It’s a Holiday weekend and one ooey gooey way to enjoy it is with these amazing Meringue Cookie Bars. The meringue is light and airy with a pinch of sweetness while the cookie takes the charge in deliciousness.
I know I am “normally” all about simplicity and I know there are a few steps involved in making these “oh so worth every bite” Meringue Cookie Bars, but I promise you the steps ARE simple and the result are heavenly. Let’s face it, it is hard to out due the original chocolate chip cookie. It is just one of those cookies that can’t possibly be replaced, BUT these Meringue Cookie Bars are going to give our oldie but goody a run for the cookie hall of fame.
Each bite is full of that chocolate chip cookie flavor, but the meringue really sets it apart. It is like icing on a cake, the perfect finishing touch to something so simple. I have never baked with meringue before so in all honesty I was a little nervous that I would torch it and ruin what I was anticipating to be delicious. THANKFULLY I didn’t start a fire and the Meringue Cookie Bars came out perfect.
The smell of them cooking is one I wish I could bottle up and let out when I needed to put that little smile on my face, the one that wafts out as you walk past freshly baked cookies at a bakery or even Mrs. Fields… MMMMM smell it? So I hope you don’t feel like your cheating on your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe by trying these warm and chocolaty Meringue Cookie Bars, because they may just win your heart over. xoxo
- 2 cups whole wheat white flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar splenda mix (or 1/2 cups sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, separated
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 1 large egg white, optional if you'd like a thicker meringue layer
- Preheat the oven and prepare the pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut 2 pieces of aluminum foil and fold them to match the width of the pan. Press one piece into the pan lengthwise and the other into the pan crosswise with the ends hanging over the sides of the pan, like this. This makes it easy to lift the bars out of the pan once they're cooled. Spray the foil with nonstick coating.
- Make the cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or by hand, cream together the butter, the granulated sugar, and just 1/2 cup of the brown sugar until this looks like smooth frosting.
- Separate the eggs, reserving the whites. Mix the yolks into the butter-sugar mixture one at a time until they are completely absorbed, then mix in the water and vanilla. With the mixer at a low speed, add the flour mixture and beat gently until all the flour has been absorbed and the dough looks crumbly.
- Add the cookie layer: Press the cookie dough gently into the pan with your hands, making sure the surface is even.
- Add the chocolate layer: Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough and use your palms to press them slightly into the dough. This will help keep them from moving when you add the meringue.
- Make the meringue: Using a stand or hand mixer with a clean bowl and a clean whisk attachment, start whisking the egg whites. (Use 3 egg whites if you'd like a thicker meringue layer.) Gradually increase your speed to medium-high. When the egg whites are very frothy and look like loose foam, start adding the remaining cup of brown sugar a little at a time. Continue increasing your speed to the highest setting. When all the sugar has been added, continue whipping the meringue until it holds a soft peak. It should look like glossy, soft-serve ice cream.
- Spread the meringue on top: Scoop the meringue down the middle of the pan. It will be very sticky! Use a spatula to gently spread the meringue from the middle to the edges. We found it helpful to skim meringue from the top and gradually push it outward.
- Bake the bars: Lightly press a piece of parchment or wax paper on the top of the meringue (this makes an even layer and protects the meringue from scorching). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment. Continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the edges look toasted and are pulling away from the sides of the pan.
- Allow to cool: Wait until the pan is completely cool before lifting out the bars and cutting them into pieces.