Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Makes 20 bars
Adapted from Guittard Chocolate Cookbook by Amy GuittardYou would probably like to use dark bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in these bars. I thought I did too, until I tried them with the milk chocolate and found the milky tanginess of the lighter chocolate just right in the bars. But if you want to try them with dark chocolate, I’m sure they would be fine.Speaking of milk chocolate, be sure to use good-quality dark milk chocolate. The bars you buy at the supermarket check-out stands are usually just 10% cacao solids – “dark” milk chocolates are usually 30% or more. The Guittard milk chocolate wafers that I used are 38%. They’re available from Amazon and Guittard, but you could use another good quality dark-milk chocolate, whatever is available to you. But check the label for percentages and try to get one with a higher percentage than 10%. I didn’t chop the wafers, but if using a tablet of chocolate, chop it very coarsely, so there will be big, discernible chunks in the finished cookie bars.
1 1/3 cups (160g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whole or lowfat milk
3/4 cup (90g) dried cranberries or sour cherries
1 cup (90g) shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup (60g) rolled oats
1 1/2 cups (255g) milk chocolate chips or coarsely chopped milk chocolate, preferably with minimum 30% cocoa solids
1. Preheat oven to 350Fº (180ºC).
2. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) rectangular pan and dust the inside with flour, tapping out any excess.
3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk until smooth. At this point, the mixture may look curdled and you can take a hand whisk to it and give it a few energetic stirs to get it to come back together. (It may still look a bit separated after, but not to worry.)
5. Stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the cranberries or sour cherries, coconut, oats, and chocolate chips just until combined. The batter will be thick, like cookie dough.
6. Spread the batter in the baking pan and use your hands to pat it down so it’s even – dampening your hands with a little bit of water will help keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
7. Bake the bars until they feel like they are almost cooked in the middle, but not fully done, about 20 to 25 minutes. (See note, below.) If they get dark on top before the time is up, drape a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. Let cool completely in the pan. When cool, cut into 3-inch (8cm) bars or squares

Storage: The bar cookies will keep for up to four days in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be frozen for up to two months.

Note: The original recipe said the bars will take 35 to 40 minutes to bake but mine didn’t take as long. So like any baked cake or cookie recipe, it’s good to keep an eye on things and check before the recommended baking times.