I’m not a good cook. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to do more cooking for myself, under the theory that more practice would mean less burning things; that resolution lasted through two weeks of undercooked poultry and watery sauces before I went back to my old habit of frozen dinners and pasta. However, there are about five recipes on which my results are consistently kickass, mostly because they are very, very simple. Simple I can do.
So, without further ado, my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (named last Sunday by the friend that ate about one third of the batch pictured in this post).
Basically, it’s the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips, (minus the nuts). Follow the recipe as on the back of the package, with two important differences:
1. Use real vanilla extract. The standard Nestle recipe actually assumes you are going to use the imitation stuff, so if you just substitute an entire teaspoon of the real stuff, you’ll wind up with cookies that are too runny and sweet. So use 1/2 teaspoon of the real vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of water.
2. Put the flour into the batter last (just before the chocolate chips), and in increments — I usually mix in one cup, then about 1/4 cup at a time until I get the consistency I want. The batter shouldn’t be runny, but it should be just a bit stickier than normal cookie dough. You might wind up using less (or more) than the recipe calls for.
Once you’ve added in the chocolate chips, pour the batter into a lightly greased pan. I like my rectangular metal cake pan, but any baking pan with a little depth to it will work.
Bake at 350 (F) for about 20-25 minutes. It’s okay if the dough still is a little moist in the center, but the top should be completely baked. Cut and serve. It’s best if you make these when you are about to be around a bunch of people, because you might be tempted to eat the entire pan yourself in the course of a weekend. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)