Breaking the Rules

I once pitched this recipe idea to an editor where I occasionally freelance and was told, “We don’t run those types of recipes. We only want recipes where everything is made from scratch.”

I knew that. I was just suggesting she make an exception.

I’ve come up with dozens of recipes for this  magazine over the years, all of which were from scratch. Heck, that’s pretty much my motto in the kitchen. From scratch. This recipe is so gloriously chocolatey  and fudgey that it makes me think it’s ok to break the rules once in a while. Full disclosure I have made these chocolate chip gooey bars both ways and I would swear on a stack of Julia Child’s cookbooks that the ones made from store-bought dough are better. Honest.

chocolate chip gooey bars

This recipe is from Sally Sampson’s The BakeSale Cookbook. Sampson recommends you make the cookie dough from scratch, but you don’t have to. The simplicity of making them with bought dough is curiously freeing. Melt, squish, layer, bake. Perfect for pot lucks or bake sales, known to cure PMS when eaten in their molten just-out-of-the-oven state, these bars can also be used for some serious bribing with teenagers or grown ups.

Rule Breaking Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars

2 packages of chocolate chip cookie dough (around 2 pounds)

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 – 12 ounce bag chocolate chips

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Dump the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips into a small saucepan and over a low flame gently heat until the chips are melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and let cool a few minutes. This will be your “fudge” layer.

layering chocolate chip gooey bars

Flip a 9″ x 13″ pan over (if you have one that is slightly smaller all the better) and press some aluminum foil over the outside. Then gently lift the foil off and it should be in your pan’s shape. You can then press it into the inside of the pan. Be careful not to tear the foil. My pan is slightly smaller than 9″ x 13″ which is the perfect size for these bars, but slightly too small for lasagna.

Next it’s time to layer up. Take the dough and squish it into super flat tiles which you will place on the bottom of the pan. I use the flat brick of dough which is prescored into squares. I break off chunks and smoosh them flat. You may need to use one or two squares from the second package of dough to completely cover the bottom. Or you can  press the dough just a little bit thinner. Spread all of the fudge over the first dough layer and top with more pieces of flattened dough. Bake for 45 minutes or until the dough is nicely browned on top. Cool a bit and cut into squares. I tend to make these small because they are rich.

chocolate chip cookie bars ready to cutMaybe someday when I’m feeling crazy I’ll get a tattoo on my stirring arm that says from scratch. It will remind me if something is chocolatey and gooey enough it’s ok to break the rules.


Filed under 50 Recipes

2 responses to “Breaking the Rules

  1. ruth

    No tat just lots of engraved jewelry—love you ruth

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