Holiday cookie season is just around the corner… so who’s getting an early start baking?! I’m looking forward to all the holiday baking in store and this year will be different from previous years. How so? Well, for one, I’ll be focused on gluten free baking! This weekend I did some baking with my son, Joel, and we made these Magic Cookie Bars together. These cookie bars have a graham cracker crumb cookie base, topped with a decadent mixture of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, flaked coconut and walnuts. And yes, these were gluten free!
Honestly, I wasn’t really planning on getting an early start to holiday baking this year. I just started working full time back in the corporate world this past week and I’m still adjusting. Every night this past week, I’ve been so exhausted after a full day of work, the 2 hour (total) commute and coming home to figure out meals, household chores and balancing being a mom and wife while keeping sane. I guess after being a stay at home/work at home mom for the past year and a half, I need to transition into this new schedule slowly. But thankfully, there are the weekends. Like this one. I got a chance to spend some quality time with my son and we had a fun time playing in the kitchen!
To help it make it possible, my friends at Foodbuzz and Nestle Toll House Morsels sent me a holiday baking kit which included an apron and coupons for Nestle Toll House products. With the coupons, I purchased a couple of baking chips – butterscotch and peanut butter milk chocolate chips. To make these gluten free, I used Better Batter gluten free flour and S’moreables gluten free graham crackers.
Now these Magic Cookie Bars were inspired by a previous recipe I made. A few months ago I made some S’mores Cookie Bars and using the same dough recipe, I adapted the ingredients to incorporate the Nestle Chips I purchased. Since I had all the ingredients for the S’mores Cookie Bars, I made some of these too!
Joel loves being in the kitchen with me. In fact, there are always little hints that he’s been in the kitchen. When I pulled out my food processor to process the graham crackers, one of his little cars was hanging out in the food processor bowl. Imagine that lol. Joel loved pressing the ‘process’ button in the food processor. With every press, he giggled…
After processing the graham cracker crumbs, we added them to the bowl with flour, salt, and baking powder. Joel seemed to think his car should have been added too. Yeah, sorry buddy… not this time!
Now that we had our dry mix combined, it’s off to the stand mixer to combine the ‘wet’ ingredients. But what’s this? Ha – another car found! After removing his car, we added butter, brown sugar and eggs to the mixer bowl. There, it mixed until fluffy and Joel loved watching the paddle attachment go round and round in the mixer…
After the butter and sugar mixture came out fluffy, it was time to add the graham cracker crumb and flour mixture to the bowl. It continued to mix up to create our cookie dough base…
Once we got our graham cracker crumb cookie base, it was just a matter of assembling the bars in a baking pan and popping them in the oven. I had so much fun baking with Joel and hope you get a chance to bake up something delicious with someone you love too…
I received a holiday baking kit and stipend from Nestle Toll House Morsels.
recipe adapted from S’mores Cookie Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup peanut butter & milk chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Thoroughly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
Reserve 1/4 of the dough and set aside. Press the remaining dough into greased pan until dough is uniform and flat. Top with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and sprinkle with walnuts. Scatter the reserved dough over in clumps. Don’t worry about covering the top; the chips, coconut and walnuts should peek through.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars and remove from pan.