In my family we are particular about our chocolate chip cookies. They must be chewy, but not crisp, sweet yet also a smidge salty, but making individual drop cookies can be time consuming. So many sheet pans! So many batches!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars to the rescue!
Instead of having to scoop and bake individual cookies, these cookie bars require minimal effort. No scooping required. Just press into the pan and bake! You don’t even have to use a mixer if you don’t want to.
These chewy, buttery, chocolatey cookie bars are now our preferred take-along, crowd-serving treat because they check all of our cookie boxes. Plus, they’re so freezer-friendly, I can always have the dough on hand when the need for a bar cookie arises.
Tips and Tricks for Making Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Even easy recipes benefit from a little extra attention to detail. Keep these few things in mind and you’ll end up with perfect bar cookies every time.
- If you’re a chocolate-fiend like me, chop up a bar of semi-sweet chocolate to use in the cookie dough. They result in pools of gooey chocolate in your cookie bars.
- Beating the butter-sugar-egg mixture until it resembles fluffy peanut butter leaves your cookies with a slightly crisp exterior. Blending the flour in for a little while longer than normal gives them a chewy texture.
- For larger cookies, cut the baked cookie into 12 pieces of equal size. For party sized cookie bars, cut them into 24 pieces. The great thing about this recipe is you can get as little or as many cookies as you want from it.
Swaps, Subs, and Variations
Making a recipe your own is half the fun. Below I suggest just a few ways you can mix the recipe up for greater variety in your cookie baking repertoire.
- I add a cup of chopped walnuts to my chocolate chip bar cookies. Pecans are a great sub, but you can also omit the nuts altogether.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt just before baking for even more sweet and salty flavor.
- Replace the melted butter with brown butter for a nuttier flavor.
- You can use colored chocolate candies, chopped mint chocolate, or caramel chocolate pieces for the instead of chocolate chips or top with a 1/4 cup of sprinkles to suit a particular holiday or theme.
- Mix in 1/2 cup of marshmallows, swirl in a cup of caramel, or a cup of peanut butter to create even more variations.
Tips for Cutting Cookie Bars
Be sure to bake the cookies thoroughly. As tempting as gooey cookies sound, you need the center to set in order to cut them into bars with even lines. The edges of the baked cookies should be slightly darker than the center. Here are a few extra tips for cutting cookie bars:
- If you want those super-sharp lines, it’s important to allow the cookies to cool completely.
- Use parchment paper to line your cookie pan. Spray the pan lightly with baking spray before laying crossing sheets of parchment inside. The parchment will not only help you lift the baked cookie from the pan, but it will also give your cookies sharp, not crumbly, edges.
- Cut straight down and up when slicing your cookies. Dragging the knife tears the cookies, which results in jagged edges.
How to Store Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
These bars store best at room temperature. Transfer the chocolate chip cookie bars to an airtight container and store them on the countertop for up to 5 days. To give them a freshly baked taste, reheat them in the microwave for 15 seconds.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars freeze well both before and after baking. I like to freeze the raw dough in the shape I plan to bake it in.
To freeze cookie bars before baking:
- Press the dough into a parchment-lined baking pan and press a piece of lightly greased parchment directly onto the surface of the dough.
- Freeze the dough until it is solid before removing it, paper, and all, from the pan.
- Wrap the frozen dough in a layer of plastic film or foil and return it to the freezer.
- Freeze the dough for up to 2 months.
- Thaw the dough in the refrigerator before baking as instructed.
To freeze the baked bar cookies:
- Leave the sheet of cooled, baked cookie dough whole or cut it into bars.
- Wrap the cookie in plastic wrap or transfer it to a freezer storage container and freeze for 1 month or less.
- Thaw the bar cookies at room temperature when you’re ready to eat them, cutting if you’ve left the cookie whole.
More Brilliant Bar Cookie Recipes
- Gluten-Free Monster Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 2 1/4 cups (305g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (9g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6g) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 cup (215g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 cup (110g) chopped walnuts, optional
- Special Equipment
- 9x13-inch baking pan
Preheat your oven and prepare baking pan:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with baking spray and line the pan with two crossing pieces of parchment paper. This will help make removing the baked cookie easier.
Combine the dry ingredients:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, kosher salt, and baking powder for 30 seconds. Set this bowl aside.
Combine the butter and sugars:
In a separate large bowl, add the melted and cooled butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
Set your electric hand mixer, fitted with the beaters to low speed and beat for 30 seconds. After the sugars and butter are combined, increase the speed to medium-low and blend for another 30 seconds. The mixture will resemble a thick paste.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture:
Add the eggs and egg yolk all at once to the bowl containing the butter-sugar mixture. Beat the mixture on high for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters with a rubber spatula. Beat the mix again, on high, for one more minute, or until the mixture looks like fluffy peanut butter.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients:
Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients and blend it on low speed for 30 seconds or until the flour has been incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beaters. With the mixer on low, begin mixing the cookie dough once again, this time for 1 minute.
Fold in the chocolate and nuts:
Use the rubber spatula to fold the chocolate chunks and walnuts into the mixture.
Once these are fully mixed-in, spread the dough into the prepared baking pan in an even layer, pressing down to expel any pockets of air in the dough.
Bake and cool the cookies:
Bake the cookies for 30-35 minutes, or until the center of the cookie dough feels spongy and the edges are dry and medium-brown in color. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan.
Cut the cookies and serve:
Once cool, carefully remove the cookies from the pan by lifting the parchment paper-liner and transfer to a cutting board.
Using a sharp knife press down, rather than drag it through, to cut the cookies into your desired amount of bars. Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.