Black Bottom Cookie Bars

Having lived in the South all of my life until last year, summer has always meant unbearable heat and a few months of staying inside as much as possible. I won’t say that it doesn’t get plenty hot here in New York. It certainly does. Thankfully, though, it’s not quite as long-lived as all of the other summers I’ve known. As I write this in mid-August, it’s already feeling a little bit like fall outside.

Black-Bottom Cookie Bars | Bake or Break

A few weeks ago, the good folks over at Everyday Food were kind enough to send me a copy of their special summer issue. With my brand new summer attitude, I delved in and found several recipes to add to my seemingly insurmountable “to-try” pile.

These cookie bars called to me. They were practically begging to be made. So, make them I did. And a wise decision that was.

Black Bottom Cookie Bars are a wonderfully delicious chocolate-vanilla experience! - Bake or Break

Imagine, if you will, a bar with a rich, chocolate-y bottom layer. There’s no cream cheese involved in the top layer, but the taste and texture are reminiscent of cheesecake. I can only describe it as the cousin that cheesecake actually likes. The total package is a soft, chewy, delicious treat not just for summer. This kind of goodness works in any season in my kitchen.

Black Bottom Cookie Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Black Bottom Cookie Bars


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus more for baking dish)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly butter parchment.

Whisk together butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt, mixing just until moistened.

Divide batter in half, and transfer one half to a separate bowl. Stir in cocoa powder and chocolate chips until combined.

Place chocolate batter in baking pan. Spread evenly and smooth top. Spread plain batter on top of chocolate batter. Smooth top.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.


Recipe adapted from Everyday Food.

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  1. Nisrine August 17, 2011 Reply

    So moist and delicious. I love the two colors-very apperizing!

  2. These look delightful. Perfect Summer bar.

    I live in Minnesota, so if you ever show up to a picnic everyone brings bars. It becomes a bar party.

    Next bar party, I’m bringing something like this.

  3. Nan August 17, 2011 Reply

    Yum. These look great, and I’ll definitely give them a try!

  4. cluttercafe August 17, 2011 Reply

    Yum. I love Everyday Food. These look great. I never picked up that issue and kicking myself. Will give these a try for sure. Thanks!

  5. Three-Cookies August 17, 2011 Reply

    Great idea, and it looks delicious. Those gooey bits of chocolate is particularly appealing

  6. jennifer August 17, 2011 Reply

    cluttercafe, this issue is still available through the end of the month.

  7. Fallon August 17, 2011 Reply

    Oh my that chocolate bottom looks amazing!

  8. Erin August 17, 2011 Reply

    Looks awfully scrumptious!

  9. ashley@bakerbynature August 17, 2011 Reply

    Girl… these look amazing, I’m so glad they begged you to make them!

  10. Well, you definitely have my attention!! These look incredible and so rich and delicious – ultimate comfort food!

  11. These look creamy and wonderful! I love seeing what you’re going to come up with next. Can’t wait to try these out!

  12. briarrose August 18, 2011 Reply

    Beautiful! These sound glorious.

  13. wooaahh there, this is some intense looking deliciousness looking at me right now, great recipe! definitely want to try these out :)

  14. Texture of cheesecake and taste of a cookie? Yup, sounds good to me! :)

  15. Staci August 18, 2011 Reply

    This looks wonderful! Gonna try this soon!

  16. Ajax1978 August 18, 2011 Reply

    Did you use a Dutch-processed cocoa or Hershey’s cocoa?

  17. jennifer August 19, 2011 Reply

    Ajax, I used unsweetened cocoa, like Hershey’s. My favorite brand is Scharffen Berger.

  18. Ajax1978 August 23, 2011 Reply

    Thanks! I’m gonna make these tomorrow, but scaled up to a half-sheet pan. Ugh, 7 sticks butter. It’s suddenly turned into a Paula Deen recipe.

  19. Scrumptious August 24, 2011 Reply

    Love the two tone color look of this bar. I am not a particular cheesecake lover, so this is a great option! Fabulous photos as well!

  20. agnes August 28, 2011 Reply

    Those black bottom cookies sure look super delicious, definitely go well with a cup of tea or coffee at any hours of the day.

  21. Judy August 30, 2011 Reply

    I made these bars yesterday and they were absolutely delicious and very moist. I put in some oats, used less flour, turned out really good.

  22. letsdecorate September 1, 2011 Reply

    These look yummy. my son has a party coming up, I think I will trry these and maybe print something on my PhotoFrost printer to top it off just for fun. Thanks for sharing

  23. The Food Hunter September 1, 2011 Reply

    these bars seem to be begging me to make them too!

