Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2019

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

This is a wonderful fall dessert that would make a great addition to any holiday table. Alternatively, it would make a great addition to any meal, any day of the week. Shortbread, cheesecake, apples, streusel, caramel sauce... there's a reason I adapted this recipe to a 9-inch pan from its original 9x13... I knew I would be likely to eat the WHOLE.THING.

We took these to a friend's house and they were a huge hit. And there's no question why. Everyone will love to eat them, but I also loved that I could make all the layers in my food processor, dirtying only one bowl! (Except the apples. Don't put the apples in the food processor!)

If you don't have a food processor, don't worry. You can just whip up the layers in a regular bowl using a pastry blender or your fingers. The original post that gives directions without a food processor is also linked below, if you're interested.

However, don't worry about the method of preparation here. Just go out, buy the ingredients, and get these made. And eaten.

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Full Plate, Favorite Things, Wow Me, Wonderful Wednesday, Wine'd Down.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes

3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oats
4 ounces butter, cold, cut into cubes

1/2 cup your favorite caramel topping

For the crust, in the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse to mix well. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Press the crust evenly into a greased 9" pan. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges.

For the topping, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and oats in the food processor and pulse just to mix. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Set aside.

For the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until well combined. Pour over the warm crust.

For the apples, in a small bowl, stir together the chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature or refrigerate overnight for best results. Drizzle with the caramel topping.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, August 19, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb is such a wonderful summer combination. I loved this treatment of the tangy and sweet fruit, layered between cream cheese and streusel.

It was a big hit at a summer picnic, with even kids requesting seconds!

Because of the several layers, this does take a little time to come together, and it's really best if you can let it sit overnight in the fridge before serving. It will be worth the wait!

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crust and filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1 cup fresh strawberries (about 10-11 strawberries), hulled and diced
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced

For the crust, combine butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Press the dough evenly into a greased 8 or 9" baking pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar and beat together until smooth. Add the egg and 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and mix until combined. Pour over the partially-baked crust and spread evenly. In a medium bowl, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Sprinkle evenly over cream cheese filling.

For the topping, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until you have a pea-sized crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle topping over the fruit mixture. Bake again for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. For best results, refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting into squares and serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Smorgaseats

Monday, December 3, 2018

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

This is a fun, and slightly different, take on a holiday cookie. If you love gingerbread, you will love these bars. All the goodness of a gingerbread cookie covered in cream cheese frosting and sprinkled to look appropriately festive...

I really prefer bars to cookies - they're just easier! But besides eating them, I like serving them too - and they add a nice variety to a cookie tray or gifting box at this time of year.

I hope you'll try these if you need a new Christmas sweet!

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses. Add the egg and stir until completely incorporated. Add baking soda, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt and mix until well combined. Spread dough evenly into a greased 9x13 pan, pressing all the way to the edges.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (Do not over cook). Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together then add vanilla. While mixing, gradually add in powdered sugar. Mix until creamy & well-combined.

Once the bars have cooled, frost the tops. Garnish with holiday sprinkles or a pinch of cinnamon. Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I couldn't let November go by without posting SOMETHING made from pumpkin. And this is a very good something. I adapted a regular, old pumpkin bar recipe with cream cheese frosting (there is nothing wrong with those "regular" bars by the way!) and added browned butter. Browned butter amps up the "interesting" factor by about 100.

This makes a big pan - 11x7 - so there's plenty to share or to take to an event. They keep beautifully in the fridge for up to a week, so you can make them ahead as well.

These come together very quickly, so this is a great dessert option if you're a little short on time. And it's a perfect pumpkin alternative for those that don't care for pumpkin pie. (Something I will never understand, but I have my own dislikes, too, so I'll try to be forgiving. ha!)

