9 February 2015

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookies baked into bars with a Valentine's spin. Vanilla cookie is topped with red velvet cookie and baked to perfection.


Red velvet; do you love it or are you just not sure? Is it vanilla flavoured, chocolate flavoured or no flavour and why is it red?

So. Many. Questions. 

After reading and eating about red velvet, it is a tangy, sweet, butter, lightly chocolaty and vanilla flavour, normally topped with a very generous amount of cream cheese frosting. 

I am sorry, I left out the frosting but these bars are so, so good. Every bite filled with buttery vanilla and a hint of chocolate plus, there are chocolate chips!



Sometimes there is nothing better then a cookie, and I am a cake person. Sometimes you just need a bite of sweet, dense buttery goodness and then everything is alright in the world. 

Today, I made these cookies to console myself that, in February, we are not going skiing but instead, I will need to wait for a whole month before we hit the slopes in sunny Samoëns. But, what happens if there is no snow?! That, my dear friends, would be so horrible.

Good job I made these bars! 



See the 2 layers, isn't it a bit more interesting compared to just 1 layer? I love the 2 layers, it adds a pop  of colour contrast and makes them look pretty, and I like pretty bars. 

Originally, I was going to make 3 layer bars; a red velvet layer sandwiched in-between 2 normal cookie layers, however, it didn't quite work. 
I took my go-to, fail-proof cookie dough recipe and divided it into 2/3 for the plain vanilla layer and 1/3 for the red velvet layer. While I was pressing the half of the vanilla layer into the tin, I just knew there would not be enough. So, I just put all of the vanilla layer into the bottom and whipped up another 2/3 of the red velvet dough to make up 1 full recipe. I pressed the red velvet dough on top of the vanilla dough, covered it and put it in the fridge overnight.

Kitchen calamities, right?! 
That probably did not make sense at all! 

Cookie bars are less work to make than normal cookies. These only require one chill and a tiny bit of your active time to make. Normal cookies normally require 2 chills; one for the just prepared dough and one for the individual rolled cookies, just before baking. These bars, however, only require the dough to be pressed into the tin, chilled and baked. 



Cookie science!

This is a basic dough for a thick, soft and chewy cookie. However, many people have asked me how to make thick and chewy cookies. 
In Scotland, we associate a chocolate chip cookie to be crispy, sweet and loaded with chocolate chips, kinda like the shop-bought ones in the biscuit aisle. Or, a cookie would be cakey and have an overwhelming taste of brown sugar and often leave you very thirsty as they would be so dry! 

Making a chewy cookie is easier than it seems. Only a couple of key rules and you are on the road to cookie success! 

1# Use melted butter - Room temperature butter, when beaten, retains air and air is the arch enemy of a thick cookie. Melting the butter gives us that characteristic cookie taste without the fear of mixing in air. Also, because we melted the butter, it can be distributed throughout the dough more evenly.  

2# Add an egg yolk - The egg yolk adds richness and tenderness to any baked good. Using a whole egg plus an egg yolk adds the perfect amount of stability and structure as well as binding the mixture. If I were to use 2 whole eggs, the end cookies would be cakey and airy; just like solid butter, eggs trap air. 

3# Chill it well - chilling the dough allows the flavours to develop and solidifies the butter to reduce spreading while the cookies are baking. The spreading issue wasn't a problem today as the cookie dough was baked in a tin but I did allow my dough to rest for 14 hours - basically overnight. While the dough is resting, the gluten in the flour also relaxes, leading to a soft and tender cookie. 


Treat someone special you know today with these delicious bars; thick, tender, soft, chewy, moist, flavourful and easy. 




Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Posted by Eve
Makes 12
Ingredients

For the vanilla chocolate chip layer
  • 45g butter, melted
  • 65g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 10g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 65g chocolate chips

For the red velvet chocolate chip layer
  • 70g butter, melted
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • red food colouring paste
  • 155g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 35g chocolate chips

Method
  1. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with tin foil 
  2. First, start the vanilla layer. Mix together the 45g butter, 65g brown sugar, 1 tbsp. caster sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until well combined and uniform in texture - use a whisk.
  3. Change to a wooden spoon or spatula and sieve in the plain flour, cornflour, baking soda and the chips and mix well until combined
  4. Put the dough into the prepared tin and spread out using your hands or an off-set spatula until smooth and level. Cover the dough and put into the fridge while your make the red velvet layer
  5. Next, make the second layer. Put the butter, both sugars, syrup, eggs and red food colouring into a bowl and whisk together. Sieve in the flour, cocoa powder, soda and add the chips. Mix well with a spoon until combined and well mixed. 
  6. Take the tin out of the fridge and top with the second layer and spread over evenly, making sure the top is level.
  7. Cover and put the dough into the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours but best overnight. When ready, preheat the oven to 170ºc/ 160ºc fan/ gas mark 3.  
  8. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes until risen and just browned around the edges of the cookie bar. The centre should still look on the under-baked side.
  9. Cool in the tin until the bars are completely cold, about 2-3 hours and then slice into bars.

Enjoy!


The bars should keep in an air-tight container for up to 5 days at room temperature.

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