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Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
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It’s been a memorable week around here, as we celebrated the 1-year birthday of my favorite 26-pound ball of snuggles and giggles. It’s hard to believe I’m now mom to a 1-year-old, and as cliché as it sounds, the last 365 days have flown by in what felt like 365 seconds.
We opted for a very family-focused birthday party and kept it super casual with beachside burgers, all of our favorite barbecue-friendly appetizers and sides, and of course, a tiny smash cake for our not-so-tiny boy to poke, prod and eventually devour.
The celebration was a safari-themed success. It was laid back, focused on food and took place at 5 p.m., a.k.a. my dream type of event. #7pmbedtimeforthewin And I’ve kept that party going all week long, as we celebrated Julian’s actual birthday yesterday.
If you’ve been following along on Instastories, you’ll know this boy has his mom’s appetite. From tuna sashimi and salmon, to pickled beets and gnocchi, we’ve yet to find a food our Big Boy dislikes. I realize this makes us very lucky, but please know that we survived some of the worst sleeping situations ever (read: awake every 45 minutes… night and day) during his first 3 months, so I’d like to think we redeemed ourselves in the culinary department. (And here’s my unsolicited parenting note: Sleep training Julian at 4 months old was the single best decision we’ve made as parents. I am a sleep training super-fan. Questions on how we achieved the 12-hour sleep success at 4 months? Email me!)
And so the party mode has lasted for almost a week, which is how every birthday celebration should be. And that meant I had the perfect excuse to whip up a recipe that’s been on my Baking Bucket List for years: Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
These tasty triangles are an updated take on my go-to recipe for Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies. The chocolate chip cookie bars also contain the secret ingredient, plus a touch more flour for a slightly sturdier cake-line consistency. So if you’re going for the ooey-gooey end result, all you have to do is underbake these bad boys and you’ll be golden.
Do not dismiss the final dusting of crunchy sea salt flakes. While it may seem like a minor addition, I can promise you this tiny touch of salty crunch elevates your classic chocolate chip cookie bars into something spectacular. Sweet + salty = dessert success!
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Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup cup full-fat cream cheese, softened (See Kelly's Notes)
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chunks
- Sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch metal baking pan with foil so that it extends over the edges then then grease the foil with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese. Once smooth, add the brown sugar, salt and baking soda and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract then add the flour and beat just until combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips then transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish, pressing it into an even layer. Bake the bars for 18 to 23 minutes until they are golden brown and the center is barely set. Remove the bars from the oven and immediately sprinkle them with sea salt.
Allow the bars to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then using the foil overhangs, lift the bars out of the pan and onto a rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the cookies into any size bars.
To measure the cream cheese, scoop it into a dry measuring cup and level it off.
To ensure the dough is spread into an even layer, flatten it lightly with the bottom of a measuring cup.
Removing the bars from the oven while they’re still slightly underbaked and then allowing them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes will ensure your cookie bars are soft and chewy in texture.