Sweet and Salty Cookie Bars

Have you ever thought about combining chocolate and pretzels into a dessert? Oooh, I have, a few times. I love a good sweet and salty combination, and was inspired to create a treat that was dense, a bit chewy with a hint of salty, and a whole lot of sweet goodness. These Sweet and Salty Cookie Bars are great for an afternoon sweet snack, or to tray up and serve for an upcoming party. Honestly, I’m that person who eats sweets for breakfast, shhhh, so basically anytime is a good time to grab one of these goodies. If you’re game, preheat your oven to 350 and let’s get rockin’ and rollin’!

Prep/Bake Time: 20 minutes prep; 50-52 minutes total bake time

Quantity: 24 smaller squares

Author: Mindi Cunningham | sweet basil & lemon

Ingredients:

Cookie Bar Crust

2 cups graham crackers

1 stick butter melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)

Cookie Dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar packed tightly

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter chilled (cube into small pieces or grate with a hand grater before adding to mixture)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cookie Bar Topping

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14oz)

1 egg

1 cup crushed pretzels

1 and 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

We’ll get things going by creating the graham cracker crust. Combine graham crackers, melted butter and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly. Use your hands to massage the butter evenly into the crumb/sugar mixture. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and pour the mixture into the pan. Using a spatula or finger tips, press into the crust to ensure it’s packed evenly covering the entire bottom surface of the pan. Next, pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over top the crumb mixture and set off to the side.

Now we’ll prepare the cookie dough. Combine all dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix thoroughly. Work the eggs, vanilla, and butter into the dry mixture. Again, it may be helpful to use your finger tips to work the butter evenly into the cookie dough. Add the chocolate chips and fold into the dough.

To spread the dough onto the crust, take a section of dough and flatten it out using your hands. Work dough so it is ~1/4″ thick. Layer the pieces like a puzzle onto the layer of condensed milk covering the entire pan, as shown below. Insert into oven on top rack, and bake for ~22 minutes. Dough should look fairly set but may still look slightly undercooked. Not to worry, it will finish baking in the next step.

While dough is baking, it’s a great time to prepare the topping. Combine and mix the vanilla and egg with sweetened condensed milk in a medium sized bowl. Add the crushed pretzels and chocolate chips and stir into the topping mix.

Once the cookie dough is mostly set, remove from oven and pour the topping evenly over cookie dough. Place back into the oven and bake for a remaining 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, topping should look firm and set, with a nice golden brown coloring.

Remove from oven; let cool for 30 minutes to an hour before setting into refrigerator. After chilling for 2-3 hours, cut into squares and serve. For optimal freshness, store in fridge and serve chilled. Grab your glass of milk or cup of coffee, you’re in for a treat!

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