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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fast Candy Chip Bar Cookies

As a kid, I spent what probably added up to months of my life baking cookies.  It was the only indoor activity my best friend and I could suggest that would guarantee parental permission to play inside during nice (read: sweltering, chokingly humid) weather.  For that and other reasons, I baked.  A lot.

I don't bake so much any more as an adult.  Partly because while I can put together entire meals days in advance, I can't seem to remember to soften butter to bake with.  Partly because the mixer takes up too much room in the dishwasher and requires its own wash cycle, either by machine or by hand.  And partly because I no longer find dropping dozens of cookies from a spoon or rolling dozens more into individual balls and flattening them one by one with a water glass relaxing or fun or a nice way to pass the time.  Mostly I just find it tedious.

So I LOVE cookie recipes that eliminate all of those issues.  This is really just the Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, but tweaked a bit.  I'm going from frozen butter to cookies in less than 30 minutes.  Shazam!  Pretty much all cookie batters freeze well unbaked, and this one is no different so that's extra points!  Freeze it on a baking tray if you have the room, or in a lump to spread into a baking pan after thawing.

My dad always made the Toll House recipe with melted butter rather than softened with the result that the cookies were somehow butterier than usual.  A perk of this method (besides yummy cookies) is that you can start with butter that's still freaking FROZEN and have cookies fast.  With liquid butter, you can also ditch the electric mixer to make the batter.  The texture you get from the melted butter also offsets the slightly tougher texture that can come from using whole wheat flour; as the butter incorporates more smoothly than softened solid butter, minimizing the risk of overmixing the batter which is a greater problem with higher gluten whole wheat flour than regular all purpose flour.

And lastly, by making these as bar cookies, there's no tedious cookie shaping.  Perfect!

Please note: I used cherry-flavored chips in this batch because I was overcome with Holiday Baking Brain Disease at the store when I bought these artificially-flavored droplets of partially hydrogenated Red No. 5 and I had to use them in *something*.  I also added 1/2 tsp of almond extract, which I highly recommend whether you use faux cherry food-like product in your cookies or not.

Toll House Bar Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen

2 sticks butter (1 cup), melted in the microwave
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-2 cups chocolate (or other flavor) chips

Stir butter and sugars together until well combined. Whisk in eggs and extracts.  Stir in baking soda, then flour in 3 batches.  Gently mix in chips. 

Press into a non-stick or greased 15x10 pan (a jelly roll or quarter sheet pan).  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan and then cut into squares. Pin It

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