If youâ€™ve checked out my precious recipe, you already know that I have a little love affair with Trader Joeâ€™s Cookie Butter. So now, let me rave about these Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bars!
What can I say about these Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bars, you ask? Le’t’s see. They’re buttery and soft, with crispy edges and a tender, goeey center. They’re quick to make, requiring no special equipment or extensive baking experience. And the best part?
No, I’m not saying this is the only cookie bar recipe you’ll find on the Internet. It’s not. I mean, come on, the Internet’s as big as space! But the cookie butter used in this batter yields such an interesting, special taste. It reminds me of the holidays, so cinnamon-y and sweet.
What’s in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bar?
There’s a lot of different elements to this recipe. Of course, there’s the basics: flour, sugar, eggs, etc. But I believe there are two distinct ingredients that really make these bars absolutely exquisite:
- Cookie Butter: I mean, duh. It’s in the name. If you aren’t familiar with this spread, just know that it’s made from a traditional European cookie called Speculoos. The cookie has been around long before Trader Joe’s, but TJ’s really helped put the cookie butter spread on the map. We can also use it to make this super easy Cookie Butter Ice Cream!
- Unsalted Browned Butter: I admit it. I’m a little obsessed with brown butter, and these bars confirm my theory that brown butter makes literally everything 2000x better. The first few batches, made with plain melted butter, just didn’t have that WOW factor. They didn’t have that buttery, caramel-like flavor e that you can taste in all the best cookies. But the brown butter batch? Marvelous. And if you’ve never made brown butter before, don’t fret. Yes, it sounds fancy, but it’s also super easy to make. It just requires patience and attention.
How do I make brown butter?
Glad you asked, sunshine!
Like I mentioned before, it’s a simple process that just requires your attention and patience. Here we go:
- Cut your butter into cubes and allow it to soften a bit. I let my butter rest on the counter about 20-30 minutes before browning.
- Place a light-colored saucepan (it needs to be light-colored so you can actually see the changes of the butter’s color) on medium heat. Add your cubed butter and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- The butter, of course, will melt. Continue stirring.
- Then, the butter will begin to sizzle and foam. Keep stirring and keep your attention on the stove. It will be a little while before the color changes, but at this point, there should be a rich aroma developing.
- Continue stirring. In a few minutes, you’ll see little brown specks in the pan. Stir, stir, and stir some more! As you do, the butter will turn a golden brown color and it will smell amazing. Transfer to a heatproof bowl (including the brown specks!) immediately; otherwise, the butter may burn and you’ll have to start all over again.
Sally, from Sally’s Baking Addiction, has an excellent post on her blog about making brown butter (with pictures!). If you need a visual representation of the process, check it out here https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/how-to-brown-butter/.
Other Tips for this Recipe
- Measure your flour correctly: We’re calling for 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. In the early phases of testing this recipe, I used 1 3/4 cup of flour, but it was a little too much. My favorite way to measure flour is by using a digital kitchen scale. In my opinion, it is the most reliable method. I got mine on Amazon for about $10. If you don’t have a scale, measure your flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup, all the way to the top, and then using the back side of the spoon or a knife to scrape off the excess. NEVER dip your measuring cup directly into the flour. It will yield an inaccurate measurement with too much flour, which will result in a tough, dry baked good.
- Pack your brown sugar: Brown sugar should always be packed in a dry measuring cup. This ensures an accurate measurement of sugar, because it gets rid of the air pockets that get stuck between the sugar granules.
- Use room temperature ingredients: Let your eggs and milk sit out on the kitchen counter for about 30 min-1 hour (depending on how hot your area is).
- Serve while still slightly warm: This is more of a personal opinion, but these bars taste soooo good freshly baked. That’s when they’re at their most buttery and flavorful. I’m the kind of person who prefers very fresh baked goods. If that’s not you, feel free to skip this tip.
- Use parchment paper: Parchment paper is a baker’s best friend. Using it ensures easy removal of the bars.
- Don’t substitute ingredients: I don’t know what this recipe will taste like with gluten-free flour or flax eggs. I only know it that it is good exactly the way I made it, so avoid substitutions, if you can.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bars
- 8×8 inch square baking pan
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted until browned
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan with butter, then line with parchment paper. There should be overhang on the sides, so that it is easy to remove the bars when they are finished.
- On the stovetop, set a light-colored sauce pan to medium heat. Add cubed unsalted butter, and melt until fragrant and browned in color, stirring continously. Transfer immediately to a heat-proof bowl, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
- Add flour and baking soda to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk them together until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cookie butter, salt, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract, then pour in the cooled brown butter. Use a spatula to cream the ingredients together, folding and stirring until everything is combined. The mixture will be dark in color.
- Next, gently fold in the two eggs, until just combined. Now, add the egg yolk, and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat the eggs.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use your spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients until they are just combined with the wet ingredients. Do not overmix the batter; stop as soon as everything is combined. The batter will be very thick, almost like a slightly liquidy cookie dough.
- Now, gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-34 minutes. Start checking the bars after 25 minutes, in the oven. They are finished when the edges are golden brown and the center looks mostly set. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out mostly clean, with a few wet crumbs. The center may look a little underdone, but it will set more as it cools.
- Remove the bars from the oven and set them on a cooling rack to cool for about an hour. Use the parchment paper to carefully remove the bars from the pan; slice them into squares.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
- Some brands of brown sugar are very tough and grainy, which affects the texture of your baked good. I use Dixie Crystal brand dark brown sugar, which can be found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
- Since these bars are pretty rich, I like to slice them into smaller squares.Â
- To freeze, wrap the bar (unsliced) tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. To reheat, let the bar get to room temperature, then slice and warm squares in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.Â
- Use brown butter, not regular melted butter. It yields the best taste.Â
- If you have special dietary needs (such as a dairy-free, gluten-free, or nut-free), this recipe may not be for you.Â