I wasn’t going to cook today. I really wasn’t. But then, my kids and their friends wanted to have a lemonade stand. After a cooler than usual spring, the weather has been sunny and warm. It was a perfect idea and, somehow, every time there is a lemonade stand in our driveway, I make cookies to be sold alongside the lemonade. I did it once early on, and that set the standard. Truth is, I love doing it!
This was the perfect excuse to get out an old camp recipe that yields a humongous amount of cookies. It isn’t often that cookie ingredients are listed by the pound! The recipe is ideal whenever you have to provide dessert for a crowd, and who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? Making them in bars saves a lot of time, and the addition of peanut butter makes them extra special.
The kids almost always choose a special cause to which to donate their lemonade stand profits. This time, the group decided to send it to the Boston Marathon survivors. I have to do a little research as to where to send the money; I know there are many worthy options. If anyone has a helpful suggestion, I encourage you to comment.
As for the recipe, complete credit goes to my old girls camp in Maine, Alford Lake Camp. I spent seven magical summers there (’81-’86 for any fellow ALCers!) and have friendships that last through today. If you have a girl who would enjoy a summer camp experience, either as a camper or a counselor, I cannot say enough positive things about the people or the place. I still keep in touch with the directors and love their philosophy on what really matters. And if you like these cookies, I will have to work on their world-famous apple crisp recipe!
NOTE: Someone recently asked if she could make this recipe without the peanut butter. I have not made this recipe that way but have a favorite classic chocolate chip bar cookie recipe that I highly recommend. It is included as a part of a Giant Chipwich Cake recipe. As an option, you may bake that batter in a jelly roll pan or a 14-inch pizza pan, and double or triple if an extra large batch is required. Click here to see the recipe.
Yields three 17x11-inch baking pans (This translates into about (4 1/2) 9x13 pans or (9) 8x8 pans.)
- 2 1/2 pounds all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds butter
- 1 1/2 pounds peanut butter
- 1 pound granulated sugar
- 1 pound light brown sugar
- 8 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 pounds semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 17×11-inch baking sheets with sides with parchment paper or grease well. (You may also vary the pan size and/or bake in several batches.)
In a very large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. (If you don’t have an extra large mixing bowl, you could use a large stock pot.)
Using an stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
At this point, I find it easiest to add about half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer. Then I turn everything into my extra large bowl with the remaining dry ingredients and finished mixing by hand. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. It’s a great arm workout!
Spread the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pans and bake 17-20 minutes or until just cooked. I like them just barely cooked through in the center to ensure a moister cookie, so check a minute or two early. When cooled completely, cut into bars.
- If you do not have a stand mixer, you may do this by hand. A fellow camper who has made this recipe melts the butter to make mixing by hand easier.
- Size-wise, you may bake in any combination of pans you prefer. Simply adjust the cooking time slightly if you use a smaller pan or choose to make a thicker bar cookie.