Here’s a fun, simple, kid friendly recipe that should help to get everyone in the back to school spirit.  Older children can help to measure and mix up the ingredients in the mixer, while the little ones can add the ingredients and help to fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.  They can all get creative as they drizzle on designs with the caramel and chocolate glazes.  These chocolate chip bars—also called blondies—are a sweet addition to the lunchbox and a satisfying after school treat with a tall, cold glass of milk.  You may want to make a couple of batches of these bars as they tend to disappear rather quickly.

Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Bar Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
  • 1 1/4 cups pack brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Caramel Glaze

  • 4 ounces caramel candies
  • 2 tablespoons water

Chocolate Glaze

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces butter or margarine
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan.  Cut out a 9 x 9 inch piece of parchment or wax paper to place on the bottom of the baking pan for easy removal of the bars after they are baked.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and combine well with a whisk.  Set aside.

Place the shortening in a mixing bowl and with an electric mixer beat for 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy.

Add the brown sugar and beat for about two minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla, beating until well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 to 3 additions, and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts until well mixed.

Place the dough into the prepared 9” square baking pan, spread evenly and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Cut the bars into 16 squares (make sure to remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the bars) and serve as is or with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar.

If desired, drizzle chocolate and/or caramel glaze over the bars.

For the caramel glaze: Place caramel candies and water in a small heavy saucepan and stir until melted and smooth.  Dip a teaspoon into the warm glaze and with a backward/forward motion drizzle the caramel over the bars.

For the chocolate glaze: Place chocolate, butter and corn syrup on the top part of a double boiler over (not touching) simmering water and whisk until fully melted and smooth.  While the glaze is still warm to the touch, use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate glaze over the bars with a backward/forward motion.

Notes

You can have some fun with this recipe and get creative by substituting the bittersweet chocolate chips with milk or white chocolate chips, peanut butter or butterscotch chips—or a combination of some or all of them.  You can also substitute your favorite nut for the walnuts: pecans, almonds, peanuts and macadamia nuts would work well in this recipe.