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree *not pie filling*
2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter
1 - 8oz. block cream cheese (regular or low fat)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and gradually add to pumpkin mixture. Lightly coat an 11x17 with cooking spray. Transfer batter to the pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, melt the butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Without stirring, and watching carefully, let the butter heat up until it is a golden brown color. (You can pick up the pan and swirl it once in a while, but be careful not to let it burn.) Let the butter cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

When the butter has slightly cooled, place the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and pour the butter over. Mix with an electric mixer on low until the butter is incorporated, and then until smooth. Add the vanilla, then add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternatively with the milk, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Frost the bars when they have cooled. Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Well, we've had a good run of entrees here for the last few weeks, so it's time to talk desserts. And this one is one of the best. I've been reading Mel's blog for a long time, and her recipes never disappoint.

These bars are a good example. A peanut butter cookie base topped with fudge and then more cookie? Ah-mazing. Chocolate isn't my favorite dessert (shocking I know, but true) but these bars are seriously right up there in my all time favorites. I even like them better straight out of the freezer... well, maybe not straight out, but let them thaw for 5-10 minutes, and goodness me. I had to hide these in the back of the freezer so they wouldn't get devoured.

And you probably will want to freeze them - this recipe makes an 11x17 pan, so you'll have enough for a party and then some. You can halve the recipe if you like (bake in a 9x13 if you do); or you can make it in two 9x13s and give one away!

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt


1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the peanut butter cookie dough, in a large bowl cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until no dry streaks remain.

Reserve about 2 1/2 cups of the dough and set aside. Press the rest of the cookie dough in the bottom and into the corners of a greased 11x17 pan.

For the fudge, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt, chocolate chips and vanilla. Cook for 1-minute increments on 50% power, stirring in between, until the mixture is nearly melted; then stir until creamy.

Pour the fudge filling over the cookie dough layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or knife.

Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top in small pieces.

Bake the bars for 15 minutes – but don’t overbake! The cookie dough should be soft; resist the temptation to let them cook until browned. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving. The bars can be cut and stored in the refrigerator, well-covered, for several days or frozen for several months.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee 7-Layer Bars

You may be thinking about roasted vegetables, winter salads, waking up early to exercise and what not now that it's the New Year. But I'm still thinking about desserts. Specifically, I needed to find a way to use a partial can of sweetened condensed milk that was languishing in the fridge, leftover from some holiday baking.

And it came to me in a lightbulb moment - why not make 7-layer bars using up stuff I have in the cupboard? It was a genius idea if I do say so myself, so I went in search of what I had on-hand that would also taste good together. I think I came up with a winning combination! The 7-layer bar starts with a graham cracker crust and is eventually topped with coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Those are 3 layers. So now you have 4 middle layers that could use some creativity. I chose chocolate chips, caramel bits, toffee bits and peanuts. Peanuts may seem like an odd addition, but personally, I'm not a huge fan of pecans, which is usually what is in 7-layer bars. And I really love how the saltiness of the peanuts offsets the incredible sweetness of all the other ingredients.

So there's my New Year's take on 7-layer bars! I hope it inspires you to come up with a new "treatment" for a great recipe sometime this year!

Find more great ideas at Weekend Potluck, Awesome Friday, Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday.

Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee 7-Layer Bars

4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup caramel bits
1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until evenly coated. Press onto the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the crust in an even layer. Then top with caramel bits, peanuts, toffee bits and coconut. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes or until coconut is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Place in refrigerator for about 2 hours to help the bars set. Makes 12 bars.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Caramel Pear Streusel Bars

I really like pears. I think they play second fiddle to apples far too often. I love eating them, but I also like baking with them. They bake up deliciously and other textures and flavors really complement them well.

In these bars, we have a shortbread crust, topped with pears, caramel sauce and then a crunchy streusel. It's the perfect fall dessert!

Find more fall ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2.

Caramel Pear Streusel Bars


6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour

Pear Filling:

4 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping


3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp. butter, cold and cubed

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Lightly coat the foil with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

For the crust: Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes.

For the filling: Combine the sliced pears, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the slices are evenly coated.

For the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Evenly layer the pears on top of the warm crust and press them down to fit. Pour the caramel sauce evenly over the pears. Sprinkle with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Makes 16 bars.

