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~Dare to be Square: Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares~

IMG_0990Pan cookies.  That's what I called this oldie-but-goodie recipe way back when my mom used to make them in the 1970's.  She made Magic Cookie Squares and a Wacky Cake in that 9" x 13" aluminum pan too, but, when I asked for pan cookies, or, when she announced she was making pan cookies, it meant one thing:  The Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie -- the one printed on the back of their bags of semi-sweet chocolate morsels (and currently on their website).  It also meant that besides a few days of great after-school snacks, there'd be a freshly-baked warm one on all of our plates, with a scoop of ice-cream on top, for dessert after dinner.

Crispy on the outside w/a chewy soft chocolate center.  Sigh.

IMG_1027Baking chocolate chip cookies is easy, but baking chocolate chip pan cookie squares is even easier.  If you're in the midst of an uncontrollable chocolate chip cookie craving, bake pan cookies  -- in less time with less mess and zero stress, you'll be eating thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie squares loaded with lots of ooey gooey chocolate chips.  No electric mixer required and no need to chill the dough either.  There's more.  With my version of the classic recipe, you don't even have to wait for the butter to soften -- just melt it in the microwave.  Mix 'em, bake 'em, cut 'em and stack 'em up next to a big mug of your favorite coffee or a glass of milk and indulge. 

IMG_09102 cups + 2  tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  large egg + 1 large egg yolk

2  teaspoons pure chocolate extract

1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1  cup lightly-packed light brown sugar

1/2  cup sugar 

12  tablespoons salted butter (1 1/2 sticks)  

2  cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels, or, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels + 1 cup milk-chocolate morsels

1  cup chopped walnuts (optional)

no-stick cooking spray

IMG_8827 IMG_0920 IMG_0912~ Step 1.  In a medium bowl, using a spoon, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, using a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolk, chocolate extract and vanilla extract.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, place the brown sugar and granulated sugar.  In the microwave, melt the butter.

IMG_0923 IMG_0925 IMG_0926 IMG_0928 IMG_0931 IMG_0932~Step 2.  In the large bowl, using a large rubber spatula, thoroughly stir together the brown sugar, sugar and the melted butter.  Add and thoroughly incorporate the egg/extract mixture, then, add and fold in the flour mixture until just combined.  A thick cookie dough will have formed.  Fold in the chocolate morsels (and the optional walnuts too).

IMG_0936 IMG_0939 IMG_0940~Step 3.  Spray a 9" x 9" x 2" square baking pan w/a removable bottom (or a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan) with cooking spray.   Transfer the cookie dough to the pan.  Using the rubber spatula, spread the dough throughout the bottom of the pan, doing your best to form a smooth-topped layer of even thickness throughout.

IMG_0944 IMG_0947~ Step 4.  Bake on center rack of preheated 325° oven, 24-26 minutes, until puffy and lightly-browned on top.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool, in pan, 1 hour.  Remove from pan by pushing up on the bottom and return to wire rack to cool completely, 1 hour, prior to slicing and serving.  Note:  It might be necessary to run a paring knife around the sides of the pan if cookie has not baked cleanly away from sides.

Mix, bake, slice & eat with your favorite mug of your favorite coffee (while reading your favorite cooking blog):

IMG_0995Dare to be Square:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares:  Recipe yields 32, 2 1/4"-square pan cookies, which after cooling, can be cut, individually wrapped and frozen.

Special Equipment List: spoon; fork; 1-cup measuring container; large rubber spatula; 9" x 9" x 2" baking pan w/removable bottom, or, 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan; wire cooling rack; paring knife  

IMG_9703Cook's Note:  For generations, we Americans have had a love affair with chocolate chip cookies. Surveys unanimously and overwhelmingly place the chocolate chip cookie at the top of our all-time favorite cookie list for over three-quarters of our population, and, it all started with the all-American Toll House cookie.  Who do we thank for and what's the history behind this iconic cookie?  To find out, read my post  ~ The Original Nestlé's Toll House Cookie Recipe ~.  Trust me. I'm certain you'll find it fascinating.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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