Hump day is over! Why not spice up the middle of the week with some delicious cookie brownie bars? I’ve been trying to find a good cookie brownie recipe for years, with limited success. My inspiration comes from the Betty Crocker cookie brownie bars, which I made from a mix back in my early high school days, before I was the baker I am today. These bars are the result of the wonderful union of moist, fudgy brownies with chocolate chip cookies baked into the top. My two favorite desserts mixed into one! I love these bars, and I made them on several occasions for gatherings or just for my friends and I to enjoy. They’re super easy to pull together from the box, but I gave myself the challenge of making them from scratch, since that’s always more fun!
On a side note, while usually I stay away from boxed mixes since it takes the fun out of the process, there is a reason they’re so popular: because they’re delicious. Baking mixes tend to be the perfected versions of simpler sweet treats, such as the Ghirardelli brownie baking mix which to this day I still have not replicated, without the use of Ghirardelli ground chocolate (see my efforts here).
Anyway, there are several versions of cookie brownie bars out there, but all the ones I’ve seen use some weird amounts of butter, like 5 tablespoons (what am I supposed to do with those last 3? Or any odd number of tablespoons of butter, for that matter). Often the cookies get overbaked in the process, becoming a deep golden brown and crisping up, in order for the brownies to bake through. Not to mention, the brownies in these recipes are often not quite up to my standards. So I decided to forget finding cookie brownie recipes, and instead use a great blondie recipe and a great brownie recipe, and layer one over the other. The results? Cookie brownie perfection.
I decided to put my cookie layer on the bottom, to prevent overbrowning, and have the brownies on top. I used the blondie recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make a solid chocolate chip cookie layer and doubled the recipe to make a 13×9 pan. For the brownies, I decided to try these brownies from Something Swanky that’s been on my “to make” list for at least a year. I multiplied the brownies by one and a half, and reduced the sugar slightly, to make a thinner brownie layer to try and even out the baking times. I was quite pleased with the results, and a little puzzled as to why I didn’t try this sooner. Both layers were extremely dense, moist, and full of chocolate and chocolate chips. The brownies were fudgey, chocolatey, and full of delicious chocolate chips, as promised! The cookie layer was ever so slightly underbaked, with plenty of chocolate chips as well. These are even better than the boxed mix, in my opinion, since there is a solid layer of chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, so you get an equal amount in each piece, on the bottom. One of my complaints about the boxed mix is that random pieces have most of a cookie and random pieces have just the very edge of a cookie. Sadness. Not with these bars! So what are you waiting for? Go make your Wednesday a happy day and try these bars!
Cookie Brownie Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease a 9×13 baking pan.
For the cookie layer, in a large bowl, beat together the the melted butter and brown sugar. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Add the flour and salt and stir until the batter is well combined. Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Spread evenly into the bottom of the 9×13 pan.
For the brownie layer, in the same large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients gently into the wet, then add the chocolate chips and gently fold until evenly distributed. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie layer and spread evenly.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the cookie layer and with moist crumb from the brownie layer. Remove and allow to cool before slicing into bars. Enjoy!