Recipe Source: Inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

White Chocolate Brownies

After a tumultuous August, I am glad to be back in the kitchen again, trying new recipes. These brownies seemed like the perfect thing to make after several weeks of non-stop work after a crisis. A white chocolate brownie base, drizzled with chocolate - what's not to love?

I especially appreciate recipes that can be made in one bowl; no mixer required. I really liked these after being refrigerated too, maybe just because it was summer, but I liked the texture after they were chilled. Basically, I like these on a train, in the rain, in a car both near and far. I like my white chocolate brownies, Sam I Am.

Find more inspiration at Create Link Inspire, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us.

White Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup butter
6 oz white chocolate (not candy melts or white chocolate chips)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminium foil leaving an overhang on each side. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl, melt together the butter and white chocolate in short 20 second bursts. Stir the mixture after each 20 second burst.

After both the butter and white chocolate are melted, allow to cool slightly. Then whisk in sugar, vanilla, eggs and salt. Whisk together the mixture until smooth and evenly combined, then carefully fold in the flour.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared pan and bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes, or until the top is set and the sides are starting to pull away from the pan.

Allow the brownies to cool fully in the pan. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the aluminium foil edges. Carefully peel back the sides of the foil, then cut into 12 squares.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in short 20 second bursts, stirring between each burst. Drizzle the chocolate over each square.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Just So Tasty

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rhubarb Dream Bars

I'm not lucky enough to have my own rhubarb plants (I should do something about that) but I am lucky that friends and family share their bounty. I usually dice up the rhubarb and keep it in the freezer in 2 cup batches, which is perfect for when I come across a recipe like this! I made this for dessert for Mother's Day and it was a huge hit. Of course, most desserts that start with a shortbread crust are a huge hit. And this one is doubly good because of the rhubarb sitting on top of the aforementioned crust.

This dessert comes together quickly, which is another bonus. Served with vanilla ice cream, it's sure to be a hit at your house on any day!

Find more great stuff at Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Rhubarb Dream Bars

1 cup flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes

2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups diced rhubarb

To make the crust: Pulse the flour, powdered sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl, then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.)

Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, ensuring the paper comes up on the sides so you can lift the bars out later.

Press the crust mixture into the paper-lined pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. The crust will still remain very pale in color.

While crust is baking mix together eggs, sugar, flour and salt and whisk well. Stir in rhubarb. Pour onto the hot crust and continue to bake for 40-45minutes. Let the bars cool completely. Lift them out of the pan with the parchment paper edges and then cut into squares. Refrigerate the bars if you're not serving them right away, and refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Noshing with the Nolands

Monday, May 2, 2016

Strawberry Magic Bars

I think strawberries just scream spring. So when I needed a dessert for a recent party at work, I thought this would be perfect. And it was. There are several layers and steps, but they create a delicious dessert - and maybe that's why they are called Magic!

There's a graham cracker crust, with a sugar cookie layer, then TWO strawberry layers, white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk... Oh my. Sweetness.

These bars need to chill overnight in the fridge so plan accordingly. But do plan to make them. They will make your Spring tasty!

Get more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Full Plate, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Strawberry Magic Bars

9 graham cracker sheets (one sleeve), crushed
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup quartered fresh strawberries, pureed
4 oz cream cheese, softened (low fat is ok)
3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, mix together the graham crackers, 4 Tbsp. of butter (melted) and the 2 Tbsp. of sugar. (Alternatively you can crush the graham crackers in a food processor and then add the melted butter and sugar and pulse until combined.) Press into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.

In a different bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking powder, set aside.

Beat together 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until creamy, about two minutes. Add in the egg and then the vanilla until just combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.

Very carefully layer the cookie dough mixture on top of the graham cracker crust by picking up small amounts of dough, flattening it in your hands, and setting it on the crust. You may not be able to entirely cover the graham cracker crust, but it will spread slightly when baking.

Beat together the cream cheese and the pureed strawberries. Spread evenly over the cookie dough.

