Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Bars

A whole skillet of chewy chocolate chip cookie bars that will please everyone!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

I love cookies. If there is a selection of cookies on a dessert menu, I always will order it. I’ve been to cookie shops from Beirut to Bushwick, nibbling my way through chewy chocolate chip cookies, macarons, buttery sablés, and snappy ginger cookies, whenever I can. Even Parisians get in on the act by dubbing chocolate chip cookies, les cookies, perhaps because they are the classic example of a cookie, so there’s no need to over-explain them. Un cookie is a chocolate chip cookie.

The French love cookies, almost as much as they like categorizing things, so a sablé wouldn’t be a cookie, it’s a sablé. Petite galette, biscuit, or petit gâteau are other terms used to describe cookies, but not necessarily cookies. Americans have different terms for cookies, too, from shortbreads to snickerdoodles, and many of them are well-represented in Dorie’s Cookies, a generous, international collection of bars, cookies, biscotti and brownies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

The latest book from Dorie Greenspan is an eye-catching collection of her favorite cookies. With a bold design, each cookie is photographed and explained, with notes on how to vary the recipe in sidebars called “Playing Around,” written in Dorie’s always helpful, encouraging, voice.

I gathered all the ingredients to make Torta sbrisolona, a crumbly Italian “cookie” made with almonds and cornmeal, broken into pieces and best served with coffee, and was intrigued to see that she updated her famous World Peace Cookies, inspired by Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé. But the Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars looked like they really needed to be made. So I did.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

Partially it was because she mentioned the skillet, which I was gifted by Mark Henry of Solidkinetics, who makes what they call formed-iron skillets. He sent me a skillet to try as well. (It needs to be heavily seasoned, which I still haven’t gotten around to.) But I figured it would be the right pan for these bar cookies, especially since his wife, Natasha, adapted Dorie’s chocolate chip cookie to be baked in the pan, and then Dorie re-adapted it, again, for the book. It’s a cookie that’s been around the block, and the world (Mark and Natasha are Australian), so I’m adding my kitchen to the list of places where the cookie made an appearance, where I made a few adaptations of my own.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipeChocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

The bars are loaded with milk chocolate chips and coconut, as well as dried fruits, which add to the chewiness. Baking the bars in an iron skillet changes the texture, especially the edges, which become darker and more caramelized than bars baked in a standard cake pan, which you can do. If so, Dorie suggests that the baking time will be at least 10 minutes less.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

These cookie bars aren’t too sweet, and remind me a bit of granola bars, with all the coconut, dried fruits and milk chocolate in them. I detected a bit of a savory edge to mine, in fact. So make sure if you’ve cooked, say…bacon in your skillet, you’ve cleaned it very well before baking your cookies in it. Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe I can invent another variation on the cookie with everybody’s second favorite food group – bacon – which is just up there, right after chocolate?

Some people wince at milk chocolate but it works well here, adding a bit more creaminess than dark chocolate would. Which you’re welcome to use in case you’re not convinced. I’m sometimes skeptical and like to futz with recipes, but knowing how scrupulous Dorie tests her recipes, I figure she’s tried several variations before landing on the one that she’s presenting.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipeChocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

With a big skillet of cookie bars at my disposal, I have a feeling the theme around my kitchen for a while is going to be cookies. With all the terrific baking books I’ve got stacked up and am ready to bake from, that have arrived this fall, Dorie’s Cookies is at top of the pile. And I’m pretty sure it’s not going to budge from there for a while.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Bars
Print Recipe
1 10-inch (25cm) skillet
Adapted from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan I baked my bars in a 10-inch (25cm) iron skillet. The heavy skillet encourages more caramelization around the edges, giving these bars a darker crust than other types of pans. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, Dorie notes they can be baked in a regular cake pan, although the baking time will be about 10 minutes less, so keep an eye on them. Like most variations on chocolate chip cookies, it's better to err on the side of underbaking than overbaking. I used milk chocolate, like Dorie advised, but yes, you could use chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips. I also swapped out the sweetened coconut with unsweetened coconut, since I prefer the flavor. It's available at natural food stores and online. If you can only get sweetened coconut, or you prefer to use that, feel free to do so. The original recipe called for diced dried apricots which I swapped out with dried cranberries, making them more holiday-friendly if you're so inclined. You can use another favorite fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces, in place of the cranberries.
3/4 cup (90g) dried cranberries
12 tablespoons (6 ounces, 170g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (120g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (90g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (170g) sweetened or unsweetened coconut
1 3/4 cups (10 ounces, 285g) coarsely chopped milk chocolate, (or chocolate chips)
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
2. Pour very hot water over the cranberries, enough to cover them, and set them aside to plump.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed with the granulated and brown sugar, and salt, for 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
4. Add the egg to the butter mixture and continue to mix. Add the yolk and keep mixing, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides to make sure the eggs are incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Drain the cranberries, squeeze them dry and blot away up any excess moisture with a paper towel.
5. On low speed, or by hand, mix in the flour mixture until it's mostly incorporated. Stir in the coconut, chopped chocolate and dried cranberries until completely combined. Scrape the cookie batter into the prepared pan and even it out. (Using a clean, damp hand is the best tool for doing this.)
6. Bake the skillet cookie for about 45 to 50 minutes, until they are golden brown across the top and the center feels just-slightly set. (The original instructions said to bake them for about an hour, so they may take that amount of time. The variance likely depends on the thickness and material of the pan.)
7. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cookie, then let cool completely before slicing.

