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Baking on my birthday

June 15, 2013
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

While I was visiting my parents last weekend, I wanted to bake something. And it wasn't just because I was having my birthday on Sunday. I wanted to make something relatively simple that also involved chocolate (had to feed the chocoholic in me). I didn't feel like making cookies, so I searched online for a chocolate chip bars recipe. I'm sure I could've found one in the plethora of cookbooks my mother has, but I wasn't up for the search. All I had to do was tap in "chocolate chip bars recipe," and I chose the first one. (By the way, I was also looking for a simple M&M bars recipe and located one I have to try somedaysomeday).

I looked over the list of ingredients. I was sure that my mom had all of them so we didn't have to make a trip to the grocery store. It seemed simple enough - 15 minutes of prep time; 25 minutes of cook time. Here's the recipe:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375* Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

3. Beat butter, both sugars and vanilla in large mixer bowl.

4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

5. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture.

6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

7. Spread into prepared pan.

8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

My mom and I decided to make this a joint effort. And first off, she said the baking temperature was too high, so it was moved down to 350 degrees. I'm the type that likes to follow recipes to the letter when it comes to mixing together ingredients. I tried to tell my mother that I needed two bowls - one to mix up the sugars, butter and vanilla in and one for the flour, baking soda and salt. But she said it wouldn't matter if they were all mixed together in just one bowl. OK, we'll do it her way. So I measured the ingredients and put them all in the bowl. She measured up the jelly roll pan to make sure we had the right size. Then she started mixing the ingredients by hand. Eventually we resorted to using a hand mixer. It came time to add the chocolate chips. There were two bags of Hershey's what I thought were chocolate chips. Well Mom thought so too when she bought them. Guess she should've looked at the bag a little closer. She opened the bag and started pouring in these small, disc-shaped chocolates. Turns out they are baking melts. So we're cutting these discs into fourths in order to fold them into the dough. We spread the dough into the pan and hoped for the best. I set the timer for 20 minutes, figuring we could check them. Twenty minutes went by, and I went to check on them. Mom put a toothpick in the center, and it came out clean. We pulled them out and promptly noticed that one side of the bars was pretty wrinkly, it looked a bit like elephant skin. We should've used a bigger pan, Mom said. But I assured her that the bars would be edible. We cut out a couple, and sure enough, they were just fine. In fact, by the time I left on Monday, a good portion of them were gone.

Now to make those M&M bars.



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