I’ve made a lot of protein bars in my day and every now and then I think, “hmm, these may be the best ones yet…” but that thought has never been 100% accurate until now. In my daughter’s words “these are the GOODEST. ONES. EVER!!!!”. And she should know, she’s tried a LOT. 🙂
The original version is peanut butter (I call them my homemade butterfingers because that’s what they taste like to me!) but I just tried the strawberry version again and I’m so excited with how amazing they turned out, I’m sharing that recipe first! Be on the look out for the peanut butter ones coming soon!
One more easy and delicious recipe for Superbowl! I always tend to lean toward chocolate recipes for the big game but this time decided to go in the complete opposite direction and go with lots and lots of LEMON! I absolutely love citrus desserts like Key Lime Pie, Lemon Cheesecake, Lemon Bars and Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake, just to name a few. And these Lemon Creme Crumb Bars can now be added to my list of favorite citrus sweets!
I was craving something similar to the lemon sandwich cookie from the Girl Scouts but these bars blow those sandwich cookies out of the water and beyond satisfied my craving! The crunchy oat and coconut crust and topping is so buttery and slightly salty with just the right amount of sweetness. Then there’s the gooey, creamy lemon filling. Oh. My. Word. It’s similar to the texture of key lime pie filling but not quite as firm. And just the right amount of real, tart lemon juice.
This is the kind of dessert that isn’t too rich and I could eat 2 or 3 (or 6!) pieces of. I promise these will be a hit for Superbowl or any party you bring them to!
Lemon Creme Crumb Bars with Coconut and White Chocolate
2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
2½ c. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
1¼ t. Salt
1 t. Baking Soda
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1½ c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted
1 c. White Chocolate Chips
Lemon Creme Filling
2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 T. Finely Grated Lemon Zest
⅔ c. Fresh Lemon Juice (5-6 Large Lemons)
4 Large Egg Yolks
1 t. Lemon Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Crumb Crust
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, salt and baking soda. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until no clumps of sugar remain. Stir in vanilla and melted butter until evenly moistened. Stir in toasted coconut. Spoon half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and gently press into an even layer. Stir white chocolate chips into remaining crumb crust mixture and set aside.
For the Lemon Creme Filling
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and lemon extract until well blended. Pour mixture over crumb crust in baking pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining crumb mixture. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, then remove and cut into squares. Store in and airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.
The title of this recipe does not lie. These truly are THE BEST chocolate chip cookie bars I have ever had! My friend made these for a New Year’s Eve party and I became obsessed with them and had to make them! They are the thickest, softest, chewiest, most delicious cookie bar! And easy peasy, like 30 minutes start to finish. Love that!
I almost like them as much as my super yummy Sugar Cookie Bars..almost. I’m still a sucker for frosting on a cookie. Which just gave me the idea that putting buttercream on these bad boys might make them the most insanely delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Hmmm I’m gonna go try that out right now…
1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs at low speed.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add gradually to butter mixture at low speed until fully incorporated. Add in chocolate chips at low speed.
Spread evenly in pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 25) until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite combos and it is absolutely delicious in these super easy Peanut Butter Gooey Bars! I looooove easy these days, let me tell ya. Don’t be put off by the use of a boxed cake mix–they really come in handy sometimes! I added Rice Krispies for a little crispy/chewy texture but feel free to leave them out if you wish. Perfect treat to whip up on a cold winter night (which apparently we are having lots of around here in the Midwest–UGH).
Combine peanut butter, butter, eggs, cake mix and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Gently mix in the Rice Krispies. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pour on the sweetened condensed milk. Top with remaining cake mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Doesn’t the title of these things just SOUND delicious?! As well it should because these bars are good. Very, very good. They definitely remind me of one of my favorite recipes of all time, Sugar Cookie Bars, but with a touch of cocoa in the bars (YUM) and decadent white chocolate cream cheese frosting. They are perfect for Valentine’s Day with the red in the batter and cute, sparkly pink sugar hearts on top. I used a cookie cutter to make the heart shape and directed the pink sugar with a funnel into the heart. Easy! These make great treats for kids and adults alike!
