Psychologists will cringe upon reading the following phrase: I reward myself with food.
I know that it’s not the best system—pairing stressful situations with the ultimate reward of something incredibly unhealthy. In fact, it’s kind of a recipe for disaster. And by “disaster,” I mean, “being confined to yoga pants because I’ve outgrown my jeans.” However, something has to be said for giving yourself a treat for a job well done.
At the moment, I’m planning on eating—nay, inhaling—one of these bars the second I finish reading The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine for history class. I’ve got to write an essay about it and I want to work ahead and get it done before spring break, which signifies not only the unpleasant task of reading 18th-century political treatises, but also overcoming my own propensity towards procrastination and spontaneous napping.
Seriously, guys, I can’t keep my eyes open for more than two pages of this thing. I tend to suspect that the 1700s folk actually felt the same way, but just didn’t have anything more fun to do other than read this book. Clearly pictured in my mind’s eye, there sits an old man in a maroon, wingback chair, struggling to keep his eyes open. His head droops, his white wig slips askance, and The Rights of Man lies open in his lap. As the summer’s eve slowly drifts into dusk, he repeats the pattern. Read two pages, sleep, read two pages, sleep. Just like how nowadays, when we’re bored, we check Facebook every five minutes, someone’s great-great-great-great grandfather listlessly whiled away the evening before reaching the acceptable hour to go to bed.
Unfortunately, great-great-great-great grandfather did not possess the yumminess that is chocolate chip brownie bars. Is it not tragic that he wasn’t able to reach into the cupboard and have a quick munchie as a reward for enduring another stuffy party or finally finishing some long-winded essay? I think so. Therefore, in his honor, I believe that we should do our best to make up for lost time. And by “make up for lost time,” I mean, “stuff our faces with as many chocolate chip brownie bars as humanly possible.” After all, in the present era, we have modern dentistry and elliptical machines to quickly right our sugary wrongs.
So, why dontcha make a batch of these beauties for yourself and join the pity-party? Why do you deserve a brownie bar this week? Do tell!
Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars
Recipe adapted from “Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies” from Evil Shenanigans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon instant coffee
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan and set aside.
Combine the butter and dark chocolate chips in a bowl, melting either in the microwave (two 20-second intervals, stirring in between) or over a double boiler. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a regular bowl with a hand mixer, beat the granulated sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until well-blended, light, and fluffy. Add melted chocolate from Part 1. Add flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt, mixing until combined.
Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan, then set aside.
Rinse out the bowl of the mixer, or grab a new one for the hand mixer. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing well to combine. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Once blended, toss in the semisweet chocolate chips and stir well.
Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, plop mounds of dough all over the brownie base, using the spoon to spread them around a bit.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool and then divide into equal portions.