Pretzel & Guinness Cookie Bars

Photo of Pretzel & Guinness Cookie Bars

Fall Kickoff
We took Dude #1 back to school this past weekend. And, we moved him into a new apartment that is a major upgrade from his dorm. He is extremely excited—most likely because this will be the first time that he has had a room to himself. Ever. Such is the fate of a twin.

It’s always fun to be on campus when school starts because the energy is off the charts. They may not be excited about that four-hour chem lab, but everyone seems happy to be back together and, of course, the beginning of the school year means school sports which, in the fall, means football.

The college football season kicks off (see what I did there?) this weekend with a handful of games which for those of you, like my boys who have been anxiously awaiting the start of college football, should be most welcome despite the matchups not being that great. Next weekend will be way more entertaining…

I recommend making a batch of these Pretzel & Guinness Cookie Bars if you are so inclined. Everything about them screams football tailgate. Beer? Check. Pretzels? Check. Convenient and portable bar form? Also, check. Plus, they are pretty yummy!

Pretzel & Guinness Cookie Bars
Adapted from Cookies: The New Classics by Jesse Szewczyk
Yields about 24 bars

2 sticks butter
Nonstick spray
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Guinness draught beer
3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces semisweet baking chips (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 cups of crushed pretzels (we recommend Snyder’s Snaps)

Brown the butter
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking, stirring often to prevent burning, until the butter foams and then darkens in color slightly and is very fragrant, (about 3 to 4 minutes).

Immediately transfer the butter to a large heatproof bowl and allow it to cool until it is warm but no longer hot (about 20 minutes).

Prep the oven and pan
Preheat the oven to 325º F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch metal* baking pan with nonstick pan spray. (*You will be banging the bars on the countertop after baking, so you need something that won’t break.)

Add the sugar and wet ingredients
Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and beer to the bowl of melted butter. Whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir with a rubber spatula until a smooth dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzels.

Bake the bars
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer using an offset spatula.

Bake the bars until the top is lightly browned, the edges are set, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached (about 45 minutes).

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately bang it on the countertop several times to slightly deflate the cookie bars.

Allow the cookies to cool
Set the pan aside for at least 1 hour or more before slicing the bars to make 24 pieces. The cookie bars will be very gooey while still hot. However, like brownies, they will firm up once cooled.

To store
The bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. They also freeze well when stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag.

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