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars
3⅓ c. All-Purpose Flour
¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
½ t. Salt
1 t. Baking Powder
1 c. Unsalted Butter, softened
1½ c. Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 T. (one, 1 oz. bottle) Red Food Coloring
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 c. White Chocolate Chips, melted
4 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
For the Bars
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press evenly into the bottom of the 9x13 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool bars completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the Frosting
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and the melted white chocolate. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Spread evenly over sugar cookie bars.
I had grand plans this past Thanksgiving of making pie, which is definitely one of my favorite desserts. For me, it ranks up there with cheesecake, bread pudding and really good wedding cake. However as the time drew near, I quickly realized how challenging it would be to make two or three pies with a seven month old demanding my attention. Yeah, not happenin’. Soooo, Plan B was these German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars. And I must say, I am NOT sad that I had to make these instead! Imagine pecan pie, loaded with coconut and bittersweet chocolate chunks, on top of a chocolatey crust, in bar form. To. Die. For. I can honestly say I’m glad I had to change things up because these were out of this world delicious!
2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides to use as "handles". Lightly grease foil.
For the Crust
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add butter and crumble it with your fingers or a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
For the Filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of coconut and pecans and pour over the crust. Top with remaining cup of coconut.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and set (mine was still the slightest bit jiggly in the very middle and I was ok with that). Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift baked bars from pan using foil "handles" and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Jeremy has been wanting me to come up with a homemade protein bar similar to a Cliff Bar or Larabar but of course cheaper and healthier. I tried one that I actually REALLY liked and could hardly keep my hands out of (you CAN get too much of a good thing) but he wasn’t really a fan so I moved onto this recipe from The Balanced Platter shared by my cupcake partner in crime, Robyn over at Gluten Free Crazy. And I can safely say we have a winner with this one! Jeremy loves it, I love it and everyone is getting crazy amounts of protein! It’s very chocolatey, very peanut buttery and soooooo yummy. They’re very rich so I cut them into small squares and keep them in the freezer, although they’d probably be fine in the refrigerator also. Great pick me up and healthy dessert option!
½ c. Cooked Quinoa (I had accidentally mixed my dry quinoa and couscous together so it was a mix of both which I really liked!)
½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
¼ c. Chia Seeds
1¼ c. Chunky, Organic Peanut Butter (or smooth)
¾ c. Agave
1½ Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
In a food processor, chop the dates into very small pieces. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds and process until a meal has formed. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the quinoa, oats and chia seeds to the food processor and process until a meal forms again. Add to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add the peanut butter, agave, protein powder, cocoa and vanilla to the bowl of the electric mixer and beat everything on low speed until it is well-blended and starts to clump together. Form into a ball and press evenly into the bottom of the 9x9 pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until firm, lift out of the pan and place upside down on a cutting board. Peel away foil, turn bars over and cut into 1½" squares. Store in freezer.
Get ready, Valentine’s Day is coming. Some will roll their eyes, others will get giddy with anticipation of flowers and gifts and then some will just look forward to eating CHOCOLATE. Lots and lots of chocolate. Like me. Nothing like a big box of chocolates whether single or attached. Everyone loves them. My favorites used to be Russell Stover and Whitmans while I was growing up but then I discovered See’s and I love, love, loooooove See’s. As a matter of fact we are actually getting a permanent store in our mall any day!!! Seriously, pinch me, it’s too good to be true! And you better believe I will be buying myself a box for Valentine’s Day if no one else does (hint, hint Jeremy). Raspberry Truffle, Dark Buttercream, Mocha, Orange Cream….ahhhh, they are ALL good.
Another great way to get a chocolate fix this Vday is with these M&M Blondies! They are super rich, super buttery from the BROWNED BUTTER (one of my favorite things to do with butter!) and chalked full of chocolate. Great for kid’s parties, work parties, your significant other, a night just by yourself….really, just come up with some excuse to make them.