Evenly spread the sliced strawberries over the cream cheese layer. Top with the white chocolate chips and then cover with the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight before slicing. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Wine and Glue

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pistachio Bars

These bars. They are filled with so many interesting flavors and textures, I wondered after trying one if the name "pistachio bars" was a bit of a misnomer. In addition to pistachios, they are studded with both cranberries and cherries AND coconut.

And all of that sits suspended in a gooey syrup atop a lovely shortbread crust. But I understand that you can't be naming things "pistachio, cranberry, cherry and coconut syrupy goodness shortbread bars." So pistachio bars will have to do.

Oh, and the white chocolate! They are drizzled with white chocolate. Now the title would be even longer...

Anyway, these bars received rave reviews at home and at a party. They are interesting, complex, different, and delicious. Make them for yourself; I'm sure you'll agree.

Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Show and Share, Tasty Tuesday, Try a new Recipe, Create Link Inspire, Fabulous.

Pistachio Bars

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
1 egg
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, process 1 cup flour and 2 tablespoons sugar until combined. Add butter and pulse until only pea-sized pieces remain. Press mixture into prepared pan and bake at 375 until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. (If you don't have a food processor, whisk together the flour and sugar, then cut in the butter using two forks, a pastry blender or your fingers until only pea sized pieces remain.)

Whisk egg, syrup, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, remaining flour, and remaining sugar in large bowl. Fold in pistachios, cranberries, cherries, and coconut, then spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Bake until topping is golden and begins to pull away from sides of pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Using foil overhang, lift cookies out of pan. Cut into 2½-inch squares and cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Microwave white chocolate in small bowl, stirring occasionally, until melted, 30 to 60 seconds; drizzle over the bars. Place on wire rack until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Store in air tight containers for up to a week. Makes 18 bars.

Recipe Source: The Church Cook

Monday, October 12, 2015

Banana Split Brownies

If you need a bit more summer in your life (I love fall, but I must confess I so enjoyed the 80 degree temperatures here yesterday!), try these brownies. All the goodness of a banana split baked into a bar form. A dense, rich, fudgy brownie is filled with chopped up cherries and then topped with a creamed cheese topping laced with banana and strawberry.

These are delicious. I did find the brownies a bit TOO dense and fudgy for my taste. Next time I make these, I will use the brownie base from Mississippi Mud Bars, which is perfect. Either way, I think you will love these bars - so fun and different, and a wonderful accompaniment to ice cream!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Create Link Inspire.

Banana Split Brownies

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cubed
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped (one small jar)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (low fat is ok)
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts

In a medium bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Heat in the microwave at 50% power in 1 minute increments, stirring between heatings, until mostly melted. Stir until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Gradually stir in flour. Fold in cherries. Spread into a greased 9x13 baking pan.

For topping, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mashed banana and preserves. Add egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Spread over brownie batter; sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake at 350 40-45 minutes or until topping is set and a toothpick inserted in brownie portion comes out mostly clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 2 dozen.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars from Elena Cooking

I don't know if I've confessed it here before, but my favorite desserts aren't chocolate. I like chocolate, but I LOVE fruit desserts, caramel and butterscotch. So I knew I would love these bars. And no recipe from Mel ever disappoints. These are full of oat-y goodness and because they travel well, make a great treat for a picnic. They're also great just for snacking - and not too guilt-inducing!

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Tasty Tuesday, What's Cooking, Hearth and Soul, Friday Finds.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
12 Tbsp. butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1/8 tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

Place the 3/4 cup butterscotch chips in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and let the butter cook until golden brown in color, about 10 minutes, taking care not to burn. Pour the hot butter over the butterscotch chips and whisk together until melted and smooth. Whisk in the brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, just until incorporated.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil; spray the foil with nonstick spray. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, spreading the batter evenly to the edges. Bake the bars at 350 until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 16-18 minutes.

For the glaze, place the 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, brown sugar, water and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes on 50% power. Whisk to combine well.

Drizzle the glaze over the warm bars. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before removing them using the foil. Cut into small squares.

Recipe source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mississippi Mud Bars

Summer may be (almost) over, but that doesn't mean that fun treats aren't necessary. These rich, indulgent bars will make any work day better - I can attest they are especially good around 2:30 with a cup of coffee...

