1 1/4 cup (not just 1/4)? I made these tonight and they didn’t come out quite right, and I’m wondering if maybe it was the lack of sugar.
The sugar amount is 1/4 cup granulated and right underneath that there is also 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Sorry the bars didn’t work out for you!
Ah, that’s why- I missed the brown sugar. Silly me. Will try again!
aw, okay…I hope it works out this time around 🙂
I need to be honest.. I just found your amazing blog.. and I am baking challenged. I thought I would give this a try.. and if they didn’t come out right I would blame my ill baking skills..
these are AMAZING.. they came out perfectly!!! I am eating one as I type..
If I can make these.. ANYONE can! I don’t own a mixer… and may have messed up the vanilla and salt ratios.. but they turned out so good I may never eat cookies again. (:
Thank you for inspiring me to take on a new challenge.
Excellent! I am so glad they worked out for you 🙂 Thanks for the great comment!
These are delicious! I made these for my husband, the pureist, and he was admittably not excited… until he tried one! Now he doesn’t even want regular chocolate chip cookies anymore, just these!!
awesome! I’m so happy to hear it 🙂