These chocolate chip cookie bars are actual perfection. Not only are they taken up a notch with the addition of brown butter and sea salt, but they also bake into the most perfect dense but chewy consistency with loads of melty chocolate throughout. They’re also so quick and easy to make so if you’re craving chocolate chip cookies but want a bit less work, this recipe is for you!
What makes these the BEST chocolate chip cookie bars?
While cookie bars are easy to make, it is so difficult to create a recipe that bakes evenly! Whenever I test cookie bars, it’s so common for the edges of the bars to puff up taller than the center.
Maybe it’s just the perfectionism in me, but I think it’s necessary for these bars to be the same consistency all throughout. Not only for looks, but also so that each slice is the exact same. That way no one is fighting over the four good slices in the center!
Luckily that’s not a problem for these chocolate chip cookie bars. They bake so level with a soft, dense, and chewy consistency all throughout.
The key is to use just enough baking powder to prevent these bars from baking TOO dense, but not so much to where they puff up like crazy. The reason for using baking powder over baking soda is that baking powder is double acting. It activates once it comes in contact with moisture and again when exposed to heat.
But these bars are so much more than their level consistency. They’re made extra special with brown butter, melty chocolate, and flaky sea salt. The combo of these three make a super rich cookie bar that tastes like heaven in a slice.
Tips for making perfect brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars
Read through these before starting the recipe to ensure your cookie bars turn out just right!
- Flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail. If there’s too much flour, these bars will turn out tough and dry. If possible, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure the exact amount, gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge. If scooped directly into the flour container, the flour becomes packed down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Cooled Butter – Once the butter is browned, let it chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. It’s important not to use piping hot butter in these bars as it will dissolve the sugar too fast and possible scramble the egg when mixing.
- Dark Brown Sugar – Definitely stick with this ingredient! Don’t sub in light brown sugar or granulated sugar as the dark brown sugar really helps to enhance the rich and chewy flavor and consistency.
- Mixing – Mix as much as you want with a whisk for the wet ingredients but once the dry ingredients are added to the dough, switch to a rubber spatula and gently mix to combine. Because over mixing could lead to tough cookie bars.
- Baking Pan – For the best results, use a light colored square aluminum baking pan. This material conducts heat the best so your bars can evenly bake from edge to center.
How to make brown butter
I have an entire post dedicated to the process of browning butter so if you’ve never done it before, definitely head over there!
When to slice and serve cookie bars
When the cookies are done baking, allow them to cool for about 45 minutes at room temperature.
To tell if they’re ready to serve, feel the bottom of the pan. If it’s just SLIGHTLY warm, try lifting the bars out using the parchment paper overhang. If the bars start to bend in the center as you lift, they aren’t ready. If the bars hold firm, they’re done!
Use a large knife to make swift and even slices. For clean cuts, wipe off the knife between each cut.
They’re best to serve just slightly warm as the chocolate will remain super melty. But they’re still delicious at cooler temperatures as well!
How to store chocolate chip cookie bars
Keep the bars in an air tight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for about 3 days but if you need to extend the shelf life, store in the refrigerator for a few additional days. But honestly, they don’t stick around long!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars FAQs
Of course I recommend sticking with brown butter but if you aren’t comfortable with the browning process or prefer the flavor of regular butter, it can be subbed in. Just melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter and use as directed. No need to add in that additional 1 tablespoon.
Although I haven’t tested it, I do think this recipe could work well with gluten free baking flour. Use a good cup for cup gluten free baking flour and sub in the same amount.
My all time favorite chocolate chips are the Trader Joe’s semisweet chocolate chips. They aren’t too sweet and melt into tender chocolate puddles. If you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s, my second favorite are the Guittard dark chocolate chips in the red bag. The name is deceiving as they lean more towards semisweet in flavor, but they melt just as well!
You CAN, but I recommend sticking with dark brown sugar for the best flavor and consistency.
For more cookie bar recipes, check out my:
- Monster Cookie Bars
- Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (GF, V)
- Toasted Marshmallow Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bars
- Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookie Bars
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make these brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!