These homemade brownies are incredibly delicious - and then they're topped with marshmallows swimming in a chocolate ganache...get that coffee pot brewing and make these babies part of your work day survival strategy.

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, What's Cooking?.

Mississippi Mud Bars

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour

Chocolate-Marshmallow Topping:
1 -12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups mini marshmallows

In a large glass bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Heat in microwave for 1 minute; stir, then heat at 30 second intervals, stirring between each one until melted and smooth. Beat in eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in flour, blending well.

Spread evenly into greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, and do not overbake. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

For the topping, combine chocolate chips and cream in a large glass bowl. Heat in microwave 1-2 minutes stirring twice until melted and smooth. Fold in marshmallows. Spread topping evenly over the top of cooled brownies. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate Chip Bars

PB, Caramel and Choc Chip Bars from Elena Cooking

Could you even dare to think of a better combination for blondies than this? Peanut butter AND caramel??? AND Chocolate chips??? Just thinking about these entices me to make them again - and I should, because I didn't get to eat enough of the first batch. I took them to a party and they disappeared quickly. And it's no wonder. They are amazing. But don't take my word for it - make them yourself! Today!

PB, Caramel and Choc Chip Bars from Elena Cooking

Find more great recipes at What's Cooking, Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash.

Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate Chip Bars

12 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Caramel:
10 ounces caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Press a little more than half of the batter in the bottom of the pan lined and bake for 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the caramels and milk in a medium glass bowl and microwave for 1-minute increments at 50% power, stirring in between, until the caramel is melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract.

Drizzle the caramel mixture over the top of the baked cookie dough and spread evenly. Drop the remaining cookie dough in teaspoonsfuls over the top of the caramel.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the bars are puffed and the edges are slightly golden. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into squares.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, April 27, 2015

Raspberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars

I made these delicious and beautiful pink bars for a baby shower a few weeks ago and they were a huge hit! Basically a fruity cheesecake with a "dutch" topping, there is plenty of variety of flavor and texture to please. You could easily substitute strawberries or blueberries for the raspberries - or even blackberries! - and I used berries that I had in my freezer to make it even simpler.

These little beauties are rich, so you can cut them into small pieces and feed a crowd. Or just feed yourself - they freeze nicely too.

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Raspberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter

Cheesecake Filling:
1 1/2 cup raspberries, divided
1 small banana
12 oz. cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. flour

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 oats
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Melt butter in a large bowl in the microwave, then add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and toss to combine. Press mixture onto bottom of greased 9" pan. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake portion.

Place 1 cup raspberries and banana in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed; set aside. Place cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until fully combined and smooth. Add in pureed mixture and mix to combine. Add in flour and mix to combine. Gently stir in the whole raspberries.

Pour mixture over crust and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender, two forks or your fingers to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove the pan from oven after 30-35 minutes and sprinkle streusel on top. Return pan to oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes. Remove and cool bars before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Caramel-filled Rice Krispie Bars

Oh these bars. As if the goodness of marshmallowy rice krispie bars wasn't good enough, now we can fill them with caramel and more marshmallows. These are SWEET! Literally. You'll need to cut them into small pieces. But they will be a big hit wherever you take them. Or they will cause you to buy pants in a size larger... ahem.

Caramel-filled Rice Krispie Bars

14 oz caramel pieces, unwrapped
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
12 Tbsp. butter, divided
10 cups Rice Krispie cereal
10 cups mini marshmallows

In a large microwave safe bowl combine caramel pieces, sweetened condensed milk and 4 Tbsp. butter. Microwave on high in 1 minutes increments (stirring after each) until caramels are melted, approx 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth, set aside.

In a Dutch oven, melt another 4 Tbsp. butter. Add 4 cups marshmallows and cook and stir over medium-low heat until marshmallows are melted. Pour 5 cups cereal into marshmallow mixture, stir until coated. Press into the bottom of greased 9x13 inch pan.

