Monday, December 17, 2012

Fudge Covered Cookie Bars

I have discovered a new Pandora station that I'm loving right now- The Pitch Perfect soundtrack. It is lots of acapella music and Glee songs interspersed with some current pop music. It is perfect for data analysis in lab as well as cookie baking and Christmas card addressing at home. Truth be told, it makes me want to get up and dance. That is perfectly acceptable in the comfort of my own home but probably not the best idea for work. ;) 

Anyway, one of the things I made while dancing rocking to this station was these cookie bars. I was inspired by these chubby hubby cookie bars that sounded delicious and just looked beautiful. However, I decided against purchasing the malt powder and wanted to skip the peanut butter drizzle if case anyone I was sharing with had a peanut allergy. I chose instead my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe in bar form, topped with the delicious chocolate-y fudge and garnished with chocolate covered pretzels. You could certainly skip the pretzels, but I would suggest sprinkling the top with a little kosher salt because the salty sweet combo is what really makes these bars. They would be any easy addition to any cookie platter this season because you can skip the rolling or dropping of individual cookies; just spread it into your pan and go from there.

Fudge Covered Cookie Bars
For cookie bar (adapted from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 oz mini semisweet chocolate chips

For topping (adapted from Shugary Sweets):
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz milk chocolate chips
30-40 chocolate covered pretzels (such as Flips)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds on medium high speed. Add the brown sugars, baking soda and salt and beat until combined well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as possible with the electric mixer. Change to a wooden spoon and stir in the rest of the flour. Mix in the mini chocolate chips.

Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Make the topping by heating the sweetened condensed milk and unsalted butter over medium low heat until melted and warmed. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Pour the topping over the cookie bars when they come out of the oven, using a spatula to spread evenly. Place the chocolate covered pretzels evenly on top of the fudge layer, pushing in so that they stick well. Cool completely.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight) until cold. Remove from the pan until the parchment paper to pull out. Cut into squares.

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