Yesterday was my friend Matthew's birthday and he said he wanted cookies, with chocolate chips, and cinnamon. Not too terribly difficult a request except I have been a whirling dervish all week and waited until the last possible minute to make them. Since I didn't have time (or patience!) to make 7 or 8 dozen cookies, I opted for a short cut and made bars instead. He was very pleased with my newest invention and didn't feel cheated at all. In fact, I think he might have liked them better!
This recipe uses a trick that I learned from Ina Garten. When you're making a bar, cake, or cupcake that has chocolate chips or other ingredients suspended in the batter, sometimes you'll find that all the tasty tidbits sink to the bottom of the batter/dough. To help mitigate that, give the chips a fine dusting of flour before you add them to the batter. This creates a little air pocket around each chip and helps to keep them in place while the batter around it bakes. For this recipe, just for fun, I added a little extra cinnamon to add to the overall flavor of the cookie.
Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Yield: I cut them into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch chucks and 1x3 inch dunking-bars and got a ton (I'd say roughly 60 servings). Your results will vary depending on the size pan you use and how big you decide to cut them.
2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons of cinnamon + 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chocolate chips (you can use chocolate chips that are the same, or change it up. I like prefer to use a blend of different types. The exact ratio I used for the ones pictured was as follows:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
1 cup semisweet chocolate
1 cup milk chocolate
1 cup dark chocolate
Note: you can substitute one cup of the chocolate for one cup of roughly chopped nuts of your choice)
Preheat the over to 375F. Grease and flour (I use Pam with Flour) either one half-sheet pan or 2 13x9 pans.
Combine all the chocolate chip/chunks and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour and a shake or two of cinnamon. Use your hand to coat the chocolate chips and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars together until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs (all at once) and the vanilla and beat for 1 minute on medium until thick and well combined (be sure to stop and scrape down the bowl a few times if necessary).
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well each time (the batter will be very thick and the flour will get trapped in the pockets).
Use your hands to add the chocolate, trying to avoid the handful of cinnamon flour that's sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Using a mixer or your hand, blend it for a few second until the chocolate is well distributed into the batter.
Press the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the half-sheet pan for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and bang it on the counter to force the air out of the batter. Put the pan back into the oven and continue cooking until the center passes the toothpick test. I kept checking it every 3-5 minutes. DO NOT OVER COOK! The dough along the perimeter will cook and brown faster than the middle and that's okay. You want the center to be just at the point where they are done, so it might look like they are slightly under cooked. For the half-sheet pan, they were done after 30 minutes. For the 9x13 pan, check the bang the pan after 10 minutes and continue cooking until done, checking on it every 3-5 minutes. (If anyone out there makes these in a 9x13 pan, please let me know how long it took to cook them so I can update the recipe).
When they are done, remove from the oven and bang the pan on the counter again. Use a knife to cut around the perimeter of the pan (just to loosen the bars ), and leave 'em alone for a while. When the pan is cool enough to touch, invert onto a cooling rack (they will be upside down), then invert them again onto another cooling rack or onto a big cutting board. Let them sit until totally cool (I gave them 8 hours). Cut into the desired shape and size.