Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars

A classmate of mine has the terrible, horrible problem that her mom sends her ‘tons of really good Venezuelan chocolate that she doesn’t know what to do with'. Rough, right? Since she knows I love to bake, she entrusted me with several bars with the one caveat that some great recipes come her way so she can have a solution to her problem. I jumped at the chance and these bars are just the beginning...

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars // Makes 10 large bars*

4oz (½ c) unsalted butter

¾ c sugar

¾ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp espresso powder

1 egg

¼ tsp salt

1 ¼ c flour

¼ c dark cocoa powder, sifted

⅓ c hazelnuts, toasted & chopped

3 oz  chopped good-quality milk chocolate

3 oz  chopped good-quality white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast, peel, and chop your hazelnuts. The easiest way to get the skins off is to place the toasted nuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub them together; the skins can be bitter so don’t skip this step! Prepare your pan by spraying and then lining with parchment that overhangs on each side; *I used an 8” x 5” baking dish but you can use two loaf pans for smaller portions and your yield will be about 20 pieces.

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddles attachment, cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy in texture. In a small bowl, stir together extract and espresso powder to mostly dissolve powder; add to butter mixture along with egg and salt. Beat to combine well. Add flour and cocoa, combining the ingredients in short pulses at first, then beat to fully incorporate. With a wooden spoon, stir in nuts and chopped chocolate until it’s thoroughly distributed.

Press dough into prepared pan and bake 22-26 minutes, depending on the size of your pan. The edges will be a bit more set and the center should still be soft when pressed as you want the centers to stay fudgy {notice there was no ‘if’ - you WANT the centers to stay fudgy}. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then grab onto the parchment wings to remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, slice the cookie in ½ inch pieces; if you cut them too thin, they will be a bit too fragile, unless you cut them in half crosswise or make the shorter ones. I think they look fabulous placed sliced-side-up so you can see the big chunks of delicious nuts and chocolate!

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars

Now at this point I almost melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the cookies….but I resisted the urge, and it felt weird. So if you are a lily-guilder like me, drizzle on some chocolate and call these Quadruple-Chocolate Cookie Bars! Enjoy with a large glass of milk, or spiked hot chocolate as needed.

With a full heart and an empty plate,