One of my all time favorite desserts from my childhood is chocolate cinnamon bars. Not this recipe, but one my mom made, especially around the holidays. My mom's recipe is very simple and more of a cinnamon blondie with chocolate chips sprinkled across the top (due to the number of requests I've received for this recipe, I've added it to the very bottom of this post). I imagine she probably found it on the back of a bag of chocolate chips or something.
About two weeks ago I purchased Dorie Greenspan's glorious book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. On the day I received it, I started reading it like it was a novel. I brought it to bed and read it until my eyes felt heavy with the urge to sleep. However, I perked up when I turned to page 210 and saw this recipe. I knew instantly this was one I would love. It was like chocolate cinnamon bars 2.0!
In my last post, I mentioned how I made a cake for the baseball parents as a "thanks for being here no matter what" gift. Well, that day our team won and one of the moms said it was because of my cake and I need to keep it going. I couldn't let the team down! After all it was the playoffs. So I decided making this cake would be both a perfect choice for the spectators and a great way for my son to get a slice (or two, or three).
Looks like I'll be making something for the game on Friday... we won again!
Yield: I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9x13 pan and was able to get 16 good sized pieces.
by Dorie Greenspan
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee/espresso powder (if you don't have this, skip it. It will still be yummy without it)1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, soft
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a small bowl or glass, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and the espresso powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, remaining cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a well combined homogeneous batter. Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the melted and cooled butter, just until the butter is absorbed. Your batter should be smooth and shiny.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, being sure its spread evenly (I find that if I hold onto the sides of the pan very firmly, while pushing against the counter, and make small circles with the pan, but batter will smooth out like magic.)
Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and then top with the cinnamon sugar. Top with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly.
Put the baking sheet and the baking pan into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F, just until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the parchment. Turn it out again onto another rack so it is right side up.
For the frosting, put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. Stir until the chocolate and butter have completely melted and it is super shiny and smooth (If it gets too thin, let it stand for about 10 minutes and it will eventually thicken up). Spread on the top of the cake and allow the frosting to set up before serving.
My Mom's Chocolate Cinnamon Bars
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels + 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
Mix flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a bowl using a fork or whisk. In another bowl, blend butter, shortening, and sugar together until combined. Add eggs and mix well until combined. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and all the walnuts and blend with a wooden spoon.
Spread batter into the pan (it will be thick) with a spatula. Scatter chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.