Serving and Storage: The cookies can be sliced into bars in the pan (and you'll have lots of little ends to snack on!), or the giant 'cookie' can be removed from the pan and sliced into bars, which you may wish to do if you are concerned about scratching your pan. The bars will keep for 3 or 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be frozen for up to two months.

Notes

Dorie notes that the dough can be baked as cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. She uses a medium (1 1/2 tablespoon-sized) cookie scoop and bakes them in a 350ºF/180ºC oven until the edges are golden brown, about 13 to 14 minutes.

My preference is to use a "dark" milk chocolate. Milk chocolate can have as little as 10% cocoa solids in the U.S. (30% in Europe), so I recommend using one that's listed as having at least 30% cocoa solids for best results.

 


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35 comments

  • November 8, 2016 2:55pm

    Wow. You certainly know how to make magic David! Great recipe for yummy bars.

  • November 8, 2016 3:46pm

    These sound dangerous.
    Question about your pan: is it heavy? I am having difficulty with some of mine, due to carpal tunnel–can’t lift or pour.

    • November 8, 2016 3:50pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s not light, but it’s not as heavy as a traditional cast-iron skillet. This company is introducing a cast-iron skillet that’s supposedly a lot less heavy. (They raised $1.6 million on Kickstarter.) But I haven’t tried one.

    • Sierra
      December 2, 2016 10:14pm

      I own one of these pans and I find it no where near as heavy as my other cast-iron pans. I really love it.

  • Marcia in NJ
    November 8, 2016 5:17pm

    Hey David! Cookie looks great. But–did you vote?

  • Linn
    November 8, 2016 5:57pm

    I was going to order this book until I visited my doctor this morning and she told me my blood sugar and cholesterol levels were elevated. Goodbye butter, sugar, whole dairy…. :(

  • November 8, 2016 6:28pm

    Certainly original…a cross between a cookie bar and a cake…count me in. I hope you voted today…we need everyone to vote!

  • Cecile
    November 8, 2016 6:28pm

    Hello David, If baking in regular cake pan, what size should I use? 9×9, 9×13?

    • bholtzman
      November 11, 2016 10:42pm

      Go 9×9. The bottom area of a 10 inch skillet is 78.5 inches and the area of a 9×9 is 81 inches.

  • wendi
    November 8, 2016 7:00pm

    Looks great8 I just got three new baking books this week, Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss (thanks to your “enabling David), American Cake by Anne Byran and the Art of Pie by Kate McDermott. So What the heck, I’m going to order a forth… Dories Cookies. I have her “Baking” book and I have made a ton of wonderful recipes out of that one. And I love cookies-so why not?

  • Judith
    November 8, 2016 8:37pm

    Gathered all ingredients, busy arranging mis en place and then decided to measure cast iron skillet. Mon Dieu!! It is 12″….

    Would resulting bar be way too thin? Better to make in cake pan? If so, what size?

    Thank-you, David.

    Judith

  • November 8, 2016 8:59pm

    I’m impressed by your restraint. I’m positive these cookie bars will be served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side at my house!

  • November 8, 2016 9:43pm
    David Lebovitz

    Judity: Yes, you could use a 12-inch skillet. Just be sure to reduce the baking time to compensate for the thinner cookies.

    Cecile: I would use a 9 x 9 inch one.

  • Rebecca
    November 8, 2016 11:15pm

    These look incredible. And where did you get that serrated (bread?) knife? It’s so beautiful!

  • Oonagh
    November 9, 2016 3:14am

    Gosh, maybe that’s why mass produced US milk chocolate is so disgusting (no offence) – 10% coca solids!

  • susanna
    November 9, 2016 3:37am

    I’m trying to use very little white flour, do you think i can use spelt, or even oat flour? thnx

  • Farmer Susan
    November 9, 2016 4:12am

    Just got the book, will bump this up to the first ten to try.