Pour caramel over the cereal layer and then sprinkle 2 cups mini marshmallows on top of that. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until caramel has set. When caramel has set, repeat the krispie layer with remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, 4 cups marshmallows and 5 cups cereal. Press final krispie layer on top of caramel. (I like to spray my hands with cooking spray and then use them to evenly pat the final cereal layer in the pan.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Bring to room temperature then cut into small squares.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

White Chocolate Almond Bars

These delicious little bars are exactly what you need to get you through the winter doldrums. White chocolate and almonds are such a wonderful combination and when you put them together with the best things in life (butter, flour, sugar!) you will have a new favorite dessert/snack/breakfast.

I cut these into small pieces, which just gives you a reason to have more than one.

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White Chocolate Almond Bars

2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup chopped slivered almonds

Mix flour, baking powder and salt until blended; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high at 1 minute intervals, stirring between heatings, or until butter is melted; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and extract. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread batter onto bottom of pan.

Bake 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Kraft

Monday, August 25, 2014

Almond Joy Rice Krispie Bars

I love rice krispie bars, and I especially love finding ways to "fancy" them up. This recipe mimics a favorite candy bar, mixing in coconut, almonds and chocolate. These make a wonderful after school snack!

Some of the great flavor in these bars comes from toasting the almonds and the coconut - it is surprising how much the flavors of those ingredients intensifies after being toasted! It's so simple, but makes a huge difference, so be sure not to skip it!

I toast almonds and coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. (In two batches, one for almonds and one for coconut - but no need to wash the pan in between!) Just be sure to stir often so they don't burn.

Now, melt the butter in a Dutch oven (this is my method - only one pan/dish to wash!) over medium low heat, then add the marshmallows.

Stir gently until the marshmallows are melted, then remove from the heat. Add the almond extract and rice krispies, coconut

and almonds.

Press into a greased 9x13 pan, and press down with your fingers. (It helps to grease your hands, too!) Sprinkle with the chocolate chips,

lightly pressing them into the cereal mixture.

Let cool, then cut into squares!

One year ago: Peanut Ice Cream with Chocolate Flakes
Two years ago: Lemon Raspberry Tart with Poppyseed Crust
Three years ago: Chicken BLT Pasta Salad
Four years ago: Bok Choy Chicken Salad
Five years ago: Corn Dip

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Share Your Stuff, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Almond Joy Rice Krispie Bars

4 Tbsp. butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3/4 teaspoon of Almond extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and mix in the almond extract.

Add the rice krispies, toasted almonds and toasted coconut. Stir until well coated.

Press mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, pressing them into the rice krispies. Let cool. Cut into squares.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

These are some of the best bars ever. I am not kidding. I first made these before I even had a blog (5 1/2 years ago, at least!) and I hadn't made them since. Not because I didn't like them, but rather because I liked them too much. I still have to wear pants... and this recipe makes a BIG pan of bars. Luckily, they're great for a potluck or family reunion or what have you, and they freeze really well. That doesn't always help me with temptation though, since I love to eat cookies and bars right out of the freezer! These can be made really quickly so they are a great last minute dessert, too. Keep your pantry stocked with butterscotch chips and cashews, and you'll be set! (if not a little fatter...)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; add to creamed mixture

just until combined. Press into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, (I spray the measuring cup with non stick spray first for easy release of the sugary goodness!)

butter and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth.

butterscotch chips,

water and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth.
Spread over crust.

Sprinkle with cashews.

Press them down lightly. Isn't this gorgeous?

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Devour.

One year ago: Roasted Pistachio Ice Cream
Two years ago: Poppyseed Cake
Three years ago: Basmati Rice and Chicken Salad
Four years ago: Canteloupe Sorbet
Five years ago: Oat Waffles

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Butterscotch Cashew Bars

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 1/2 cups lour
1 3/4 tsp. salt

1 package (12 ounces) butterscotch chips
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. water
2 1/2 cups salted cashew halves

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; add to creamed mixture just until combined. Press into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, butter and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth.

Spread over crust. Sprinkle with cashews; press down lightly. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 3-1/2 dozen bars.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home
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