Why you should care

It is said that the secret to pleasing the American palate is to make something sweet or crunchy. These cookies are both.

From our family to yours, OZY staff share their favorite time-honored holiday recipes to keep you warm, stuffed and slightly buzzed all season.

I can’t bake — or cook for that matter. Many a pan has been left sitting for long, lonely stretches on an unheated burner; countless sugary treats have met a fiery death at my hands; and loved ones time and again have been let down after tasking me with the most basic kitchen chores (such as cutting an avocado). Suitors beware.

Perhaps it’s the buttery smell that activates my brain or maybe the steps have been embedded in my DNA, passed down from one generation to the next, but there is one recipe that defies them all. It came about when my grandmother, affectionately known as Sooky, and her five kids set out on a seemingly impossible quest to improve what many would consider unimprovable: the Milano. The unassuming yet proven Pepperidge Farm cookie is made with a thin layer of chocolate sandwiched between two biscuits, but Sooky, a woman prone to going to great lengths to please the ones she loves, thought that if she could just increase the chocolate-to-dough ratio, the sum happiness of each bite would be that much greater. And if it just had a bit more crunch, the traditionally adult-marketed dessert could become kid-coveted. After trolling the neighborhood for ideas and experimenting with several different recipes, Sooky eventually mastered what she would call the Bar Cookie, for its long, sheetlike aesthetic.

Sooky’s creation is crispier and chocolatier; not only do kids love it, but the recipe is easy enough that they can help bake it. These days, as soon as the temperatures drop, I head to the kitchen for the first time all year and in less than an hour am bingeing on shortbread toast heaped with gooey chocolate. Go ahead: Give it a try.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt (less or none if the butter is salted)
2 cups flour
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (also try dark- or mint-chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper.

Blend the butter and brown sugar thoroughly. Add the vanilla extract and egg; then fold in flour and salt.

Spread half the dough on cookie sheet (or all if you prefer it thicker and doughier).* Bake for 8 minutes (15 minutes if using all the dough). Remove and pour half of the chocolate chips evenly over the top and place back in the turned-off oven for a minute or until chips are melted. With a knife, evenly spread chocolate. Let cool. Cut into pieces of your liking, and store in the fridge. Repeat process with the remaining dough.

*If you are using all the dough at once, you’ll need only 6 ounces of chocolate chips.

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