Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars


These are brownies that taste like chocolate chip cookies.

Or, they're chocolate chip cookies that look like brownies.

You could also say that they're chocolate chip pecan blondies.

Whatever you call them, they are dense, chewy, chocolate-y, and nutty. You're going to need a glass of milk.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

10 & 2/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9x13" pan with nonstick spray.

2. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the salt and vanilla, and mix until combined. If the mixture is hot to the touch, allow it to cool slightly.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape the side of the bowl midway through to ensure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour and baking powder.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans, making sure they are evenly distributed.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread it toward the edges. Smooth the top as much as possible.

6. Bake the bars for 30-32 minutes, until the top is shiny and golden. The center will be slightly underbaked, but it will solidify as the bars cool. Use a spatula to press down the edges and any other areas that puffed up during baking.

7. If you prefer a chewy texture, wrap the bars tightly and allow them to cool overnight before cutting. But if you enjoy the taste of gooey chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, allow the bars to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting yourself a piece. Or two.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Monster Cookies, or How I Realized I Never Get Tired of Peanut Butter


I seem to be stuck in a rut. Several, actually.

An addictive TV show rut. An embarrassing musical preference rut. A bestpizzaever rut. And most of all, a peanut butter rut.


Every time I think about baking something, my mind goes directly to peanut butter. It all started with those ridiculous peanut butter cup cookies. Then there were the life-changing peanut butter cookie dough brownies. And this week? Cookies containing three times as much peanut butter as they do flour.

To top it all off, this monster cookie recipe is nearly identical to the one I posted in November. Despite having hundreds of recipes bookmarked (including everything from cream puffs to carrot cake), I somehow managed to make the same thing twice within six months.

Life is so hard sometimes.



Monster Cookies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 & 1/2 cups peanut butter
4 & 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 & 1/2 cups m&m's

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugars, vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda, and salt with an electric mixer. Add the butter and peanut butter, and continue mixing until smooth. Stir in the oats and flour, followed by the chocolate chips and m&m's.

3. Scoop the dough into approximate 1/4 cup portions, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies


Does it surprise you that I neurotically plan out what I'm going to bake each week... sometimes months in advance? I'm guessing not.

This week I was supposed to be making dessert pizza. Two words that should always be together. I've actually been planning to make it since last July, but it keeps getting pushed back by recipes that demand to be made immediately.

Like this one. As soon as I saw this recipe on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, I became powerless against it. I thought about it constantly over the next three days. I even thought about it while I was exercising, which I'm sure somehow negated all the calories I burned.


Essentially, these brownies combine everything that is good. Chocolate and peanut butter. Brownies and cookies. Salty and sweet.

Plus, we all know that the primary reason for baking is to use as many utensils as possible and shamelessly lick the residual batter off of each and every one. And in my experience, nothing can really compete with brownie batter or cookie dough. Trust me... I'm kind of a connoisseur.


Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies
Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

9x13 pan of brownies, baked and cooled
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 & 1/4 cups pretzel m&m's

Directions:

1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugars, and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about 1 minute more. Add the milk and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, and continue to mix at low speed until fully combined. Stir in the m&m's.

2. Spoon the cookie dough onto the cooled brownies and spread gently into an even layer. Slice into squares, and prepare for your life to change.