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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cookin' the Books: Chocolate Highlander Cookie Bars

Chocolate Highlander Bar Cookies (from Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in middle position

1 c. softened butter (2 sticks, 1/2 lbs.)

1/2 c. powdered sugar (make sure there's no big lumps)

1/4 t. salt

2 c. flour (no need to sift)

4 beaten eggs (just whip them up with a fork)

1 c. melted butter, cooled to room temp. (2 sticks, 1/2 lbs.)

1 c. white sugar

1 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. flour (don't bother to sift)

2 1/2 c. chocolate chips (measure BEFORE they're melted)

1/3 c. powdered (confectioner's) sugar to sprinkle on top of pan.

FIRST STEP: Cream butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and salt. Add flour and mix well. Pat it out in a greased 9-inch by-13-inch pan with your fingers. (That's a standard cake pan.)

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. That makes the shortbread crust. Remove from oven. (Don't turn off oven!)

SECOND STEP: Mix eggs with melted butter and white sugar. Add baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix thoroughly. (A hand mixer will do the job if you're tired of stirring.)

Melt the chocolate chips in a small double boiler, a pan over hot water on the stove, or nuke them for 3 minutes in the microwave on high. (Be sure to stir -- chips may maintain their shape even after they're melted.)

Add the melted chocolate chips to your bowl and mix thoroughly.

Pour this mixture on top of the pan you just baked and tip the pan so it covers all of the shortbread crust. Stick it back into the oven and bake it for another 25 minutes. Then remove if from the oven and sprinkle on additional powdered sugar.

Let it cool thoroughly and cut into brownie-sized bars. You can refrigerate these, but cut them before you do. (They're pretty solid when they're cold.)

Hannah's note: Andrea said these were so rich, no one could eat more than one. (I watched her eat three at the wrap party.)

My thoughts on the recipe: Divine. I love these. The recipe was super easy to follow, and the cookie bars turned out perfectly. Halfway through making these (I'm a little slow), it occurred to me that this is basically a chocolate version of the Lovely Lemon Bars I made from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. Like those, the Chocolate Highlander Cookie Bars have a yummy, flaky crust; they're also sweet, but not sickenly so. I tried to take a side view of these bars so you could see what they actually look like, but the pictures were blurry (you wouldn't think it would be so difficult to snap a photo of a stationary object!) - basically, it's like eating a super-moist brownie pie. Does that make sense? Anyway, these are delicious. Love, love, love them.

Note: This recipe was used by permission.


  1. Oh my, these look good. I'm sure my daughter would adore them. All of your baking makes me want to go dig out Joanne's books and try some cookies for myself.

    Just wait until you get to the Sugar Cookie Murder. More like a cookbook with a little bit of a mystery included!

  2. I'm a few days late posting a comment, but wanted to say that I made these bar cookies this afternoon. When someone said a person could only eat ONE, they had not met my grandchildren! The bars were great; the recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I made these yesterday after listening to the audiobook. My pan was not large enough, so the shortbread was a bit thick, but it didn't matter. It was so delicious! My husband, who doesn't like too-sweet desserts, loved this recipe! (I even caught him taking some for work this morning!!) I've also tried the Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies from the first book. I made a batch of 50 for our Thanksgiving dinner and they were gone by Friday!



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