Don’t Have Time to Bake Cookies? Make Cookie Bars

I remember the moment vividly.  I had been a mommy for exactly three weeks.  Friends were coming from out of town to meet my itty-bitty new baby boy, and I was going to make cookies.

Had I been using half the brain I had left after giving birth, I would have realized that I didn’t need to make cookies at all. I had a newborn baby after all. I’m pretty sure my friends didn’t expect freshly baked cookies when they came to meet my new son.

But, I was using the irrational side of the remainder of my brain which told me I needed to be the “hostess with the mostess.”  So, a few weeks after Asa was born, I remember standing in my little kitchen, trying to figure out how in the world I was supposed to find time to make cookies for our friends who were coming over in a few hours. As a brand new mommy, I was just beginning to figure out how to manage the schedule of a nursing baby, cooking meals, doing laundry…and maybe just maybe, finding time to sleep.

Usually when I made cookies, I took the time to scoop cookie dough out onto cookie sheets, baking for 10-12 minutes per pan, then repeating the process several times until all the cookies were made and the dough was used up.  Depending on the size of the batch, this process could take quite a while.  What would I do if I needed to nurse the baby, and the timer for the cookies went off, and the cookies burned and….

Yeah, I should have just skipped the cookies.

Ah, but then I remembered.  Sometimes, when my mom didn’t have time to make round after round of cookies, she would just spread the cookie dough into a 9×13 inch pan, put it into the oven, and walk away.  That is exactly what I would do.  Instead of cookies, I would make cookie bars for my friends.  That would save me time and help me be more flexible so that I didn’t have to keep scooping cookie dough onto cookie sheets if the baby needed me.

I’ve had my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe memorized since I was a fourth grader, so even with my post-partum brain – I could mix them up quickly.  I threw the 9×13 pan of cookie bars into the oven, carried on with my day, and had freshly baked treats to serve my friends when they came over later.

Guess what they said when they arrived? “You did NOT need to bake us cookies!  You just had a baby!”

Yeah well.  Some things never change.  Apparently, I just can’t not feed people.  ;)

Moms of newborns, what have you learned from this little story?  Do not make cookies for your friends.  It is highly unnecessary.

Everyone else, if you are making cookies and find yourself in a bit of a time crunch, simply spread your cookie dough into a 9×13 inch baking pan, and bake them into bars in a 350° oven for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Here is my all time favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  It makes awesome cookie bars, which I proved in June of 1997, right after becoming a mommy.

cookie_bars

For the record, in case you were worried, this picture is from 2013.  My son may be 15 1/2, but the cookies on this plate are fresh.  Or at least they were a few days ago.  Now the plate is empty.  Go figure.

What hard lessons do you remember learning when you had a newborn?

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Comments

  1. Tara H says

    My fifth baby was born 8 weeks early. I had been in the hospital on complete bed rest for 10 weeks before he was born. We came home to his 4 brothers 11 days after he was born. They were 6, 4, 3, and almost 2. I had always been a die-hard breastfeeding advocate. (My first 4 had never had a bottle at all!) My hard lesson I learned was humility, I tried to nurse him, but I would pump, getting very little, then nurse him a little, then have to give him a bottle too because I wasn’t producing enough milk. By the end of that, it was time to start all over again. I couldn’t school the others, chase the littles, and continue that cycle. I nursed him for almost 3 months then had to face the fact that I couldn’t do it! Pride goeth before destruction… :)

    My cookie recipe is almost identical to yours except I usually use 2 cups of oat flour and 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat. Sometimes I cook mine in my 14 inch cake pan. The boys like that it makes it a cookie cake.

    Oh and I got your book a couple days ago. I absolutely love it! It is s wonderful to have it in print! I like having a kindle app full of books but truth is, I usually don’t get around to reading them. Love, love, love all of the info in your book! It’s totally worth the price!

