A Chewy, Nutty Cookie Bar Named Noel


On with more holiday baking. This recipe from Kay Grover in Sedgewick is the fastest cookie bar in the west. Or downeast.

“Some years ago,” Kay wrote, “I asked you if you had a recipe for Chewy Noels. While looking for a different recipe, I finally found mine.” Ah, who can’t relate to that? I don’t know about you but I have a few piles, and file folders, and a box or two stuffed with recipes I think I will try someday; tried once and meant to put into a notebook; or want to think about some more before I toss them out. It’s the ones I tried and liked and can’t find again that drive me the most nuts. Of course, young people, and a select group of my peers, too, just take pictures of recipes with their ever-present smart phones to store electronically. Something to be said for that.

So Kay kindly sent the Chewy Noels recipe along, “because while the recipe sounds a bit weird, they really are delicious and very quick and easy to make when something is needed for tea or coffee.” Don’t, however, file these with Christmas only cookies, because they could be Chewy Hearts for Valentines, or Chewy Fourths for Independence Day, or Any-Purpose Chewies for all the rest of the time.

Also, this is one recipe that translates neatly and deliciously into a treat for the gluten avoiders in our midst. In fact, Toby preferred the gluten-free ones to the ones made with regular flour. Use all-purpose, so-called gluten–free replacement flour, easily located these days in the baking aisle, and you are in business.

For the chopped nuts, I’d recommend the slightly fattier ones like walnuts or pecans.

To decorate, dust with confectioners’ sugar, or as Kay suggested, “If you want to be fancy you can write Noel across each bar with any kind of frosting.”

Chewy Noels
  • Chewy Noels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a nine-by-nine baking pan over low heat. Swirl the pan to spread the butter to all corners.
  3. Beat the eggs slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, soda, and nuts, then add them to the eggs.
  5. Pour the mixture gently over the butter but do not stir.
  6. Bake for twenty minutes.
  7. Take out of oven, and let cool briefly, then cut into bars and cool on a rack.
  8. When they are cold, dust with confectioner’s sugar.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.