  • laura
    November 9, 2016 7:52am

    Sorry to be so boring with another pan size question, but what if my cast iron (not to bacon-y smelling) pan is only 8′?

  • November 9, 2016 2:41pm

    I made these yesterday afternoon and they were fantastic. I don’t normally like cookies with dried fruit, but these were an exception. I think soaking the cranberries made a big difference. I don’t have a cast iron skillet, so made them as cookies instead of bars, which was perfect. I did think they were a smidge too salty, and next time I will use 3/4 tsp of table salt. Which brings me to my question-was the salt meant to be table salt, or should I have used kosher?

  • kelly
    November 9, 2016 4:56pm

    Yum. I should make a pan of these and invite friends to come, eat chocolate, and medicate the post-election shock….

  • Margaret
    November 9, 2016 6:36pm

    I am sure the cookies are wonderful however the glass in the background is to die for.

  • MB
    November 10, 2016 7:04am

    Argh! I have a 9″, 12″, and a 15″ cast iron pan. Can I adapt this recipe to one of them? Maybe double it in the 15″ pan? These look so good!!! Than you!

  • November 10, 2016 11:57am
    David Lebovitz

    susana: I haven’t tried it with alternate flours but my guess is that you could swap out some (perhaps 25%) of the regular flour for an alternate flour, but I don’t know about swapping it out completely. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out.

    MB: The 9-inch pan would work fine.

    Emily: I used fine pink Himalayan salt for this. I don’t normally use that salt but someone gave me a bag. I normally use relatively find gray sea salt (or kosher salt) for recipes.

  • Tally
    November 10, 2016 12:16pm

    David, it looks extremely similar to your chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I’ve made several times quite happily.

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/chewy-chocolate-chip-cookie-bars-recipe/

    Milk chocolate, coconut, dried cranberries, brown sugar in both recipes.

    The difference seems to be the container it’s baked in. How would you say the final product differs in taste and texture?

  • November 10, 2016 11:17pm

    ooh sables.. <3

    These cookie bars look amazing. I love all the ingredients in them too. Dorie is fabulous.

  • James
    November 12, 2016 6:02pm

    I just made this cookie yesterday and it is seriously one of the best cookies I have ever had! The only substitution made was to use dried dark sweet cherries for the fruit and standard chocolate chips.

  • joolian
    November 14, 2016 4:08am

    I made this last night and it’s very very good. I substituted half of the coconut for oats and instead of cranberries, I used mulberries that I had picked and lightly stewed and drained. Amazing texture and flavour.

  • Beki
    November 15, 2016 2:57am

    I made these with dried tart cherries and they were great. Dark chocolate though.

  • Judith
    November 16, 2016 1:14am

    My original comment is above… I made in what I think is 12″ skillet. I substituted dried cherries as Beki. Cookies turned out spectacularly!!

    Perhaps instead of ~ or in addition to all these pan size questions ~ you could tell us definitely how one measures a skillet. Google, Sur la Table and William Sonoma all gave conflicting answers.

    Measure interior surface or rim to rim????

    Thank you David and all those who are in the know….

  • Ann R
    November 17, 2016 3:18pm

    Followed your instructions exactly except used dark chocolate. All gone now but I have been thinking of them all week. So delicious.

  • November 21, 2016 7:47am

    My goodness, these look good. I love the idea of a good chocolate chip cookie without it being overly sweet. Fortunately for me, I now can finally find dried cranberries in Italy. I don’t know about France, but they only started popping up in supermarkets a few years ago. I always had to stock up on them when I went home to the states for the holidays.

  • EL
    November 24, 2016 2:13am

    Bacon and chocolate chip is not uncommon here in the states. In fact, it is pretty good. . .

  • NJ fan
    November 28, 2016 5:46pm

    Cutting directly in pan–scandalous–sure it’s OK?

    • November 28, 2016 5:50pm
      David Lebovitz

      Iron is a pretty tough material (they make train tracks out of it!) so it’s ok to cut in. I wouldn’t use my best knife, though, as the material could dull the knife.

  • Sandra Myers
    December 4, 2016 4:24pm

    We aren’t fans of dried fruit in our cookies, so I’m going to use either walnuts or pecans toasted and chopped in place. My wall ovens controls are not working and have to use a large convection toaster oven. I’m going to bake these in a cake pan as my cast iron pan I use for meat only ( kosher). You mentioned using Guittard chocolate chips in the cookie bars recipe as available from Amazon or Guittard directly, but I’ve seen them and bought in Whole Foods in the past. I’m probably going to swap the milk chocolate for semi sweet instead, just because that’s what I have in the house, or maybe dark chocolate. We’ll see how they come out. I’m hoping to have something sweet as I can’t bake anything big until the wall ovens are repaired.