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Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

by Haley
Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar | Flour Covered Apron

This warm chocolate chip cookie bar recipe yields a big tray of gooey, half-baked cookies. Top them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for an easy and crowd-pleasing dessert.

My fellow Northwestern University alumni (go Wildcats!) will definitely recognize today’s outrageously indulgent dessert. Back in college, we knew it as “hot cookie bar” and our dining plans usually revolved around when and where it was scheduled to be served.

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar | Flour Covered Apron

A Northwestern Tradition: Hot Cookie Bar

Every weekend, the dining halls at Northwestern churn out thousands of these half-baked cookies, which have to be scooped out of the tray with a spoon. We would fill our plates with warm, gooey cookies, then top them with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, or whatever else we could get our hands on.

Sometimes, we’d finish our plate, then head back up for seconds because we had just witnessed the dining staff put out a brand-new tray full of fresh, steaming hot cookies. We couldn’t help ourselves… this stuff is UNREAL.

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar | A tray of warm, half-baked chocolate chip cookies makes for an easy and crowd-pleasing dessert!

After I graduated, I realized that sadly, weekly hot cookie bar is not a thing in the real world. But I soon discovered that replicating hot cookie bar at home is actually really easy. Does this count as me putting my college degree to good use??

I used my classic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, but if you have another favorite flavor (like these dark chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies, for instance), feel free to use that instead! All you have to do is place the balls of cookie dough closely together on a rimmed baking sheet (forget all that “at least two inches apart” nonsense), and (half) bake them until the cookies have all melted back together into warm, gooey, chocolatey perfection.

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar topped with vanilla ice cream

Baking Time

The key with this recipe is removing the tray from the oven at the right time. If you’ve ever watched the Great British Bake Off, then you’ve seen the contestants sitting in front of their ovens, anxiously watching as their cakes, breads, and cookies bake.

That’s pretty much what it’s like when I make warm chocolate chip cookie bar. After about 9 minutes pass, I sit in front of the oven and wait for that magical moment when the cookies are half-baked and gooey in the center, but not totally soupy. Here are some of the signs that it’s ready:

  1. The cookies have melted back together – you’ll still be able to see the outline of each cookie, but as the cookies spread in the oven, they will all smush up against each other
  2. The cookie dough on the edges of the pan has turned golden brown
  3. The top of the cookies still look under baked, but have a little bit of structure – I press very gently on the tops to make sure they’ve set just slightly

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

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There are no rules or limits when it comes to toppings for your warm cookie bar, but I like to keep it simple with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. I won’t judge if you head back for seconds. 😉

P.S. If you enjoyed this recipe, you’ll love this warm Nutella Stuffed Skillet Cookie too! It’s another favorite dessert from my college days.

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

This warm chocolate chip cookie bar recipe yields a big tray of gooey, half-baked cookies. Top them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for an easy and crowd-pleasing dessert.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate chip, cookie bar, cookie dough, cookies, hot, warm
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 21 "bars"


Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus more for sprinkling on top)


  • vanilla ice cream
  • chocolate sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time.

  3. Gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing just to combine. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.*

  4. Roll the cookie dough into large balls, about 3 tablespoons each and arrange them all together on a 10.5" x 15.5" rimmed baking sheet (or jelly roll pan).**

  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes, until the cookies have melted together, are golden brown at the edges and slightly set on top, but soft and gooey in the middle. I recommend watching the cookies closely once 9 minutes go by. Keep in mind that the cookies will continue to bake slightly on the pan after being removed from the oven.

  6. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips and serve immediately, topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Recipe Notes

*At this point, you can cover and chill the cookie dough for up to 3 days if you are looking to prepare the recipe in advance. Once baked, the cookies should be served immediately.

**I used a standard size jelly roll pan for this recipe: 10.5"x15.5". You could use a bigger or smaller pan, but in that case, you may end up needing more or less cookie dough to fill the pan.

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