No-fuss, easy, and delicious! Serve these classic chocolate chip cookie bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a dessert that’s out of this world!
Cookie bars are a necessity in your dessert repertoire! These chocolate chip cookie bars are soft with fluffy tops, gorgeous bursts of melted chocolate, and a buttery, rich flavor that’s just about perfect. It’s a classic recipe that will be welcome at potlucks, parties, and on your own table.
These cookie bars take about 30 minutes from start to finish. I love to underbake mine slightly so that they are a little ooey-gooey in the center. My ideal cookie bar needs to be eaten with fork, and it should definitely be topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. That combination of buttery warmth and cold sweetness is something I come back to again and again.
These are also perfect for bake sales, as you can make tons in a short amount of time, and they cut up and package easily. If you’re planning to package these, I would recommend making them the night before so that they are completely cooled and set up. This makes cutting and wrapping the bars up a breeze!
What do I need?
Butter or Margarine: Butter will yield a richer, thicker cookie bar. If you use margarine, your cookie bar may drop in the center — you’ll end up with thick edges and a thinner middle. The cookie bar will still taste delicious, though!
Shortening: Two reasons to include shortening — it’s cheaper than 100% butter, and it adds more structure to the bar. You can definitely sub with 100% butter, but expect that your bars will be much, much thinner.
White and Brown Sugar: This combination gives you a cookie bar with the perfect blend of moist and airy. White sugar tends to trap air and gives the bar that structure we’re looking for. The brown sugar adds a richness of flavor and a bit of moisture to balance the lightness of the white.
Salt: Adding a small amount of salt to a dessert is the secret to flavor that wows. Salt cuts the sweetness and intensifies the already-existing flavors. Adding just a 1/2 tsp is enough to make these cookie bars pop!
Flour: This recipe uses all-purpose flour. The texture of this flour is what gives the cookie the chewy insides with a slighty browned outside.
Chocolate Chips: I use plain old semi-sweet chocolate chips, but there’s no reason you can’t change this recipe up with milk, dark, white, or any other chip. A good base recipe is versatile, and this one is a good base recipe!
How do I make classic chocolate chip cookie bars?
Start by creaming the butter/margarine and sugar. This step helps to beat some air into the butter (or margarine), and the sugar holds that air in there, giving your cookie bar structure. I know it’s tempting to just throw everything in at once, but taking the time to cream the butter and sugar first really does make a difference.
Add eggs and vanilla: The dough will look pretty wet at this point — in the heat of the summer, when my butter is super soft, this can even be basically a liquid. As a note, if the butter is too soft, your bars will be denser. They’re still good, but the texture will change. Basically all of my summer baking has this “problem.”
Mix in the dry ingredients: Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and most of the chocolate chips. Mix these until you have something that looks like a standard cookie dough. Do not, I repeat, do NOT eat all of the dough at this point. It’s tough, but you’ve got to resist that temptation.
Press into pan and bake: Either line your 9×13 with parchment paper, or grease and flour your pan. Then, press the dough into the pan. I use my (clean) fingers for this to make sure I can press the dough into all the corners. As a purely cosmetic addition, you can sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips over the dough before putting the whole thing in the oven and baking it for 25 minutes.
Cool and serve: If you want gooey warmth, you can cut and serve this almost immediately. This is my favorite way to eat them. Otherwise, these will need to cool for quite a while — at least an hour — before they’re completely set up and ready to be cut into neat squares.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- ⅔ cup butter or margarine
- ⅔ cup shortening
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour or line a 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
- Cream sugar, shortening, and butter.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
- Add flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips and mix until a dough forms. Reserve some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top later.
- Press dough into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Serve immediately, or allow to completely cool and cut into squares to serve.