Cookie Bars are so much faster than Cookies to make yet are just as delicious! These bars are rich, soft, chewy, and loaded with plenty of chocolate.
It’s no secret I’m one of the most cookie-obsessed people on this planet. (Browse through the pages (and pages) of cookie recipes for partial evidence of this fact.)
And even with my deep love for cookies, sometimes rolling out cookie balls and baking multiple batches feels too overwhelming at the moment. So, while most would just let the craving subside, that is not me. 🙂 So I make Cookie Bars instead!
While I’ve had plenty of disappointing cookie bars — hard, flavorful, and too thick — these bars are a total dream. They’re rich, soft, chewy, just the right thickness, and best of all, they’re loaded with chocolate!
These bars are also very quick and easy to make. No stand mixer required –all you need are just one bowl and a wooden spoon.
Cookie Bar Tips
- Let the melted butter cool. Once the butter melts, it needs to cool back to room temperature. If the melted butter is still hot, it will melt the sugars and cause greasy Cookie Bars. The butter may even separate and pool as the bars bake.
- Measurecarefully. Flour is the most important measurement in this recipe. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you are likely packing in way too much flour– which will yield thicker and less-flavorful cookie bars. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife.
- Watch the bake time. These bars can go from perfectly baked to over-baked in a matter of a minute or two. The texture changes from soft and rich fudge-like bars to hard and flavorless when they’re in the oven too long. As soon as the top of the bars is no longer glossy and the very edges are a light brown, these bars are done!
What is up with maple syrup?
Maple syrup is the “secret ingredient” in a lot of my cookie recipes. It keeps the cookies ultra soft, chewy, rich, and sweet! So I knew I had to sneak it into these cookie bars.
Any sticky sweetener will work, and in a pinch, you can leave it out but the bars do lack a certain tenderness and a bit of sweetness. Honey is more detectable flavor-wise, but works. Agave nectar and even regular corn syrup will also work.
Maple syrup is our favorite, though — it adds a very subtle maple flavor, a more intense sweetness, and keeps these bars soft and wonderfully chewy. I use pure maple syrup, not to be confused with pancake syrup.
What’s the difference? Pure maple syrup is simply maple tree sap that’s been boiled down to a thicker consistency. Pancake syrup is made with corn syrup and artificial maple extract, caramel color, and natural and artificial flavors. Pancake syrup actually has less sugar than maple syrup, but maple syrup’s sugar is not refined.
Using the Extra Egg White
Cookie Bars call for one large egg and one egg yolk. The additional egg yolk contributes to richer flavor and softer texture. You can save the egg white and add it to breakfast the next morning (we love this Egg Skillet) or use it in our favorite Egg Wrap.
- Switch up the chocolate. We love milk chocolate through and through, but it does make these bars quite sweet. If you’d prefer to cut down on sweetness, use semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Alternatively, you can change up the flavor of these bars slightly by using a variety of chocolate chips like a combo of milk and semi-sweet, or dark and white chocolate.
- Add sprinkles or M&M’s. Some of the chocolate chips can be replaced with M&M’s® (I’d use 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup M&M’s). You could also replace the milk chocolate chips with white chocolate chips and stir some sprinkles into the batter.
- Frostthem. Another option would be to add frosting on top! A chocolate buttercream, peanut butter frosting, or cream cheese frosting would all pair nicely.
More Cookie Recipes
- Salted Caramel Cookieswith cream cheese frosting
- Cookies and Cream Muddy Buddieswith Oreo cookies
- Avalanche Cookiesno baking required!
- Cornmeal Cookieswith white chocolate chips
- Cinnamon Roll Cookieswith cream cheese frosting
- 12tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1cuplight brown sugar, packed
- 1/2cupwhite granulated sugar
- 1largeegg yolk Note 1
- 1/2tablespoonvanilla extract
- 2tablespoonspure maple syrupNote 2
- 2 and 1/4cupsall-purpose flourNote 3
- 1/2teaspoonbaking soda
- 3/4teaspoonfine sea salt
- 1cupmilk chocolate chips (semi-sweet also works if you’d prefer less sweet bars)
PREP: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal of the bars. Lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave and then set aside for about 5-7 minutes to cool to room temperature. (If it is hot it will melt the sugars and cause greasy cookie bars.)
WETINGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, add the melted butter (use a spatula to scrape every bit into the bowl), brown and white sugar. Stir until sugars and butter are incorporated. Add in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and maple syrup, stirring until smooth.
DRYINGREDIENTS: Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, being careful to not overmix (which will result in denser bars). Add in the chocolate chips and again mix until just incorporated, being careful to not overmix. If the dough is too stiff to stir, you may need to knead the chips into the dough with your hands. Transfer this dough to the prepared pan and press it firmly into an even layer.
BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven for 23-28 minutes or until the top of the bars is no longer glossy and the edges are a very light golden brown. Be careful to not overbake; the bars will not be as soft and flavorful. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a wire cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Use the parchment paper overhang to remove the bars, cut into bars, and serve. Cookie Bars are best enjoyed 1-2 days after being made. Leftover bars can be tightly wrapped and frozen but they do lose some taste/texture after being frozen and thawed.
Note 2: Maple syrup is the «secret ingredient» in a lot of my cookie recipes. Any sticky sweetener will work, and in a pinch, you can leave it out, but the bars do lack a bit of tenderness and a certain level of sweetness. If leaving it out, remove 2 tablespoons of flour from the recipe. Honey is more detectable flavor-wise, but works. Agave nectar and even regular corn syrup will also work. Maple syrup is our favorite — it adds a very subtle maple flavor, a slightly more intense sweetness, and keeps these bars soft and wonderfully chewy. I use pure maple syrup, not to be confused with pancake syrup.
Note 3: Flour is the most important measurement in this recipe. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you are likely packing in way too much flour, which will yield thick and flavorless cookie bars. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife.
We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.