There is something comforting about baking. My dad always said he could tell when I was feeling down because that is when I would bake cookies. It wasn’t just when I was down though. Baking helped me de-stress. It’s where I go when I don’t want to think; I can just zone out. It is a mindless activity to me. Measure, pour, stir,… no complicated thinking involved. When I was younger my parents had a small black and white television on the kitchen counter (remember those??) and if there was an old Abbot and Costello movie on, you can be sure I would be baking chocolate chip cookies while watching. Now I put my laptop on the counter and watch old episodes of Mary Tyler Moore or Bob Newhart on Hulu (why they don’t have all the seasons up, I do not know), and bake to my heart’s content. Yesterday, the urge hit to bake something chocolatey, so I finally decided to try this recipe for Chocolate Chip Bars on a Pretzel Crust that I have had saved for months now. Grabbing my laptop, I went into the kitchen. All I have to say is wow. The crunchy, salty crust with the gooey goodness of a chocolate chip cookie over the top is not to be missed. We had ours with ice cream last night and it took all of my willpower not to go back for seconds.
Chocolate Chip Bars on a Pretzel Crust
[adapted from Tasty Kitchen]
3 1/2 cups pretzel sticks, crushed
3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
Combine the pretzel pieces with the melted butter and spread over the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
While the crust is baking, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add to the sugar mixture and beat just until blended. Add in the chocolate chips, stirring by hand.
Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the crust, spreading it out evenly with your fingers. Bake for 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove when the top is a nice golden color and a tester comes out clean.
Wait until the bars have cooled, then remove from the pan using the parchment paper and cut into 24 bars.