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BellaOnline's Chocolate Editor

Bar Cookie Recipes for the Holidays

Face it�holiday season is here. From now until New Year�s, there will be parties and cookie exchanges and company and family dinners. The following recipes are tried-and-true crowd pleasers that have the added benefit of being incredibly easy to make. In fact, why not hand over the baking chores to the kids while you attend to other last-minute details? These recipes are guaranteed mistake-proof.

Chocolate Toffee Bars

This is essentially a chocolate cookie baked like a pan of brownies, which means you get that yummy brown sugar/chocolate chip balance in much less time than it would take to bake a batch of single cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (1 6-oz package)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Treat a rectangular baking pan (15 x 10 inch) with non-stick spray.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Gradually add the flour, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm and cool on a rack.

Seven-layer Bars

These rich and gooey cookies are so intensely sweet that a little one goes a long way. No actual mixing is involved here; you just layer on the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Treat a deep baking pan (13 x 9 x 2 inch) with non-stick spray.

� cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 � cups crushed graham crackers
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 6-oz package butterscotch baking chips (1 cup)
1 small can flaked coconut
� cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Melt the butter in a largish bowl in the microwave, then stir in the graham crackers. Pat the mixture into the baking pan as if making a graham cracker pie crust.

Layer in the chocolate chips, followed by the butterscotch chips, the coconut and the pecans. Then pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars when cool.

Variations on a theme

If you like, you can substitute white chocolate chips for the butterscotch. If you want to make the cookies a little more nutritious, you can use low-fat condensed milk.

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