Tag Archives: browned butter

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Cookie Bars

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Dark chocolate cookie bars

I know what you’re thinking.  These look like brownies.  But they’re not — they’re crispy, chewy, chocolate cookie bars.  Strange when food fools you like that, you know?

…sort of like this past weekend when I was in a frozen yogurt shop in Orlando and sampled butter popcorn flavored froyo.  Seriously!  What will they think of next?  I wasn’t a fan, but I can see how the movie theater popcorn fanatic could be.

Anyway… back to these bars.  A couple weeks ago, I had what I planned to bake as chocolate chip cookie bars in the oven, when, half way through baking, I had the urge to run a knife through the half-cooked bars, marbling the melty dark chocolate chips right into the cookie dough.  Good decision Liz, good decision!

Dark chocolate cookie bars with walnuts lbbakes

In addition to swirling the melted dark chocolate chips mid-bake, these cookie bars are also uniquely crisp, crunchy, and chewy — thanks in part to browned butter, walnuts, and oats, respectively.

You certainly don’t have to brown the butter if you don’t have time, but I highly recommend trying sometime (see my instructions on how to brown butter here).  It lends a nutty taste to whatever you bake or cook that you really can’t achieve any other way.

The quick cooking oats were a last-minute addition to this recipe, but I love the way they added texture to the bars.  They give the cookie bars extra chewiness, contrasting the crisp edges of the bars perfectly.

And if I haven’t convinced you to make these yet — the best part of making cookie bars?  In my opinion, it’s being able to take the cookie dough straight from the bowl into the pan — no need to roll out individual cookies!  It doesn’t get much simpler. 🙂

Dark chocolate chip cookie bars lbbakes

[print_this]Dark Chocolate & Walnut Cookie Bars with Browned Butter

Melted dark chocolate is swirled through these crisp, chewy cookie bars as they bake, lending a rich flavor to every bite.  Walnuts are an optional addition for crunch, but you can substitute any other nut or dried fruit. 

Makes about 24 bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, browned*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the eggs; mix until blended.  Add the baking soda and salt; mix until blended.  Add the flour and oats; mix until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan.  Bake 10 minutes; remove from oven and use a knife to cut through the dough, swirling it in the process (the chocolate should be melting into the dough).  Bake an additional 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean.  Allow the bars to cool before cutting into bars.

*If using browned butter, allow it to cool slightly before making the cookie dough.  If not using browned butter, be sure your butter is softened before making the cookie dough.[/print_this]


Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cookies

Browned butter peanut butter cookies

Get ready, you guys.  I’ve been on a bit of a cookie baking spree lately.  There are worse things in life, we all know this.

So far this morning I’ve already whipped up two different cookie doughs (it’s not even 8am yet!) and I’ve got plans to keep going. #ThingsIDoOnVacation. 😉

Anyway… the batch of cookies I’m sharing here today is actually one I made last week.  I wanted to make a simple peanut butter cookie, but then I saw that I had half a stick of butter sitting the fridge, all by its lonesome.  Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure it said, “browned butter time!” to me. 😉

Peanut butter cookies with browned butter

Thus, “simple” peanut butter cookies became just slightly more complex (but so much better!) with the addition of browned butter.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, browned butter makes everything better.

After easily whipping up the cookie dough, I allowed it to chill overnight.  This is something I frequently do but often forget to mention here on the blog (I did talk about it last week with my lemon cranberry white chocolate chip cookies though).  Why?  Well, chilling the dough allows the flavors to “mesh.”  Plus, I think breaking up baking into separate quick parts (like mixing the dough one day, and baking the cookies another day) makes baking a breeze. 

Browned butter peanut butter cookie lbbakes

I made the cookies large, rolling the dough into about two-inch rounds before baking, then pressing down on the cookies slightly to flatten a bit.  But if you’d like a smaller cookie, just form the cookie dough into smaller rounds.  Either way, you can’t beat the chewy texture and nutty, caramel-like flavor!

[print_this]Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cookies

A simple peanut butter cookie, made with browned butter allowing for an extra nutty, almost caramel-like flavor.  If possible, chill the dough overnight before baking the cookies.

Makes 1 dozen large cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: ~15 minutes

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (browned and cooled)
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular all-purpose flour)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, and sugar.  Add the egg and milk; stir until mixed.  Stir in the baking powder and salt, ensuring to mix well, then stir in the flour.

Form the cookie dough into 1-inch balls for regular cookies, or 2-inch balls for large cookies.  Place on the cookie sheets at least two inches apart.  Press on the balls slightly to flatten.  Bake regular-sized cookies 10 to 12 minutes, or large cookies 15 minutes, until edges are golden brown.  Allow the cookies to cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet to cool completely.

This is an original recipe from www.littlebittybakes.com.


Soft Sugar Cookies & 17 Days of Cookies

Break out the Santa hats and green and red M&M’s… it’s December!

I’m way too excited about what’s in store here over the next few weeks, so I’m just going to cut to the chase… to celebrate the season, from now until Christmas, I’m going to post a cookie recipe every weekday!  If you don’t have a calendar handy, that translates to 17 days.  I know.  There’s a good chance I was either on running high or sugar high when I made this decision. 🙂

My only favorite big brother claims Christmas actually has something to do with religion, but I don’t care what he says, Christmas is all about cookies in Little Bitty Bakes Land. 😉

You know I’ve got Buddy the Elf to back me up on that… and probably Kevin McAllister too, as long as there’s ice cream involved.  Don’t worry Kev, ice cream will be involved.

(source & source)

As if 17 days of cookies weren’t enough of a challenge, it gets better, because I’ve decided each recipe in this little adventure will be made from the same base cookie dough.  I figure if we start with a base cookie dough and work from there, we can make all sorts of cookies without ever getting too exhausted.  We don’t want to lose that holiday spirit now, do we?  Yayyy, this is going to be fun!!

Let’s get things started with these soft sugar cookies.  This is the base dough I was talking about.  I’m pretty sure these are going to be your new favorite sugar cookies.  In fact, I wouldn’t be offended if you just quadrupled the recipe below, grabbed a tub of frosting, and laughed at me as I attempt 16 spins on this dough… just don’t tell me you did that until I’m done. 😉

[print_this]Soft Sugar Cookies

No chilling or rolling needed for these easy, soft and chewy sugar cookies!  Brown the butter the night before to save time, or just use regular softened butter if you’re really in a pinch.

Makes 3 dozen

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes per cookie sheet (~3 cookie sheets)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, sanding sugar, or sprinkles
  • 1 cup browned butter, softened (instructions follow) or regular unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Set the sugar or sprinkles into a shallow dish; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until mixed.  In the same bowl, add the baking powder and salt and beat until mixed.  Add the flour, 1/2 cup at at time, and beat on medium speed until mixed well.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll each ball in the sugar/sprinkle mixture to coat completely.  Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets and setting onto wire racks to cool completely.[/print_this]

[print_this]How to Make Browned Butter

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pats.
  • Add the butter to the pan, stirring constantly.  The butter will foam, and then reduce; continue stirring until you start to notice the butter turn a brown color, with a nutty aroma.  Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a heatproof dish or container to cool.
  • Note: For cookie recipes, I allow the browned butter to cool completely, back to a solid state.  Because of this, I’ll often make browned butter the night before I plan to make cookies.[/print_this]