Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

We're gearing up for a Fourth of July cookout here, and I'm pretty excited.  I always see crazy patriotic dishes showcased in various cooking and homemaking magazines this time of year - and I must admit, I don't have the patience required for the intense, intricate assembly some of those things require.  Baking my own bread? No problem. But carefully placing rows of berries to form a flag? Please, no!

So I decided to take a more historical twist on patriotism. (I was a history major in undergrad, so I love stuff like this.) Coffee, of course, is deeply ingrained in America's history and has close ties to patriotism.  Aside from that, it's just plain tasty, and can really liven up baked goods.  These cookie bars use a small amount of coffee to really highlight the flavor of the chocolate chips - and because it's just the American thing to do.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
I call for whole wheat pastry flour here to try to make these a bit healthier.  You can use all purpose if you prefer. 
Yield: about 16 bars (depending how you cut them)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softenend
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 or so baking pan - whatever your standard brownie pan is.
2. Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in egg and vanilla.
3. Combine remaining ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing just to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
4. Spread the dough into the prepared baking pan, pressing into corners and making sure it's an even thickness.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden.  Let cool, then slice.  Enjoy!

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