The trials and tribulations of a scatter-brained kitchen junkie.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Bang Bars

Big Bang Bars (noun) - Cookie bars which contain the ingredients from which all other cookies are derived.

I wish I could claim credit for the name of these delicious beasts, but in fact the name came from a fellow redditor (kanthropology) who came to the rescue when I was looking to replace the name Garbage cookies, with something a bit more appetizing. To reward her efforts I shipped her a batch of these yummy newly named treats. The name is perfect because it's nerdy - much like their maker - and because these delectable treats do provide a BIG BANG with each bite.

Not pictured: Coconut

When I was a kid my father cooked precisely 3 things: chili that was way too spicy for consumption by children, mac n' cheese, and these cookies. He always called them garbage cookies and made them from whatever garbage was sitting in the cabinets that looked appealing at the time. Each batch come out a little different because you never knew what he was going to throw in them. They also are always made in bar form because he was far too lazy to be bothered with drop cookies.

These have always been my favorite cookies because they have a little bit of everything, all mixed into one. I have taken my father's not so scientific approach to cookie making and refined the process down to a simple recipe that can be shared and re-created. Perhaps some of the magic is lost now that the recipe is committed in written form, but I like to think the memory lingers and perhaps gains momentum now that others can share in the joy.

I know that "everything" cookies aren't anything unique or original for most families, but I choose to believe there's something unique here. If for no other reason than the small memory of childhood that comes rushing back when the warm gooey joy hits my lips.

So readers I give to you: Garbage Cookies 2.0 → Big Bang Bites
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup/6 oz/ 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 c raisins
  • 3 cups uncooked oatmeal

I make a note, for posterity's sake of mixing these cookies by hand. The only reason I do this is because we didn't own a mixer when I was a kid, so I feel like I'm cheating the memory by bustin' out the Kitchenaid.

The Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Line a 9x9 pan with aluminum foil (optional).
  3. Spray pan/aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Combine the butter & sugars and mix until creamy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until incorporated.

  6. Add in the peanut butter, stirring again until fully incorporated.
  7. Add in the coconut, stir, incorporate, etc.
  8. Add the baking soda & flour and mix well.
  9. Fold in the chocolate chips & raisins.

  10. Add the oatmeal slowly, mixing completely with each addition.
  11. Press the dough into the greased pan.

  12. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Bars should appear mostly cooked but slightly soft in the center.
    A tooth pick should come out clean, but doesn't always if you end up hitting a cash of chocolate chips. I always hit chocolate chips.
    The bars are slightly drier than normal cookies, but that's part of their charm in my opinion. You can always play with the recipe and find out what works best for your tastes. 
  13. Remove from oven, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Optional Drizzle
  • 1 cup chocolate
  • 1/4 c shortening

  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. Stir in shortening, mix until completely smooth.
  3. Drizzle over bars.

...and there you have it. I hope people try this recipe and enjoy these cookies as much as I do. I'd love to hear what other variations people add into their everything cookies.

Happy noming.


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