Even as a child, I looked forward to September and the start of school. I love this time of the year when the weather finally starts to cool down, school supplies are on sale, and all the festive holidays are just around the corner. My dad and I fondly call this time of the year “the ber months.”
I can’t believe I have been out of school for five years. And I can’t believe how excited, thrilled, and eager I am to become a student again. It has taken me much longer than the average person to figure out what I’d like to do when I finally grow up. I say, better late than never. Luckily, I have amazing unconditional support from my parents and my boyfriend.
I am going back to college to complete the required sciences courses necessary for medical school! Yes, medical school! (More on that later, as this massive adventure unfolds.)
In the meantime I am applying to a couple Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Med programs to finish up my science courses. So during this stressful time of studying for my GREs, volunteering at hospitals and hospices, and filling out applications, I find myself relying on baking to keep my sanity (just like I did during my undergrad).
Instead of falling back on my usual cookie recipe, I decided to try something new. You know what’s easier than making a batch of chocolate chip cookies? Making a giant cookie and cutting them into bars!
This not only makes for a unique presentation, but it also facilities easy storage and transportation. These are sturdy cookie bars that can be stacked and shipped in the mail. And as with most cookies, you can fill them with whatever toppings you crave- peanut butter chips, toasted pecans, dried fruits.
While most cookie recipes call for a whole stick of butter or shortening, these cookie bars combine half a stick of butter with a little canola oil. I’d say that makes these a tad bit healthier and that’s more than enough for me to snack on these while studying.
Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, adapted from Food & Wine
makes 1- 9”x13” pan
4 Tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, with skin
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and oil. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until creamy. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue to mix until smooth.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until the dry has been incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and sliced almonds. Mix until just combined.
5. Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan. Press into an even layer using parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely on a rack before unmolding. Be sure to run a knife around the edges before inverting. Peel off parchment paper and cut into desired servings.