What do you do when you feel like making (eating) cookies, but you don’t feel like doing as much work? Cookie Bars! The answer to all of our cookie woes.
You just throw some ingredients in your mixer, toss the dough in a 9X13 pan, and bake them all at once. No scooping out individual cookies, no more worrying that you’re going to have doughy cookies at 11 minutes and burned cookies at 11.5 minutes. No waiting around for one batch to bake before you put the next one in the oven.
Simple. Oh, and each bar is at least the amount of 2 cookies, you can cut them in 24 pieces for more reasonable servings. They are quite rich!
Normally, my first instinct is to add ALL the chocolate. How many chocolate chips does the recipe call for? Let’s double it. That’s always been my game. I like nuts too.
Taylor, however, would rather have no chocolate chips. His perfect cookie has lots of pecans and 1 or 2 butterscotch chips.
I don’t like butterscotch chips, so this cookie bar pleases us both! We’ve found our cookie middle ground.
There really was a deeper reason for me to make these cookie bars, though. I was throwing myself a bone.
I tried two pretty ambitious, totally from scratch recipes earlier this week. I set up a block of time to be in the kitchen and experiment. I was feeling pretty confident, because both of my ideas had a lot of promise, and I thought I had done enough research for the initial drafts of the recipes to have a high chance of success…
I was wrong!
Gluten free chili with cornbread dumplings, and spicy sweet potato hummus. I cooked for hours, and they were both a total bust. The chili tasted awesome, but looked messy and gross, and the hummus looked great, but had the consistency of baby food. Spicy baby food really isn’t good for anyone.
Apparently, cornbread dough doesn’t float on the top of chili, like biscuit dough does. In fact is sinks, quite readily. I was really disappointed when the first dumpling had sunk to the bottom before I’d even scooped the last one in the pot. Now…they did float back up to the top once they were cooked, but by then they were soggy, misshapen, and not at all ready for their close up.
The hummus went awry when I got a little heavy handed with the sweet potato. I LOVE sweet potato, and didn’t think much about how the texture might affect the nice solid nature of hummus. It went from a nice spread, to a puree with one pulse of the food processor. I had no more chickpeas to add…
I’m revisiting both of these recipes next week, and if I ever get them right, you’ll see them soon after.
Needless to say, after that failure of a day, I needed a straightforward, indulgent recipe to help me forget my failures.
Pecan Oatmeal Cookie Bars to the rescue!
And rescue me, they did! The texture leans a tiny bit toward shortbread, but with a soft and chewy center. I added a bit of extra salt, because salty, sweet, butter-y, pecan-y, combinations make my heart sing. My cookie heart. If salt doesn’t make your cookie heart sing, then reduce it.
Go where your cookie heart leads you!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease 9X13 pan, or line with parchment paper
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
- Add eggs, and vanilla, and mix again on medium speed until well combined.
- Add oats to food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times, or until about half of the oats are broken up and half are still intact.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture in small increments, mixing on low until fully combined. Add pecans with the last addition of flour.
- Transfer dough to pan, and bake 25-30 minutes, or until dough is set and the top is slightly golden brown.
- Let cool on cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
- Cookie bars will keep for 1 week in an airtight container.