Best Recipe: Chewy Bar Cookies

Cook’s Notes:These bar cookies are taller than the shortbread bars. Their texture is like cake, but more dense. Makes 32 to 40 bars.

For more ideas, see my list of other suggested bar cookie variations.

1 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
Up to 2 cups add-ins (such as 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup toasted nuts). See the list below.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Beat in the salt, baking soda, and flour until just combined. With the mixer on the slowest speed, beat in the add-ins.
Press dough evenly onto the bottom of the pan. (I put on food-safe handling gloves and press it in by hand.) Smooth the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are just the tiniest bit brown. Use a toothpick to check for doneness in the center. Cut into bars.

Source: Adapted from the foodiewife-kitchen blog and the Land O’ Lakes butter site, among others

Chewy Bar Cookies: Tried-and-True Variations

  • Black and White Bars combine dark chocolate batter with white chocolate chips. These would be elegant served with fresh strawberries. Like a tuxedo, they would fit in to high-toned gatherings.
  • Butterscotch Pecan Bars: For add-ins, use 1 cup butterscotch chips and 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Sweeter than usual, due to the chips.
  • Chai Spice Bars are especially delicious with the sugar glaze
  • Chocolate Almond Button Cookies are made in a mini-muffin tin
  • Coconut, Chocolate, and Macadamia Nuts: 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts.
  • Vanilla Coconut Bar Cookies combine coconut and white chocolate chips for a casual cookie with a tropical flair