Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Compost Cookie Meet Crunch Bar




It's time for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again! I participated last year and not only was it fun to  bake a new kind of cookie and send them to other people, but I received three different kinds of cookies in the mail myself. I had actually not even considered the cookies I would be getting until the first batch of cookies arrived. The best part of a cookie swap was the one part I hadn't factored into the situation - THE SWAP ASPECT. It's always wonderful to get delicious cookies that someone else baked for you and there is something about getting a care package of treats in the mail that is still so exiting.

So, this year I wanted to make something different a bit from all of the traditional christmas cookies. To be honest, I would have loved to make my compost cookies because I am all about those babies but it has to be something you haven't featured on your blog before so they were out. Because I made some oatmeal bars last week, I had bars on the brain. My friend, Dianne, is the bar queen and I was going to steal her recipe for dulce de leche bars when my new Bon Appetit came in the mail and, lo and behold, Dori Greenspan had a bunch of cookie recipes featured. I opened it up and as fate would have it, the magazine opened to the page with the recipe for these crunch bars. 

Eureka!


It was decided for me. I would have to make these and use stuff that I would normally put IN a compost cookie on top of the bar and if it works, it will have the best of both worlds. I am making something new to feature on the blog AND I am still sort of making compost cookies, which is what I really felt like making if I haven't made that clear enough. It wasn't until after I finished both batches that I realized that I hadn't incorporated the coffee into them somehow so next time I make them, I will add some finely ground coffee beans to the cookie base and report back. Or, if someone out there tries these and adds a tbls or two of ground coffee to the base, let me know how it works out.

For some reason, I was a bit worried that they weren't going to be good enough to send out and was frantically searching for a back-up cookie. It can be a bit daunting to send your own baking out to three other food bloggers and nobody wants to be the one who made crappy treats. After the first one cooled down, I cut a little chunk off for the kid and I to try and I immediately stopped searching. These things are the bomb. MMMM the base, so buttery and crispy topped with a copious amount of chocolate and then all that salty, crispy goodness on the top. I really love the chewy sponge toffee too. Good golly, miss molly, this is a kick ass little bar cookie and I am really, really happy that I had to pack up almost all of them and send them away but the kid was less pleased with me. I promised to make him another batch next week as long as he promises to put them in his safe.
And change his password.
And eat them when I am not home.





getting packed up

Compost Crunch Bar
adapted from Crunch Bar in Bon Appetit


Cookie Base

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Toppings

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup crushed plain potato chips
2/3 cup sponge toffee, chopped finely
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1 tbls multi coloured candy coated chocolate nubs just for colour

Flaky sea salt 


Put your rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375F

Line a 13x9x2" metal or glass baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang to form handles that you will use to pull the cookie out with after it cools. I put a couple of small dots of butter on all four corners before laying down the parchment to sort of glue the paper in place.

Beat 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter for 3 minutes in your stand mixer at medium speed. Add both sugars and salt and beat for another three minutes. Throw in the vanilla and then start to slowly add in the flour, mixing until it's all fully incorporated and you get a sticky, wet dough.

Scrape the dough into your paper lined pan and use your fingers to pat the dough out, spread evenly over the entire bottom of the pan. I had a little bowl of flour sitting close by so I could flour my finger tips and I patted and spread the dough - it's pretty sticky.

Put the cookie base in the oven and bake it for 22 minutes. Remove it and scatter the 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips as evenly as you can, covering the entire surface of the hot cookie.  (you can make the cookie base up to a couple of days ahead and store it at room temp until this step)

While your base is cooking, get your toppings together and mix them up in a bowl and set aside.

toppings mixed up and ready to go

Put it back in the 375F oven for 2 minutes, take it out and use a spatula to spread the chocolate around so that every nook and cranny of the cookie base is covered with chocolate.

Scatter your toppings all over the cookie base and press lightly into the chocolate, sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the whole thing (just a tiny bit since we have used some salty toppings already)

make sure to press those toppings down into the chocolate
Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the cookie using the parchment paper overhang as handles. Let the whole thing cool on a wire rack for at least two hours before cutting it into squares. Because these are pretty rich, I cut them into smallish squares and I got about 25 or so out of one pan.

I hope my recipients like them as much as we do



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