Friday, August 27, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 34

It used to be that Evan thought I was the best baker in the world.  Then I started this Cookie Journey back in January and stopped making chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis. 

And brownies. 

And the occasional cake. 

Everything's been all about a new cookie recipe every week and then there is all the obligatory baking that happens in life because there is a cook-out or potluck or meeting refreshments or whatever that I need to bake.  There hasn't been a whole lot of spontaneous, "Cool!  Mom made chocolate chip cookies!" 

I feel bad about that.  So this week, what with school starting and all, I wanted the kids to come home from school and have that smell.  You know it.  That smell that hits you when you walk in the door.  That smell that welcomes you and warms you and makes you feel so good inside?  That smell that says, "I just can't get this backpack off my shoulders fast enough and get my hands on whatever it is that is waiting for me in the kitchen."

So.  I picked a cookie with chocolate chips but no coconut, no nuts, no over-the-top extras.  But then, that would just be regular chocolate chip cookies.  So I did some research and I found something I thought would pass the test.  I found Ginger Chocolate Chip Bars on Martha Stewart's Everyday Food website.  I figured the addition of spices would be alright with the kids (boys = picky eaters) since they love cinnamon rolls and all that yummy flavor.

One bite.  "Yuck!  It tastes like gingerbread.  You know I hate gingerbread!"  That would be my oldest, Evan, picky eater extraordinaire.  He used to have such worldly taste buds and then he let his peers' influence in the cafeteria take over.  What a shame.  He had such potential.  Did you know he once requested that I make sweet potatoes for his birthday?  Ahh.  Those truly were the days.  Owen ate one, about halfway, then politely asked if he could have "something different."  Then there is Jenna, my future Food Network star.  Her reaction upon eating one of these cookies????  "Can I have another one?!" 

I'll let you be the judge.  In my humble opinion, these are very tasty and especially yummy when eaten warm.  I can imagine cutting the pieces a bit larger, warmed on a plate with a little scoop of high quality vanilla bean ice cream and a healthy drizzle of hot fudge sauce.  I see stuff like this served in restaurants all the time.  It would be especially suitable with fall and winter (gasp) approaching.

Ginger Chocolate Chip Bars 
Here's What You Need:
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Here's What You Do:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray or give it a healthy schmear of butter.  If you want to go the extra step, line your pan with strips of parchment paper or a sheet of foil.  Then you can just lift the bars right out and then cut them a little more professionally.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, spices (all three), baking soda and salt.  Give it a whisk to evenly combine.

Beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix some more.  Slowly, with the mixer on low, add the flour mixture.  Mix until it's combined.  Careful not to over-mix.  Now add the chocolate chips and spoon the cookie batter into your pan.  Smooth out the top and pop it in the oven for 40-50 minutes.  Mine took right about 40 minutes, maybe a minute or two more.  I found the top was getting brown but the middle needed more time in the oven so I loosely covered the top of the pan with some foil to slow down the browning process.

Cool the bars completely in the pan and then you can cut them into whatever size squares or rectangles you want.  I did 4 rows and then 8 rows yielding 32 cookies.  Multiplication people!  Simple multiplication.  School's back in session.  Gotta practice my math facts.

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