Living with a host family it has been difficult to do my own cooking. There is just something about being in someone else’s kitchen that makes me feel uneasy about playing around with pots and pans. Last week my parents were out of town on vacation so I took that opportunity to mess up the kitchen a little bit. This “Giant Cookie” as it has been coined by my host brothers has quickly become a favorite and I have made it for them at least three times in the span of three weeks.
Living in South America there are some things that I am really missing from home, one of the biggest being brown sugar! It just doesn’t exist down here! Ok, so that is a little bit of an exaggeration. They claim that it exists but what they call brown sugar (or azucar rubia) is much coarser and not at all moist like the stuff back home. I think this is the reason that all the baked goods I have tried here are super hard and crunchy. That is not how I like my chocolate chip cookies so I had to enlist the help of science to help me get a nice chewy cookie bar.
The first step to making these cookie bars chewy is to use melted butter. Now I decided that I couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to brown the butter to bring a little extra “brown sugar flavor” to the cookies. One of my favorite food blogs did a great step-by-step post on how to brown butter so check that out of you want to know how to do it!
When preparing the dry ingredients I decided to kick these cookie bars up another notch and add in ground espresso. I love how espresso and dark chocolate play off each other. Also it makes the cookies (or bars!) look super cute and speckled.
The next trick I pulled out was to use one whole egg and one egg yolk instead of the traditional two eggs. According to my friend Alton Brown (ok so maybe we are just friends in my head but he never steers me wrong because he has science on his side), egg whites dry out batter so by only using the yolk from the second egg it will give you a chewier cookie. He also added milk to his chewy cookies but I didn’t bother with that and it turned out fine.
Its pretty basic cookie making from there on! Mix the wet ingredients, add in the dry, and then add in your choice of chips.
Chocolate chips are another thing that are hard to come by here in Chile so I just got out my favorite knife and hacked up some bars of chocolate to make home-made chocolate chunks. I added in some milk chocolate because I was making these for the kids and thought they would like them to be a bit sweeter. Given that it is the holiday season I think red and green m&ms would be a festive way to turn this giant cookie holiday themed!
I saved 1/3 of the chocolate chunks to press into the top of the cookie bars to make them look pretty. They got all melty and swirled together while baking an I loved the effect! Feel free to just mix them all into the batter if you don’t feel like pressing any on top.
Allow these guys to COMPLETELY cool in the pan before cutting. I made the mistake of trying to slide them out of the pan too early and had a huge, cracked mess on my hands. These cookie bars are super rich so I suggest I nice glass of cold milk to go with them!
The Giant Cookie
Servings: Depends on how big you make the slices Time: 1 hour
2 ⅛ cups All-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 (heaping) tablespoon espresso granules
1 ½ sticks browned butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 ½ tsp vanilla
9 oz chocolate chunks (or more!)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- Brown the butter. Let sit to cool.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and espresso. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer mix the granulated sugar and the brown sugar with the butter until well combined. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Add in the vanilla.
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Be sure it is well incorporated before adding more.
- Fold in ⅔ of the chocolate chunks.
- Add the dough to the well-greased pan and spread evenly. Add the remaining ⅓ of chocolate chunks and gently press into the dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan