I’m grouchy. There: I said it. Grouchy McGroucherson.
Seriously, can we be done with winter now? Can we stop with the friggin’ snow? Please?
You know what makes me not grouchy? Cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Especially this new-to-me, I-swear-this-is-the-best recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t she recently post a recipe for sea salt chocolate chip cookies? [Guilty as charged.] But this is flat-out the best bar cookie recipe I’ve ever made. If I use only one chocolate chip cookie recipe for the rest of my days, this will be the one.
Why? It’s beyond easy. Even better, it has a unique depth of flavor—like toffee or butterscotch—and a wonderful texture—crisp, like good shortbread. This recipe comes courtesy of my new friends at Edible Vancouver in British Columbia; I’ve adapted it slightly. The instructions read, “Cut into friendly sized squares.”
See? No more grouchies.
salty chocolate chunk bar cookies
(makes about 30, if you're stingy)
1/2 cup good quality whole pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (see Note)
1/2 cup chocolate chunks, divided
1/4 tsp. good-quality flaky sea salt
Note: Use a combination of dark, milk or semi-sweet chocolate in this recipe. I like Barry Callebaut chocolate chunks from King Arthur Flour; if you don't have chocolate chunks on hand, just use 1 cup of chocolate chips, reserving 1/4 cup for topping as directed below.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until they're fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the pecans to a cutting board and let cool, then chop them very coarsely.
Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a bowl and hand-held mixer), cream the butter until it's smooth; add the sugar and cream together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract. Add flour and table salt, mix gently to combine thoroughly. Add chocolate chips, 1/4 cup chocolate chunks and chopped pecans; mix to combine—the dough will be more crumbly than your typical cookie dough.
Line a rimmed 13-by-9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper (alternately, use a glass baking dish, though I'm not sure if that will alter the texture of the finished cookie). Place a plastic baggie over your hand (to prevent sticking) and use that to press the crumbly dough evenly into the paper-lined pan. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chunks over the dough and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of flaky sea salt. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until cookies are nicely browned and pulling away from the pan slightly. Cool for about 30 minutes, then use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cookie out of the pan and cut into squares. (These cookies get crispy, and cutting them after they're fully at room temperature is messy; better to cut them when they're just slightly warm.)