We Must Keep Up Our Strength: Chocolate Chip Brown Sugar Bar

The pan may be battered, but it’s my “lucky” pan. Everything I bake it in turns out well!

This is one of the simplest, most inexpensive, yet tasty cookies I know of, and it will be my “go-to” cookie for the foreseeable future. The recipe started out as a “Brown Sugar Bar,” but I sprinkled chocolate chips and sliced almonds on top for a chocolate-y crunch. Then I sifted some confectioners sugar on top after baking. So easy, with the taste of a chocolate chip cookie, but faster. It’s also a good budget-stretcher. I had less than half a 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips on hand, and it was plenty.

I have already thought of some variations. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and sliced almonds, or sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries and drizzle with confectioners sugar glaze. Chopped toasted hazelnuts with a coffee glaze sounds good, too. Or, swirl raspberry jam through the batter.

The only thing to watch out for is to be sure to soften the butter, or the batter won’t spread easily. Since I don’t usually have the foresight to take the butter out of the refrigerator in time, I usually carefully soften it in the microwave. In my microwave, it takes about 25 seconds at a low power. Even including the time for softening the butter, this recipe can be mixed and in the oven in under 15 minutes. Also, try to use the sliced almonds, not slivered. The sliced almonds toast as the bar bakes, and I’m not sure the slivered almonds would be as tasty and crunchy.

Chocolate Chip Brown Sugar Bar

1-1/3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 butter (1 stick) softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 6-ounces chocolate chips
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly as possible in prepared pan. I use the back of a large spoon. It will be gooey, but just keep spreading. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and sliced almonds. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until edges are browned and surface is springy. Cool, and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Cut into bars with a sharp knife. This will make about 20 bars, but they can be cut smaller.

A goldfinch seen through the kitchen window.

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