March 4, 2012

Pregnancy Craving: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This has got to be pregnancy cravings in the works. I can’t say chocolate chip cookie bars are usually my thing. Not that I don’t like them. I just historically haven’t loved them. Un-pregnant me would not have made these over the thousands of other recipes I have flagged.

So let’s chalk it up to pregnancy cravings. Which miraculously haven’t taken over my life. Sure there have been a few (anything salty during the first couple of months, then a love affair with Skittles in months 3-4, a Papa Johns pizza at 10pm last week). But that ain’t so bad if you ask me. I’m convinced non-pregnant Sarah actually has eating habits similar to someone who is pregnant.

I’ve always had strong cravings. I’ve always had a really good appetite.

Thank god this hasn’t intensified with Baby Girl Cohen.

But here is what has changed with my eating habits thanks to BGC:

No more raw batter. Before being pregnant, I was (probably not so smartly) very unphased by the threat of salmonella. I had no problem eating raw dough, raw batter, raw eggs. But now I am completely totally paranoid and wouldn’t dare sneak a taste of anything raw that I’m baking up. And I am compulsive about washing my hands whenever I even look at raw eggs.

No more mayo. It hasn’t been hard to avoid unpasteurized cheeses. But it has been hard to avoid homemade mayonnaise with all of its raw egg glory. (Side note: it shocks me how many people tell me the raw eggs are usually pasteurized and probably fine. Maybe they are right. It sounds so wrong though.) So many of my beloved eating establishments make their own mayonnaise. And I can’t eat it right now. And it kills me. Lucia’s. Broder’s Pasta Bar. Smack Shack. So many others. This wasn’t immediately on my radar, so poor BGC has probably come into contact with raw eggs in her 25 week old fetus life. But if it didn’t make me sick, I’m guessing it didn’t make her sick. Sorry BGC. I’ve been trying to be better about the mayo.

A lot of chewing. I have never loved whole grains. Fruit and veggies, I can do no sweat. The whole grains, I just don’t love. And I’m supposed to be eating 6 servings of them a day. SIX. That is 6 slices of whole wheat bread or 12 rice cakes—take your pick. Either way, that is a lot of chewing. Zach has already asked if we can go back to regular pasta after BGC arrives. Yes, is the answer. Right away. Until she starts eating pasta of course. And then the good mama in me will have the Cohens back on whole wheat pasta.

No more wine. I naively thought my body would know I shouldn’t have it and would therefore not want it. So not the case. I take an occasional sip and let it sit in my mouth for as long as possible trying to enjoy every little drop. I miss wine. A lot.

A lot of burning. I haven’t felt sick in the slightest, but I have been spacy. I have pregnancy brain. It has manifested itself in the burning of many things. There were the cocktail nuts a few Fridays ago that I was hoping to serve to friends coming over for dinner. There was the tartine I forgot about in the oven that was just charred. And then last Sunday there was the granola, which I didn’t forget about, but just for some reason decided to burn. And I smelled it burning. And for whatever reason (pregnancy brain), it didn’t occur to me to get up and check on it.

But back to the bars. These were really good. If you like chocolate chip cookie bars, you will love these. The Baked cookbook very rarely lets me down. “That book is a winner,” said Zach enthusiastically the other day when he found out both these chocolate chip bars and some pumpkin whoopee pies I’ve made before are both from the book.

They are moist and comforting and chewy and best eaten in large squares. Don’t skimp on the portions. They are the perfect thing to eat after dinner during the work week. They will make you insanely happy and grateful that you have them especially if you are pregnant and chocolate chip cookie bars are sounding good to you. J

Brewer’s Blondies, Adapted slightly from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

2 1/3 c flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp malted milk powder
14 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
¾ c malted milk balls, coarsely chopped in food processor
¾ c semisweet chocolate chips
¾ c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder.

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until completely combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add malted milk balls, chocolate chips, walnuts and mix until just combined.

Spread mixture into baking pan, smoothing out evenly.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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