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    Birdie Reply:

    Tara, my heart goes out to you. I had my dc all by c-sections, because my pelvis is shaped like a males. My sister has the same issue. My mother had 8 children normally. I tried and tried to breast feed my dc as well. My last was born early and had to stay in NICU 10 days (600 mile ambulance ride for the two of us). They latched on immediately and I felt like a miracle had happened. I pumped and pumped, and nursed her as well. I didn’t mind this at all. I was so grateful to God for the miracles He was performing. When we came home, I continued this routine. One day I sat in the bathroom pumping for 45 minutes and could only produce a little puddle in the bottle. It was devastating to me. I cried and phoned a special aunt (that walked me through each pregnancy). She told me that I needed to stop, focus on my love for baby and feed a bottle.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. You will touch the heart of so many girls that are going through what we have experienced. Blessings to you and you sweet family.
    Thank you Laura for allowing all of us to pour our hearts out, even on a cookie recipe section.

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    dep31 Reply:

    Tara and Birdie – I’m so glad you posted these, because this is where I’m at right this minute. We just got home with our fourth child, spent a week in the NICU, and I’m coming to grips with the fact that I am going to have to supplement with formula, probably for the long haul. I didn’t with the first three, but now I’m starting to suspect that I should’ve; this baby is so much happier than my first three.

    I’m the type that really doesn’t want to use formula at all… but I’m rapidly becoming grateful that the stuff exists.

    Thank you for helping me feel better about it!

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    Birdie Reply:

    Dearest dep31. I hated the idea of formula. I thought I would be a failure if I used it. I had to or my children would of starved. How compassionate would that of been, on my part? My oldest is 14 yrs. and 6.2′. My others were at the top percentile of growth at their baby checks. Lay your burden upon Jesus. He will take away your stress. Another “biggy” is that your hormones are going to be swinging all over. I hope that you have an physical angel to take care of you as well. My youngest is doing all work (learning) independent, and I want another baby!!! It goes by so fast. I can’t complain against God, but he doesn’t give us enough time! :-)

    Tara H Reply:

    I love how God’s timing works! Praying for you, ladies!
    When I wrote that long comment, I almost felt silly posting it. Now I’m so glad I did!

    lyss Reply:

    600 mile ambulance ride?!! Oh, my! And I thought my 1 mile ambulance
    ride was agony! I can’t imagine! That’s an awful long way. I take it
    you live in the middle of nowhere? Or was he already born and needed
    a special hospital? And I can’t imagine that bill…it was $900 for
    our short ride.

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    Birdie Reply:

    dc was born a month early, at a basic care facility. It was agony to only touch my child’s hand before they were wisked away. I was so comforted because the NICU care nurse went to school with my husband. Quite incredible!

  2. Cynthia Nathan says

    One thing I learned about cookie bars is that they can be a lot more fun and make terrific gifts, too, if you bake them in a shaped or character cake pan. It takes no more effort but people go nuts over them!

    As far as newborns go, do NOT actually try to get anything accomplished while they are asleep. You need to sleep while you have got the chance. Almost everything else can wait and if it can’t, ask for help. Don’t get sucked into the superwoman trap. Taking care of yourself and the baby are your priority. If anyone else has a problem with that, hand them the baby and leave the room without a word.

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  3. Beth Cacace says

    lol, I just baked my grandmas oatmeal rasin cookies in bar style today, first time I ever made these cookies bar style. I do chocolate chip cookies bar style almost everytime, my 7 kiddos go crazy when they are regular cookies! thanks for all your great ideas, and we live in the central valley CA, same as your husband grew up I think.

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  4. Kari C says

    Did you read my mind or visit my kitchen Friday? This is exactly what I did, well, minus the newborn part!

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  5. anonymous says

    Oh great! Now you have me totally CRAVING choc. chip cookies!!! And just when I had resolved that I was going to cut back on sweets after reading your “wheat belly” post! The biggest challenge in our house is that I have four growing kids who seem to be bottomless pits and I have to keep the snacks and baked goods coming for them, but I really don’t need to eat them … they just smell so good coming fresh out of the oven! Too tempting! Well, anyway, thanks for reminding us of this very easy shortcut to cookie making. We do this for shortbread-type cookies, also. Fast and easy!

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  6. Laura Collinsworth says

    Cookie bars! WOW! What a brilliant idea! I don’t like making cookies for the exact reason that it takes so long to get it all done. Cookie bars, here I come!!! Thank you!!!!

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  7. Kelli says

    I love Swagbucks – and chocolate chip cookies! I’ve been using Swagbucks for a couple of years and it’s great. I think it was your link I signed up through at the time, too.