P.S. What is YOUR favorite chocolate?? Brand, flavor? I’d love to know!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns an amber color and begins to smell nutty. Brown bits will start to appear in the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the browned butter and sugars. With a wooden spoon, stir in the egg, vanilla, heavy whipping cream and salt. Stir in flour, semi-sweet chocolate chips and half of a cup of the M&M's. Spread evenly into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining M&M's. Gently press them into the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (recommended 27 minutes). Let the blondies cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
So awhile back I made something that consisted of cookie dough, Oreos and brownies and put it in a muffin tin and baked it. It had no name and still doesn’t! Little did I realize that someone had already done these brownie/bar thingies (of course) and had named them Slutty Brownies. Scandalous! But totally appropriate. These brownie/bars are amazingly rich, amazingly good and amazingly sinful. Don’t think about the calories…it’s worth it. I decided to revamp my original recipe and do them in a pan, which quite frankly makes a lot more sense than doing them individually in a muffin tin. Duh.
Now are you ready for the really good part? I covered them in PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING. I mean we just went from slutty to total whore (excuse my language). Who doesn’t love brownies, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter frosting?? And altogether in one dessert?! Divine. And rich. Yes, milk is a must for this one.
P.S. If you want to save a little time on these bars, you could make both the cookie dough and the frosting ahead of time and just keep it refrigerated until ready to use! Or you could even use a cookie and brownie MIX. I highly recommend the Ghirardelli Double Fudge Brownies!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cookie Layer
In a mixer, cream the sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add egg, then vanilla. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Press evenly into the pan. Layer with Oreos.
For the Brownie Layer
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee granules into a medium bowl and melt in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely melted and smooth. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature.
Add 2 of the eggs and whisk until combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate. Pour the batter over the Oreos.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack and frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in one cup of the powdered sugar. Beat in half of the heavy whipping cream. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Beat in vanilla. Spread over cooled brownie bars.
I am not quite done with Superbowl recipes (I’ll have another later this week!), but I made these Cherry Pie Bars a couple of days ago and they were so fantastic I couldn’t wait to share the recipe! I love anything cherry and combined with the crumbly streusel topping, they are beyond yummy. And so incredibly easy to make. I think they would make a lovely Valentine’s Day treat!
12-16 oz. Frozen, Unsweetened Dark Cherries (I could only find 12 oz. in my store)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust and Topping
Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut in with a fork or use your fingers (my preferred method) until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Evenly press ¾ of the mixture into the bottom of the pan and reserve the rest for topping.
For the Cherry Filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour and almond extract. Gently fold in the cherries and pour over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining topping mixture evenly over the top
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 55 minutes) until the top turns golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Believe it or not, I have never made 7-Layer Bars. Shocking, right?! I’ve always really enjoyed them at parties and church functions but just never made them myself. And I’m not sure why because wow, they are easy and delicious (duh). I thought they’d be a great Superbowl dessert and believe it or not, that blessed event is right around the corner. So it’s time to start planning your menu people! It’s all about the food. At least for me it is…I could kind of care less about football. Sorry, it’s true.
Ok, let’s get to the bars. The recipe I used called for a potato chip crust which I thought would give it a more salty component but I didn’t notice it much. So I might add in 1/4 teaspoon or so of salt to the potato chip mixture next time I make them. Just fyi. And traditionally the crust is graham cracker so feel free to swap out the potato chips for graham cracker crumbs and follow the recipe accordingly. I’m not sure which I prefer more. The potato chip crust actually turned out kind of chewy which I love but I also adore graham cracker crusts so…yeah. Flip a coin? Anyway, this recipe is fabulous, you can’t mess it up and it really is super easy and great for parties. Try them!
Oh and if you want some more Superbowl sweets ideas, check out these past blog posts here and here! I’ll have another great Superbowl recipe later this week for puppy chow–with a twist! If you like booze, you’re gonna love it. And even if you don’t like booze, you’re gonna love it. Seriously. Stay tuned!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 9x13 pan.
