by Mary Makowski
This cookie recipe has been baked by generations of my family during the Christmas season. It is a favorite among adults and kids alike because of the different textures and flavors: a buttery crust, topped with a chocolate layer and sprinkled with crunchy almonds. This bar cookie is a favorite among our cooks because it is easy and quick to make, yielding a whole batch of cookies in one oven bake.
Young families especially, are overworked and overscheduled during the holiday season. Shopping, planning, decorating, cooking, homework finishing, school concerts and plays, card addressing, office parties, post office visits, doctor and dentist visits before the year's end, end of year work deadlines, car pooling, wrapping, toy assembling, budgeting...it's exhausting to think about. Make these now, and freeze them. Pull them out and leave on the counter for a couple of hours before serving. These cookies will make your holiday season just a little easier. And tastier.
You will need a 13 X 15 inch pan. These were commonly known at one time as "broiler pans" that came with the oven. You know you saved that darn pan for some reason, right? This is it. Spray it with Pam or rub it with butter.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
One cup butter (2 sticks)
One cup light brown sugar
Two cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2.25 ounce slivered or sliced almonds (small pack in the baking aisle)
10 ounces of chocolate bar - use your favorite type, milk, semi-sweet, dark, I've tried them all
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl or with a hand mixer. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Spread the mixture in your 13 X 15 inch pan that has been greased. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.
While the base is being baked, melt the chocolate (a little more or less than 10 ounces is fine, don't fret over that. The original recipe calls for a 9-3/4 ounce Hershey bar that I haven't seen in stores for many years). Melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir well, followed by 10 seconds at a time and more stirring until completely melted. If you have a double boiler, as the original recipe calls for, use that to melt your chocolate. But we have modern plumbing now, too, and I see double boilers as more pan washing and less convenience. It's like the outhouse of chocolate melting. Not that I ever used an outhouse. Except at summer camp. And once, there was a wasp trapped in there. It involved the camp nurse. But back to the cookies....
When the cookie comes out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate evenly on top and sprinkle with the slivered or sliced almonds (pictured: sliced).
I'm bolding this part because it's important. CUT THE COOKIES INTO SQUARES AND REMOVE TO A SURFACE WHILE STILL WARM. Cut them 10 minutes or so after removing from oven and topping with the chocolate and almonds. Cool on wax paper or whatever surface you choose. I speak from experience. You do not want to cry over stuck cookies. It's the holidays!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a very good New Year!