Friday, June 14, 2013
GGFF: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
I don't have too many GF sweets posted on the blog. It is, in part, due to a general sense of nervousness that comes with GF baking. I've made some stuff that's delicious and so good that you can't taste the difference. And then....well, and then I've made other stuff. GF bakers will understand.
Before we were married, Graham used to tell me that I needed to learn to bake. He reminded me often, "I was raised on baked goods." Learning to bake was well worth the effort (though I'm nowhere near done learning!) but going gluten-free threw a whole 'nother curve ball at us. When I started doing my research, it seemed like all I heard and read was, "GF baking is impossible. Stick to store-bought stuff!" And, my personal favorite, "There are so many GF products and bakeries now. Why buy any of it?" Well, the latter is true. You can find almost anything in a GF variation these days. And there's a wonderful GF bakery close to our home; Graham's big 30th birthday cake came from there. But as for the former....I've learned that GF baking is definitely NOT impossible, and hey, even if it was, I like a challenge.
To get my feet wet for GF baking, I stuck with what I knew. I decided that if I started simply enough, I'd get more comfortable baking with GF flours and remembering to add xantham gum. (And trust me--remembering that step is VERY important.) What's easier to start with than chocolate chip cookies? They're more American than George Washington, for crying out loud! My first few batches of GF chocolate chip cookies turned out well enough, but they were always crispy and not as soft and chewy as I wanted them to be. I really wanted something I could sink my teeth into--literally--and feel like a kid again. These were just the ticket. They were fast to mix together and just as simple as a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, but just a little different to stand out in my Pinterest dash. They are soft, chewy, delicious, and everything I was missing from my GF cookies. I'm so glad I found these.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
(Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking)
2 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour (or 2 c.+2 T. GF flour blend, plus 1 tsp. xantham gum)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 T.), melted and slightly cool
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk chocolate chips/morsels/whateveryoucall'em
Heat oven to 325* F. Line a 9x13 inch pan with tin foil and grease.
In a medmium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set mixture aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well combined. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla until just combined. Working in 2-3 batches, mix in dry ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Stir in chocolate chips.
Turn out batter into the prepared pan. Press the batter all the way into the pan, all the way to the edges, using your hands if necessary. The layer of bars needs to be completely even in the pan.
Bake at 325* F. for 20-30 minutes (I find my GF baking usually takes longer than the recommended bake time for most items) until bars are light golden brown and slightly firm to the touch (they may or may not be pulling away from the edge of the pan, as my GF bars didn't do this, but they were still lovely. My regular, AP-flour batch of bars did pull away from the pan.) Allow the bars to cool to room temperature in the pan.
When bars are cooled, turn out of the pan gently and remove foil lining. Cut into even bars using a serrated knife and serve.