Snickerdoodle Chess Bars

from Back to the Cutting Board (adapted from my Grandmother’s friend Mary Margaret)

Dessert | Yield: 18 to 24 bars
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 45 min | Total time: 1 hour 15 min


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb. (about 2 1/2 tightly packed cups) brown sugar
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a 10×10″ or 13×9″ baking pan with foil and coat with baking spray. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Set aside.
  2. Add melted butter to a mixer bowl with paddle attachment. Add both sugars and beat well.
  3. Separate your egg whites into a smaller bowl and set aside. Beat yolks into the sugar mixture until well combined. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the batter until just combined. The batter will be thick.
  5. Tip: The batter is thick, so be gentle and patient as you fold in the eggs. I suggest following these instructions for the best results. Using your mixer (with a new or washed bowl) or a hand mixer, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
  6. Spread into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. (You may only need half or 3/4 of the mixture, depending on how cinnamon-y you like things. Save the rest for cinnamon toast!)
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick to test for doneness. The bars should be set in the middle but still slightly gooey inside. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store tightly wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. These taste best when eaten within 3 or 4 days.

Recipe Notes

Do not be alarmed, these bars will deflate as they cool! The better you were at folding your egg whites, the less deflated they’ll be but they are still meant to be thin like a brownie.

If you don’t like cinnamon, omit the cinnamon-sugar topping and instead sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cooled bars.

You can also stir in 1 cup of chopped nuts right after adding the flour mixture to the batter.

This recipe can be halved and baked in an 8×8″ square pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

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