Combine potato chips, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan.
Top the crust with the following ingredients, in order: semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut. Combine the sweetened condensed milk with vanilla and pour over the layers.
Bake for 30 minutes and let cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
As mentioned in my post yesterday, I have a great healthy recipe to share with you guys this morning! I was REALLY needing a healthy sweet treat for our house and this recipe from Oh She Glows seemed perfect. I did make a few changes just because I didn’t have the exact things she used but they still turned out perfect, in my opinion. They do indeed taste a little toffee-like although I think I’d omit the cinnamon next time to let the toffee flavor come through more. These are totally wholesome, whole-grain, low-sugar (NOT refined sugar) and like a chewy granola bar. I definitely thought they were better after they had sat overnight, so give them a little time to come to their full potential! Hope you like them as much as we do!
Last year I went to my first ever Christmas cookie exchange and it was so, so fun! In case you have never been to one, you make enough of a cookie or candy so that everyone gets one of everything (plus the recipe). You swap sweets, snack on holiday goodies and leave with enough sugar to give you heart palpitations for days. Good times. And totally worth the sugar overload.
I loved trying everyone’s homemade creations and am so looking forward to doing the exchange again this year. I’ve already started researching recipes and found so many that I want to try. If you have a cookie exchange you’re going to, take a second and browse these scrumptious cookie and bar recipes!
Ina Garten does not disappoint. I honestly cannot think of one recipe (dessert recipe, of course) that I have ever made of hers that hasn’t turned out absolutely fabulous. I mean the woman just knows her sweets.
And I’m happy to say that the same can be said for these Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars. Think of the most amazing peanut butter cookie you have ever had, layered in bar form with sweet, gooey jam in the middle and you get these bars. They are rich and thick and completely indulgent. And they definitely require a HUGE glass of milk. I mean HUGE. They come together in a snap and bake up fast but it’s important to let them cool completely, otherwise they will not hold their shape when cut. Just a helpful tip from the first time I ever made them.
I’m thinking these are the perfect school lunch treat for kids! Or husbands even. Or…is that the same thing?? 😉
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed add the eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
Spread ⅔ of the dough into the pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough but not all the way to the edges as the jam will burn slightly if it's touching the pan. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if it doesn't quite cover all the jam; the dough will spread as it bakes. Spinkle with peanuts and peanut butter chips and press down gently into the dough.
Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.
After making my Key Lime Pie last week, I was inspired to search out some more key lime recipes. I just love the tart and sweet combination so much! Any of these would make a great summertime treat…enjoy!
Yes, I know. Another, ooey gooey bar recipe, Sarah?? For real?! Yes, FOR. REAL. I can’t help it! Trust me, this recipe started off as far away from ooey gooey and baked as you can get but somehow evolved to what you now see! I don’t know what happened, honestly. I intended to make a super fruity, summery, refreshing drink for all of you and somehow ended up with my oven on and my KitchenAid mixer going full throttle. Ugh! I seriously racked my brain for a looooong time trying to think of a unique, colorful and delicious drink and all I repeatedly kept going back to strawberry lemonade, specifically a Sonic Lemonberry Slush. Obviously I love the cherry limeades from Sonic but the Lemonberry Slush is a pretty close second. And all I wanted to do was turn it into…cake. Ooey gooey butter cake.
Yes, I have a problem (as documented here, here and here). Sigh.
So, I resigned myself to baking and did I have any regrets? Heck no! These ooey gooey bars turned out awesome! What I really like about these is you could do the lemon cake base and then get creative with the gooey top part. It calls for strawberry pie filling but you really could do cherry, blackberry or even blueberry–they’d all be delicious! Drinks can wait people. Trust me.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat well. With mixer on low, slowly pour in butter. Beat in strawberry pie filling. Pour onto the cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 55 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
One of Jeremy’s co-workers, Amy, just had her baby, Mr. Cannon Bailey Crocker. He is sweet and perfect and mom and dad are soooo happy he finally showed up. Jeremy’s office is pretty much a bunch of guys (with the exception of Amy) and it’s kind of like one big family…we all know each other, hang out together on occasion and when someone in the office has a baby, the wives make food! So we got a meal sign-up sheet together for Amy and her family and I immediately knew what dessert I was going to make her even before I figured out what main dish I’d be preparing. It’s all about priorities, right??
