The Chunky Bar in Cookie Form
Fair warning: Pumpkin is coming. There is no escaping it. You will soon be swimming in a sea of pumpkin spice lattes and your best friend’s house will be warmed by the light of Yankee Candle’s Pumpkin Buttercream jar (yes, this really is a scent). And, make no mistake, Baked will jump on the pumpkin bandwagon as well. I like pumpkin everything (okay, maybe not the weird candles), and I LOVE fall. But before the onslaught of pumpkin begins, I would like to take pause and introduce you to the loveliest cookie: Ode To The Chunky Bar.
This cookie, which appears in one of my favorite cookbooks, Cookie Love by Mindy Segal, is a helluva a cookie. (And Mindy is a helluva a gal. Go to her restaurant when you are in Chicago). As the name suggest, this cookie is made with loving nostalgia for the Chunky bar. I remember the Chunky well – the square shape and shiny wrapper – but I don’t really remember eating them that often as raisins weren’t really my thing. They still aren’t. But, that is the beauty of this cookie. If you don’t want raisins, leave them out (just don’t tell Mindy) and add more peanuts and chocolate.
So, before you settle down into a pumpkin glut, enjoy the last of the September light with these fantastic gluten-free cookies.
A few brief notes about these cookies:
-Not only are they flourless, but they are dairy-free as well. You won’t miss either. As Mindy says in the intro to the recipe “
-I highly recommend just cutting the dough into squares although the book gives alternate directions for punching out squares with a cookie cutter (seems messier and more time consuming).
-I know, I know…I shouldn’t sub the raisins, but I did. I eliminated the raisins and used ½ cup chocolate and ½ cup of peanuts. And I had intended to use Spanish red-skinned peanuts but I only had regular old peanuts on hand (they worked fine).
-Finally, the book recipe uses 2 extra-large egg whites, but I had to add one more egg-white to get the dough to come together. This happens with eggs as they are all over the map in terms of size.
Ode to the Chunky Bar by Mindy Segal from her book Cookie Love
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temp (have one extra egg-white on hand just in case)
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup coarsely chopped Spanish red-skinned peanuts
⅓ cup bittersweet chocolate discs (preferably 64% cacao)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg whites, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until a smooth, shiny batter forms, 1 to 2 minutes. (If dough is not shiny, add remaining egg white and beat again for a few seconds). Fold in the raisins, peanuts, and chocolate discs.
Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with plastic wrap, leaving a 4-inc overhang on both sides. Transfer the dough to the pan and pad down into the pan to make it even. Cover the dough with the overhanging plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 350℉. Line two half sheet pans with parchment.
Unwrap the dough and place on a cutting board. Cut the dough crosswise into 6 even strips and cut each strip into 6 pieces. Evenly space 12-14 cookies on each prepared pan. Bake one pan at a time for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the tops are barely set, another 3 to 5 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for two minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Continue baking off cookies in batches. Yes, you can reuse the parchment.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.