There are some things in life that are worth a little extra effort wouldn’t you say? These cookie bars would be one of them. I’d like to think that since I’ve been working out consistently over the last several months that I could have handled these like a champ… but in the end: my arm was on FIRE!!! Ha! There’s a point in which you need to make sure your “caramel” like goodness comes to a “soft-ball” stage. I don’t know if my heat just wasn’t high enough, but I will tell you what. If I hadn’t already worked out the day I made these I would have logged Chocolate Chip Candy Cookie Bar making in to MyFitnessPal. You better believe it. All of that aside, these little gems are worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears. Not only are they insanely delicious, but they are also absolutely gorgeous. I mean really. Would you look at that?
Chocolate Chip Candy Cookie Bars
Gift these Chocolate Chip Candy Cookie Bars to a friend or a neighbor for the holiday season!
- 1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 c. sugar divided
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 c. 2 sticks cold butter, divided
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. 5-oz can evaporated milk, divided
- 2 c. 12 oz pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1/2 c. brown rice syrup or corn syrup
- 1 1/2 c. sliced almonds
Heat oven to 375. Stir together flour, 2 tbsp. sugar and baking powder in medium bowl; using pastry blender, cut in 1/2 c. butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in egg and 2 tbsp evaporated milk; stir until mixture holds together in a ball.
Press onto bottom and 1/4 inch up sides of 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 jelly-roll pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven, leaving oven on. Sprinkle 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips evenly over crust; do not disturb.
Place remaining 1 1/2 c. sugar, remaining 1/2 c. butter, remaining 1/2 c. evaporated milk and brown rice syrup in 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; stir in almonds. Continue cooking and stirring to 240F on candy thermometer (soft-ball stage) or until small amount of mixture, when dropped in to very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
Remove from heat. Immediately spoon almond mixture evenly over chips and crust; do not spread. Bake 10-15 minutes or just until almond mixture is golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. chips over top; cool completely. Cut into bars.
[My 2 Cents]
I don’t buy corn syrup anymore and found a great alternative: Brown Rice Syrup. “Brown rice syrup, also known as rice syrup or rice malt, is a sweetener derived by culturing cooked rice with enzymes to break down the starches, then straining off the liquid and reducing it by cooking until the desired consistency is reached.” Wikipedia. I found my jar at my local health food store and much prefer using it in recipes rather than corn syrup. In fact, I think it tastes BETTER than corn syrup.
Although the recipe says to just "sprinkle" the last of the chocolate chips in the end, I would go one step further and GENTLY press them down in to the cookie bar. I sprinkled mine on and didn't disturb them, but once the cookie bar was cooled hardly and of the chocolate chips I had reserved actually stuck to the cookie bar. Also, I left my cookie bar to cool uncovered over night and by morning it was perfectly ready to be cut. Not without a little elbow grease of course. I'm telling you, the amount of muscle that goes into this recipe will burn off the calories before you even eat them!
Adapted from The Cookie Bible