It’s my birthday and I’ll put as much bourbon in the buttercream as I want to. And the cookies, definitely in the cookies! I’m not even going to try to act for one second like I’m not completely smitten with these cookie bars. Chocolate chip cookie bars filled with brown sugar, toasted pecans and bourbon – did I mention that already?! It’s like your favorite chocolate chip cookie you had growing up. You know the one that’s slightly crisp around the edges, soft and chewy in the middle and makes you feel all toasty and cozy and like you’re home – times that by about a million.
I told you I’m smitten.
And with that zip of bourbon, there’s no doubt you’ll definitely be feeling a little toasty after a few of these!
Normally when I make cookies, I make the dough, chill the dough, scoop, bake…. Not these! Mix that dough, pop it in the pan and done!
Now enter the chocolate bourbon buttercream. I couldn’t help myself. It’s so beautifully balanced with the dark chocolate, bourbon and just a pinch of salt.
So truth be told, you don’t need the buttercream. I can’t even believe I just said that. One year older and suddenly I don’t even know who I am anymore… But seriously, the cookie bars are all that and then some on their own. If you decide to go sans buttercream, make sure you sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top of the dough right before you bake it. It takes the cookie bars from great to holy freakin cannoli.
If you do go with the buttercream, you’ll want to sprinkle a little of that coarse sea salt right on top of the buttercream. You just need a little, it’s all sorts of magical.
I kind of think that these should mandatory for birthdays from now on, and maybe each year we can add a little more bourbon. I kind of like that, it puts a positive spin on this whole growing up thing.
These are also perfect for girls’ night, but let’s be serious, they’re perfect any night, any day, just because. Happy baking!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- 2 Tbsp. Bourbon
- 4 ounces (1 cup) lightly toasted, choped pecans
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 ounces unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup + 1-2 Tbs. powdered sugar
- 2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, melted
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. bourbon
- Sea salt for sprinkling (about 1/4 tsp.)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray an 8x8" pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- In a medium size bow, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, vanilla and bourbon, until fully incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
- Mix in pecans and chocolate chips.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan and even out with a spatula. If you are not going to top the bars with buttercream, sprinkle about 1/4 tsp. of coarse sea salt on top of the dough now.
- Bake for 42-45 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Bars are done when top is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, salt and 1/2 cup powdered sugar, adding a little sugar at a time so you don't have a sugar shower.
- Add melted chocolate and continue mixing until completely smooth.
- Add vanilla and bourbon and continue mixing, scraping down the bowl to ensure everything gets mixed in.
- At this point, taste it and add the additional 1-2 Tbs. of powdered sugar if needed. It will really depend on how sweet you want it.
- Spread buttercream on completely cooled bars and sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp. of coarse sea salt.