I don’t know about you, but when I was young my Mom used to make chocolate chip cookie bars every once in a while and they were a thing of beauty. Thick, chewy, sweet, and addictive. The tops were kind of crunchy and if you had one while they were still warm, the chips were gooey.

This month’s Food and Wine issue had a recipe in it for cookie bars which cut way back on the sugar and butter content, used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white, and added dried cranberries for chewiness. I was all in! Who can say no to lightly toasted pecans and chunks of bittersweet chocolate? Not this girl.


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden (this can be done in a toaster oven too). Chop the pecans and let cool
  3. In a mixing bowl beat the butter and oil with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt; add the dry ingredients into the mixer at low speed.
  5. Add the chocolate chips, cranberries and pecans; beat until just incorporated
  6. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and nearly set in the center
  7. Let cool completely, then run a knife around the edges and invert the yumminess. Peel off the paper, cut and serve