I’ve been baking holiday treats for my neighbors for years now. Since we moved into our house last year I’ve been making brownies and chocolate chip cookie bars for everyone. They’re easy and almost everyone likes one or the other. When we lived in our apartment in Hoboken I would make shaped sugar cookies, but frankly I just haven’t had that kind of time the past couple of years.

cookie barsThe chocolate chip cookie bars follow the classic Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, I just spread them in a pan and bake them longer.

Original NESTLE Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bar cookie variation) (as posted on VeryBestBaking.com)


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
**I typically make mine in a 13 x 9″ casserole dish and just bake them longer. This batch took me about 45 minutes to bake that way, and I check on them every 10 minutes after the 25 minute mark. I slice them almost immediately and transfer to an airtight container with the layers separated with wax paper. This usually helps me keep them soft longer, and the smaller pan makes a thicker cookie bar-more like a brownie.

finished browniesI use a brownie recipe given to me by a former coworker named Grant. I’ve been making these brownies for a couple of years now, and the first time I made them Adam’s eyes lit up and he said, “I didn’t think it was possible to love you anymore, but I was wrong.” After I told that to Grant he began taking credit for my successful engagement and wedding, so I call these Grant’s Relationship Building Brownies. I don’t actually know if Grant got these from a book or if this is his own recipe, but these brownies are the sole reason I have a kitchen scale for metric measuring.

145g Cake Flour (I use pastry flour)
5g Salt
3g Baking powder
145g Baking chocolate (The key to this whole recipe is good chocolate. I always use Scharfen Berger’s 99% Cacao Unsweetened bars-this recipe takes about half a bar)
165g Butter
450g Sugar
4 eggs
5g Vanilla extract


melting chocolatePreheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and set aside. Cut the butter into smallish chunks and chop the chocolate into manageable chunks if using from a bar. Over a double boiler with slowly simmering water (I just fill a small saucepan with water, heat it, and place one of my indispensible large metal mixing bowls on top of it), melt the chocolate and butter. Stir once in a while with a spatula.

mixing sugar and chocolateOnce the chocolate and butter are melted, pour the chocolate into your stand mixer (if you have one). Whisk the sugar into the bowl you melted the chocolate in. This is my key variation on this recipe; if you whisk the sugar into the nearly empty chocolate bowl, it will soak up all the chocolate left sticking to the sides. Then you can dump the chocolate coated sugar into the bowl with the melted chocolate and not waste any of your expensive chocolate. **If you don’t have a stand mixer, just pour the sugar straight into the bowl with all the melted chocolate. Mix using a spoon or hand mixer.

Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour mix in three parts, making sure the flour is fully combined before adding more. Pour into a lined 13″ x 9″ pan (lined with wax paper or coated with butter and flour). Work the batter into the corners with a spatula and bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean when pricked into the center, or after about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least two hours (these are best the next day). Cut and eat!