Amy had mentioned not too long ago that she loves lemon bars. Perfect! I already had a couple of recipes that I’d made before but I wanted to try a new one. So I found this one by Ina Garten and it is so, SO good. Definitely the best lemon bar recipe I have tried yet, by far. I love the ratio of crust to filling. Usually it’s half crust and half filling (which is not enough filling, in my opinion) but this recipe was about one-third crust and two-third filling. The lemon filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the crust was flaky and buttery. This recipe is a keeper!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
For the Crust
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Add vanilla. Gather the dough into a ball and press gently and evenly into the 9x13 pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bake the crust for 18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on, set to 350 degrees.
For the Filling
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles or squares and dust with powdered sugar.
Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying. You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps. For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.
They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good. The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit. They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice. All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.
I am so, so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys. I was trying really hard to come up with a peach recipe that wasn’t a pie or crisp and man, was I having some serious inspiration issues on this one. I wanted something cheesecake-y but NOT baked…the less oven time in the summer, the better, you know what I mean? So I finally had an idea for something fresh and light and just overall yummy. I can honestly say that these peach cheesecake bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, if not THE favorite thing. Yeah. Good. Really, really, really, good.
The recipe started with this brilliant idea I had for a boozy peach sauce and then it evolved from there to include a buttery, crumbly (but not too crumbly!) shortbread crust and thick, creamy no-bake cheesecake filling. I have to say I could have stopped with the peach sauce…I literally was licking the spoon on this one. It has the perfect combination of warm spices, peach and citrus. Divine. Add in the no-bake cheesecake factor and this is pretty much the perfect summer dessert.
I can tell I will be making LOTS of trips to my farmer’s market this summer. 🙂
1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 t. Pure Vanilla
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
7 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
4 oz. Whipped Topping (i.e. Cool Whip)
For the Peach Sauce
Make recipe as instructed previously for Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce (recipe was posted on May 30th), letting the peaches drain on a wire rack onto a cookie sheet. Make the sauce as instructed.
For the Shortbread Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the edges to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a fork or your hands (I prefer to use my hands) until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed together and then fold in the pecans.
Gently press the mixture evenly unto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely. In the meantime, make the cheesecake filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling
In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the whipped topping.
Using the foil "handles", left the completely cool crust from the pan and gently place the crust on a large platter/plate. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the crust. Place the crust and filling in the fridge or freezer (I used my freezer) for about 10-15 minutes in order to allow the cheesecake filling to firm up slightly.
Remove from the fridge or freezer and top the dessert with the drained peach slices (as seen in the pictures) and cut into squares. Drizzle each square with peach sauce.
If you’re like me and LOVE frosted sugar cookies but don’t have the patience for the whole rolling and cutting part, I have a solution! A completely delicious solution. I had seen recipes online for sugar cookie bars but all the ones I was finding called for an absurd amount of flour (5 cups!), etc and a huge baking pan that I didn’t have and there was no way I was going to go look for and buy one just for this recipe. So I played with the amounts of ingredients and am happy to report that I hit it out of the ball park on the first try! These sugar cookies are made in a 9×13 pan and are absolutely, incredibly, amazingly YUMMY. I love almond so I added that flavor. If you’re not an almond fan, feel free to substitute more vanilla extract. These bars and soft and slightly chewy and in my opinion perfect in every single way. To say I had a couple would be an understatement…but we won’t get into that.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and almond and mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. And to butter/sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Spread into baking pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick/tester comes out clean (mine were done closer to 15 minutes). Cool completely and frost.
For the Almond Buttercream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add almond and vanilla extracts. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, then add heavy whipping cream and beat until smooth. Spread onto cooled sugar cookie bars.