  24. Abby September 3, 2011 Reply

    Everyday Food is one of my favorite magazines. Their recipes always work for me. I’ll have to remember this one!

  25. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking September 4, 2011 Reply

    These look delightful and you pictures are great!

  26. Liz September 6, 2011 Reply

    Oh, boy. These look amazing! Tasty and beautiful~

  27. Saira September 16, 2011 Reply

    What a delight … Love them ..!!!!!

  28. Joi @ Get Cooking September 18, 2011 Reply

    Holy moly! These look so good I’m drooling in my coffee (quite an image I just painted for you, huh?). I’m definitely trying these right away!

    It has finally cooled off here in Kentucky, after a record-setting summer. Fall weather feels even better than usual.

    Everyday Food is a personal favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  29. Betsy September 27, 2011 Reply

    Holy!….These look and sound (Ummm….cheesecake as a descriptive word?! Color me sold!) dee-lish! And this is only the first recipe on your blog that caught my eye. I’ll be back to look at others for sure as I am avid lover of all things chocolate! I’ll be trying out all your chocolate dishes. Haha. Great blog!

  30. natalie October 8, 2011 Reply

    Okay..I have these in the oven but it’s been almost 40 minutes and they’re still coming out gooey…. I think I’m gonna take them out in a minute and just pray they set. I’m making them for a friend!! :(

    • Nickide October 17, 2013 Reply

      I too had trouble with the topping seeming to cook. I left them in 40 minutes also and although the toothpick was clean, the top definitely seemed undercooked. Would not make again.

      • Char Issler February 17, 2014 Reply

        I had the same problem and they are a bit greasy because of the butter

        • Megan June 12, 2015 Reply

          These didn’t work for me either. No matter what, I couldn’t get the top layer to completely set. What a waste of butter. Maybe time to check my oven temp…

  31. Michael Ann January 3, 2012 Reply

    I just made these and all I have to say is AWESOME!!!! They are incredibly delicious. My kids are going ape over them. Me too :-) So easy to make too. This is a keeper, thank you!!

  32. Dew March 2, 2012 Reply

    I must try this…
    & thanks for visiting my blog!! :)

  33. Whitney May 16, 2012 Reply

    Made these tonight and they were perfection! I added a dark chocolate ganache to make it over-the-top-chocolate. :) Of course, I would expect nothing less from you, Jennifer! I’ve made dozens of recipes from your blog, and I swear every single one was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Thank you for such amazing recipes and photos, I can’t imagine my dessert life without you!

  34. Sharon June 27, 2012 Reply

    I bookmarked this recipe over a year ago, and finally made them yesterday. Heavenly!! I browned the butter instead of just melting it…crazy good stuff. Thank you!! Just posted pics and a link back of gratitude.

  35. Victoria July 16, 2012 Reply

    Loved them! Delicious! I put hazelnuts in the plain mixture and instead of chocolate chips I roughly chopped up a milk chocolate bar so the chocolate oozed out when it was baked. I may try putting orange essence into the plain mix in future to get a chocolate orange taste.

  36. Lara October 10, 2012 Reply

    Does this recipe double well? I would like to make a larger batch at one time…

  37. jennifer October 10, 2012 Reply

    Lara, you should be able to double it and bake in a 9″x 13″ pan.

  38. Abs December 14, 2012 Reply

    I wanted to make these again (they were sooo good!) but does it make a difference if it is all in a stand mixer? I didn’t think so but wanted to check before I make them again :)

  39. jennifer December 14, 2012 Reply

    Abs, that should be okay as long as you’re careful not to overmix.

  40. Heide M. February 12, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for posting this recipe.

  41. Kat March 29, 2014 Reply

    These were really good! The beautiful pictures of the wonderful contrast of colors is what lured me into making these! It is very brownie/ blondie like with the crusting of the top and the fudgy texture. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  42. Danielle April 12, 2014 Reply

    Just put these in the oven as an Easter experiment. Sprinkled some chocolate chips on top for extra effect!

  43. Kimmie May 18, 2014 Reply

    These are incredible! I made these with browned butter and it made these amazingly wonderful! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  44. Kendall Stark September 15, 2014 Reply

    Delicious cookie bars! I made these yesterday for an early birthday get-together (today is my birthday!) and we all loved them. My spreading skills aren’t particularly great, so the two layers are a little uneven. Can’t wait to make another recipe from your blog!

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry September 15, 2014 Reply

      Happy birthday! So glad you celebrated with such a great sweet treat!

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