Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, a take on the chocolate chip cookie with lots of German spices.
The world is a crazy place. I’m not sure why, but between hurricanes and shootings and earthquakes life feels heavy. We want to do something but are often unsure of what to do. Sure, you can make donations (money is great, donate away) but often in times like these personal connections are what get us through. It might seem silly, but when I am stressed I bake. A lot. Cookies. Cakes. Muffins. Cupcakes. The act of baking helps me process what is going on, and then I get to share the fruits of my labor with friends or others that are also having a tough time. It helps bring togetherness.
If you have been here awhile, you probably know that my husband is in the Coast Guard. He is a search and rescue pilot about to celebrate his 20th year of service. Something that I never really thought about until I became a Coast Guard wife was that while the prep and rescue efforts are going on, their own families are dealing with their homes and gearing up for a hurricane. And the same is true for all of the other first responders. Electric crews, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, news crews, all of the people that are part of the effort are also dealing with the personal effects of a hurricane coming towards them and their families.
In the Coast Guard, the first people to help are the ones that live there. Crews that serve Florida live in Florida, Texas crews live in Texas, Puerto Rico crews live in Puerto Rico. You get the idea. It isn’t a good feeling to have to evacuate without your spouse. It is scary and you worry. About the safety of your home, but also about the weather and dangerous conditions your spouse is flying in.
The crews that were rescuing people off of roofs, dropping supplies, and getting people to safety are simultaneously going through the effects of a hurricane. When they get home, then they deal with flooding, power outages, and all of the clean up that goes along with hurricanes.
These cookies are for my Coast Guard family. The Coast Guard is tiny. Smaller than the New York Police Department, but when you need them, they are there. And while cookies are the very least that I could ever do for them, I know that they would appreciate them. (I say this from experience, I’ve sent MANY baked goods to air stations. There is no one I would rather bake for.) Especially when they are working around the clock, functioning on very little sleep, and living on caffeine and vending machines.
If we were in the US, Wes would have most likely been working during the hurricanes this fall. Instead, we watched our friends on the news. While I would never wish a hurricane on anyone, I am always proud when I see the CG get some time to shine. To symbolize this, I married our two homes to make Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – a classic American chocolate chip cookie with all of the warm spices that are found this time of year in Germany. Lebkucken are gingerbread cookies and you can buy the spice packets in the grocery store. You can either use a tablespoon of the spice mixture or the amount of separate spices I used here.
Also, I used a 250-gram bar of my favorite chocolate. Ritter Sport Goldschatz is a dark chocolate that I can’t get enough of. I just chopped it up and mixed 3/4 of it into the batter and sprinkled the remaining on top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
- 3 cups flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips (or 250 g bar dark chocolate)
- Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, letting the sides overhang. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl. Set aside.
- Step 3: Cream butter and both sugars in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
- Step 4: Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Step 5: Press into prepared pan. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes.