Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bad Day Bars

Today was just a bad day. Made worse by the fact that I didn't even realize I was having a bad day until dinner when bad went to worse. That's when I burned my hand on a hot cookie sheet and spilled milk all over the kitchen table and half of my dinner. Only then, on reflection, did I realize I had a horrible terrible no-good very bad day. If one were to play back my day it would be like watching a B-grade horror flick. You'd be yelling at the screen 'No! Not the basement/attic/garage/abandoned house! Don't go in there!'. You'd know I was a goner.

One of the reasons for my horrible terrible no-good very bad day was that I left my big batch of Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars at home instead of taking them to work where I had planned to share their wonderful-ness with my lovely colleagues. In spite of my horrible terrible no-good very bad day I have refrained from ripping off the lid and eating the entire batch myself which was my first instinct after the hand-burning milk-spilling incident. I found this recipe in a Food & Wine compilation cookbook I borrowed from the library recently. You can find the recipe online here: If you're a fan of combining sweet and salty (as I am) you will likely enjoy these bars. My kids said they would be better without the pretzels, leading me to think this particular combination might be more of a grown-up taste. I can't really say what kind of wine might be appropriate to accompany these bars; I had mine with a tall glass of milk. After I cleaned up the spilled milk, over which I did not cry even thought I felt like doing so.

Bad Day Bars (aka Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One 12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.

Spread the batter in the pan and top with the sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

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