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  8. says

    My second baby is due in 8 weeks! I can hardly believe it! I too was guilty of wanting to make treats for people who visited us right after the birth of my son two winters ago. Being as Type A as I am however, I planned ahead and had rolls of cookie dough in the freezer ready to slice and bake for just such occasions!
    I’ve already frozen two batches of chocolate chip cookie dough and have a full page list of other dishes for snacks, lunches, breakfasts and dinners that I want to fill my freezer with before my baby arrives. Having a full freezer was a life saver last time and will be even more important this time since I have to make sure that my son has healthy foods to eat when I’ve got my hands full with the new baby.

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  9. Tami says

    I have a 10-day-old newborn at home right now! One thing I am learning- with 3 others, ages 4, 2, and 1- is…. DON’T LIFT THE TODDLER IF YOU CAN AVOID IT!! lol. It’s SO easy to over-do it during these first few days and weeks, and as much as I can help it, it seems my hips appreciate me NOT lifting the 1-year-old… even if that means diaper changes are in the floor for a while!

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  10. Birdie says

    Thank you Laura for training us to go from round to rectangle.
    :-) We are blessed today by the greatest event in history. Jesus, dying for us. Laura, you blessed many a newly married bride with this advice.

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  11. says

    I agree – cookie bars are awesome and you can layer multiple cookie types on top of one another. Like Chocolate Chip and Double CHocolate Chip. Then add icing or glaze. Yep. I went there.

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  12. abi cochran says

    Hey, I make cookie bars a lot!! Do I leave a comment here for a chance to win the $50 amazon card? I ‘ve been using swagbucks for about 2 years now, love em’!

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  13. Sara says

    I’m 33 weeks pregnant with my 5th baby, and I’ve mostly given up doing any more than I have to in the kitchen, much to my children’s sadness. I just haven’t felt up to standing a lot, but I made these today, and they were quick, easy, and delicious, so thank you so much for sharing the recipe and idea!

    Hugs,
    sara

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  14. Lyss says

    Your cookie story reminded me of when I had my firstborn. Somewhere along the way we were told that we should bring cookies for our midwife on delivery day.(I think the birth class instructor told us that?!)

    Anyways, I dutifully had made cookie dough about a week before my due date. Yeah…what woman in her right mind bakes cookies while in labor? Um, not me. I don’t know what I was thinking! lol I should have just baked them already! I went into labor at 11 pm (and we just had to have cookies, right?!), so there was my hubby baking cookies at 2 am…in between loads of laundry…at the laundrymat at our apartments. I have no idea why we didn’t wash any of our new baby clothes until I went into labor. I guess I wasn’t expecting to have the baby five days “early”. Yes, my hubby was the hero of the night. But hey, I had to remind him that it was nothing compared to what I went through! : )

    Lessons learned: 1) Have some cookies (baked!) in the freezer, or just skip the cookies!
    2) Wash your newborn clothes and have them ready well ahead of time. First babies are not always “late”!

    I can’t even remember who ate the cookies…we probably came back home with them all and my hubby ate them. lol

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  15. says

    I remember when Earth Angel (my first) was brand new I had to have everything ‘just right’ for nursing. I needed to be in my special nursing rocker, with a Boppy, water, nipple shield, diaper cloth and lanolin perfectly laid out within arms reach. The room needed to be quiet and not too bright. By the time Baby Love (my youngest) got here I quickly masters nursing while running thru the house chasing my now toddler! Oh how time and experience changes things!

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  16. Karen says

    Oh yes, cookie bars have come to the rescue many times as our home has filled up with little ones! Another trick I learned from my mom. On the weekend, I often make cookie dough and roll into logs in wax or parchment paper. Then the logs go in zip top bags in the freezer. When cookies are “needed” =), I just unwrap and slice. It sure helps me with portion control. I can slice just enough for each child to have 2 and not be tempted to keep nibbling away!

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  17. Megan says

    I’m an auntie, but my sister quickly learned the necessity of a ponytail. It’s just a simple thing, but little ones LOVE grabbing hair (this one has plenty of his own to mess with, though).

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  18. missy says

    made these for easter, they were great!!! none left over and now my 3yr old wants to make the every night,(we added pecans and coconut). Thanks for such great receipes my kids love them!
    I received my book the other day its wonderful.

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