In my house, chocolate chip cookies rule the roost. At least once a month, I get the question, "Are you going to make chocolate chip cookies?" so I thought this week I would make hubby happy. I wanted a chocolate chip bar that was more than just a cookie. I decided to add cinnamon, a fantastic spice that enhances the chocolate flavor. Hershey's cinnamon chips have a great cinnamon flavor that will not overpower your cookies but give them a mellow cinnamon taste.
But the chocolate and cinnamon needed a bit of tartness to counterbalance the sweet taste of the chocolate, and what better way than adding cranberries. Dried cranberries can be used all year round and complement chocolate perfectly. I did add oatmeal to the recipe; it adds a wonderful texture to the cookie dough.
Why Is My Dark Brown Sugar Getting Lighter
What is going on with the dark brown sugar? I had an extra Domino's bag of what I thought was light brown sugar, but when I grabbed it to replace my empty container, I was shocked to see it was labeled dark brown sugar.
So you can see that the dark brown sugar in the bag (which I thought was light brown sugar) is very close in color to the light brown sugar I had to buy.
So, I went to the source to find out why their new dark brown sugar is drastically lighter in color than the previous dark brown sugar I purchased last year. It is almost the same color as the light brown sugar I bought. Denise, a Consumer Relation Specialist at Domino Sugar, was kind enough to respond to my email about my questions with this statement;
Denise - Consumer Relation Specialist
The answer is simple, it’s due to the natural color of the raw sugar - the starting ingredient for all our brown sugars. We take pride in the fact that Domino Sugar is 100% cane sugar and we do not need to add coloring or artificial flavoring in any of our brown sugars. As we see in nature, no two plants are identical therefore our brown sugars made from sugarcane may vary in color due to differences in the soil and climate where the sugarcane was grown.
The difference between Domino Light Brown and Domino Dark Brown is related to the amount of molasses used during production; Dark Brown sugar has a higher amount of molasses which gives it a darker color and richer taste. However, even if the dark brown sugar occasionally appears lighter in color than usual, it has passed our quality control inspections as a part of our robust Quality and Food Safety system.
So, I am unsure if I will start looking around at other companies' dark brown sugar and making some taste comparisons to find a better brown sugar or wait and see if the next sugar cane crop is better.
Making Cranberry Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Bars
I decided to make a three-layer bar with chocolate cookie dough on the bottom and top, with cinnamon chips and dried cranberries in the middle. To help in making these a sturdy cookie bars, I added old-fashioned oats to give the cookie some texture.
This is a little more work than just throwing all the ingredients in the mixer and making a cookie bar. Which you could do, and I think it would taste great. I hope you enjoy this recipe either way!
Making the Cookie Dough
To start these bars, I get all my ingredients weighed and everything around my mixer, so I do not forget any ingredients.
Weigh or measure all three of the sugars into a bowl. Remember to use the Tare button between adding each sugar if you use a scale.
In another bowl, weigh or measure the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I run a whisk through all the dry ingredients to blend everything.
I am never sure how cold my butter is, so I cream the butter before I add the sugar—about 1 to 2 minutes on a medium speed.
Next, add the sugars to the creamed butter and mix on a medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. There is more sugar than butter, so it will look grainy.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer on and add one egg at a time until they are incorporated.
Finally, on a low mixer speed, gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix for about 30 seconds after the dry ingredients are added, then stop and scrape down the side and mix for another 15 seconds.
Assembling the Cookie Bars
Grab a 9 X 13 pan and turn the oven on to 350°F (175°C or 180°C). The pan I am using is a non-stick, but if you use a regular pan that you know will stick, you can lightly spray it with Pam.
I will be dividing the cookie dough in half. This way, I have an even amount of cookie dough for both the bottom and the top.
The cookie dough is sticky. Drop half the cookie dough into the pan. I then sprinkle some flour over the mounds before spreading it around the bottom of the pan. You can sprinkle more flour if you need to.
Press the cookie dough evenly around the bottom of the pan.
Next, take the cranberries and the cinnamon chips and spread them around evenly.
Now, drop small amounts of the remaining half of the cookie dough over the cranberries and cinnamon chips.
Finally, with the back of the spoon or your fingers, spread out the clumps. This does not have to be covered everywhere since the cookie dough spreads when baked.
Bake at 350°F (175°C or 180°C) for 23-26 minutes. Let it cool completely before slicing into bars. You might even want to put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before cutting.
Every bite is a chocolate chip cookie with the taste of cinnamon and cranberries!
Any fresh fruit has juice associated with it and could make the bars wet and soggy in a couple of days. For this recipe, I would use the dried. I did not compensate for the added moisture.
Oh, my yes! A little nutmeg here and a little cloves there, and you have a new cookie that you developed. You can always experiment with flavors you like and see where it takes you!
Nuts are a great addition, but you should cut back on the cinnamon chips and the cranberries and add a ¼ or a ⅓ of a cup of the nuts. If you fill the center with too much filling, the bars can become unstable for picking up. I would try almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts as my first choice for nuts.
Other Square Cookies
Cranberry Cinnamon Chocolate Chip BarsBarbara Hall
- 1 cup (227 g) Butter unsalted room temperature
- ¼ cup (55 g) Dark Brown Sugar
- ¾ cup (165 g) Light brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) Sugar white
- 2 teaspoon (2 teaspoon) Vanilla Extract
- 2 (2) Eggs
- 2 cups (250 g) All-purpose flour
- 2 cups (162.16 g) Old fashion oats
- 1 ½ teaspoon (1.5 teaspoon) Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) Kosher Salt
- 1 cup (175 g) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip
- ⅓ cup (78.86 g) Cinnamon Chips
- ¾ cup (90.91 g) Dried cranberries
- Weigh or measure the light brown, dark brown, and white sugar into a bowl. In another bowl, weigh or measure the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, running a whisk through to blend.
- Using a stand or hand-held mixer, cream the butter for a minute or two, then add the sugars and mix on a medium mixer speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the side, then add the vanilla extract before turning the mixer back on to medium speed. I take one of the eggs, crack it into a small bowl to ensure there are no eggshells, and add it to the cookie batter. Mix into the cookie dough before adding the 2nd egg.
- I scrape down the sides to ensure all the egg has been incorporated and turn the mixer to a low speed before adding the flour mixture. After all the flour mixture has been added, I scrape the sides down, add the chocolate chips, and mix them evenly throughout the cookie dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C or 180°C). Take a 9X13 baking dish and lightly spray with Pam if not using a non-stick pan. To assemble, divide the cookie dough in half. I took tablespoons of cookie dough and dropped them around the bottom of the baking pan. Flour your hands and lightly dust the mounds of cookie dough with the flour. As you start to work and spread the cookie dough to cover the dish's bottom, you can dust the cookie dough with more flour if needed.
- Once the cookie dough is pressed down and covering the bottom of the baking dish, take the cranberries and sprinkle them around evenly. Next, take the cinnamon chips and sprinkle them around. Using the other half of the cookie dough, I take a teaspoon and put little mounds on top of the cranberries and cinnamon for the top. Spread the mounds to loosely cover the filling using the back of the spoon or your floured fingers. When it bakes, the top cookie dough does spread and fills in small gaps. Bake for 23-26 minutes until the top is medium golden brown.
- You will want to let the dish cool completely before cutting it into squares; this helps keep all the layers together. I let mine cool for at least 2 hours, sitting on two trivets to cool the bottom. If you are in a hurry, you can put the pan in the refrigerator to cool faster.
I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist. The nutrition amounts given below are provided through a program and are only a guideline.