Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!

So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!

So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.

All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
  • 1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
  • 5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
  • ½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
  2. Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
  3. Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
  4. Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

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Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Butternut Squash (pumpkin and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butternut squash, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Chia Bars

I’ve been incorporating chickpea (garbanzo) flour into lots of things lately, mainly because it has a fairly neutral flavor once it’s been cooked and adds a good amount of protein and fiber to food. My favorite thing right now is to mix it into my kids oatmeal…they don’t even know it’s there! So when I saw these chia granola bars used it, I HAD to try them.

Aaaaaand…they turned out great!  I was expecting a crunchier bar but mine remained soft which is ok because we still loved them. Looking back over the original recipe, I actually missed the step about pressing them down again after they have been baked so that might have been my problem with them not being crunchy!

They are slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty and quite yummy! Love the good fats, protein and fiber from the chickpea flour and chia seeds and the little crunch from the crispy rice cereal is perfect. Great for breakfast or a snack!

Original Recipe: Power Hungry

Chia Bars
Author: 
Category: Bar
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Rolled Quick Oats
  • ¾ c. Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • ⅔ c. Chickpea Flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
  • 3 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Melted Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, rice cereal, chickpea flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together agave, coconut oil, sucanant and vanilla until blended,
  3. Add agave mixture to oat mixture, stirring until completely coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Spray you hands with non-stick spray and press mixture down gently but firmly to compact into pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (I did 20) or until light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board (you can leave them sitting on top of the parchment paper). Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into bars. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Chewy, Crunchy Strawberry Protein Bars

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. 🙂

Previous experiments (such as my Rich Baked Homemade Protein Bars and Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bars) have been good but I really wanted a super simple, non-dairy, gluten-free AND sugar-free bar that used a plant-based protein powder and these are it! My kids lose their minds over these and I have zero guilt handing them out as a bedtime snack.

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!

Chewy, Crunchy Strawberry Protein Bars
Author: 
Category: Protein Bar
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. Rolled Quick Oats
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • 2 T. Hemp Hearts
  • 4 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 c. Vega Bodacious Berries Protein Powder
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1½ c. Fresh Ground Almond Butter (the kind you grind yourself at the store..no added oil or salt)
  • ½ c. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Freeze Dried Strawberries
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 pan with foil. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add all wet ingredients and mix on low until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add freeze dried strawberries until they have broken up into smaller pieces and are just combined (you don't want them to be too crushed/pulverized..they add an awesome crunch to the bar).
  5. Press evenly into the pan and place in the freezer for one hour or until firm.
  6. Remove the bars from the pan, peel away the foil and cut into even bars.
  7. Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer or refrigerator (we like our in the freezer).
Notes
36, 1-inch bars

 

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Lemon Creme Crumb Bars with Toasted Coconut and White Chocolate

Lemon Creme Crumb Bars

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.

Lemon Creme Crumb Bar

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!

Enjoy!

Lemon Creme Crumb Bars with Coconut and White Chocolate
 
Ingredients
Crumb Crust
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Crumb Crust
  1. 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
  1. 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.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

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!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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…

Enjoy!

Recipe Source: So Festive!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Notes
Makes about 18 bars.

 

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Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

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).

Peanut Butter Gooey Bar

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1, 14oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Pink Hearts

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bar with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Ingredients
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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
For the Bars
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. 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
  1. 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.
Notes
Makes 18-20 bars.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bar

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie 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!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 2

 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 3

Enjoy!

Original Recipe:  Southern Living Magazine

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cubed
Filling
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ c. Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
  • 2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 4

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bars

Gluten-Free Chocolate PEanut Butter Protein Power Bars

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!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bar

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 16 Medjool Dates
  • 1 c. Raw, Organic Almonds
  • 1 c. Sunflower Seeds
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
  2. 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.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

 

 

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Valentine M&M Blondies

M&M Blondie

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.

M&M Blondies

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.

Enjoy!

P.S. What is YOUR favorite chocolate??  Brand, flavor?  I’d love to know!

 

M&M Blondies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¼ c. Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Valentine M&M's
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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4-Layer Brownie Bars

Choc Chip Cookie Brownie

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.

Cookie Oreo Brownie

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.

Enjoy!

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!

Choc Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie

Cookie Brownie Bars
 
Ingredients
Cookie Layer
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ⅓ c. Shortening
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1⅛ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Oreo Layer
  • 35 Oreos (will be slightly more than one package)
Brownie Layer
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 5 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or whole milk)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cookie Layer
  1. 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
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  1. 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.
Notes
Makes 24.

 

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Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bar

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!

Cherry Pie Bars

Enjoy!

Cherry Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust and Topping
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
Cherry Filling
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Sour Cream
  • ⅓ c., plus 1 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • 12-16 oz. Frozen, Unsweetened Dark Cherries (I could only find 12 oz. in my store)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust and Topping
  1. 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
  1. 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
  2. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 55 minutes) until the top turns golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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7-Layer Bars

7-Layer Bars

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.

7 Layer Bars

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!

7-Layer Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Regular, Salted Potato Chips, crushed
  • 1½ sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 12 oz. (2 c.) pkg. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 12 oz. (2 c. ) pkg. Butterscotch Chips
  • 12 oz. (2 c. ) pkg. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1½ c. Walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 3 c. Flaked, Sweetened Coconut, toasted
  • 2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 9x13 pan.
  2. Combine potato chips, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 18 squares.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Toffee Bars

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!

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Toffee Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Thick Cut Oats
  • ¼ c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon (or omit completely)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 1 c. Almonds, chopped and toasted
  • ½ c. Agave
  • 2 T. Butter (I used whipped organic)
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • ⅓ c. Almond Butter (I use homemade so the only ingredient is almonds)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 T. Dark Chocolate Chunks or Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt and almonds.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the agave, butter, sucanat, almond butter and vanilla, Microwave on high for 45 seconds and stir until smooth.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Add the egg and stir until everything is combined. Scoop into the pan and spread out the mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 16 squares.

 

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Holiday Cookies

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!

Honey Walnut Bar

Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars

 Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies

Pecan-Cinnamon Wafers

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

Holiday 7-Layer Bars

Chocolaty Caramel-Nut S’mores Bars

Black-and-White Coconut Macaroons

Almond-Oat Lace Cookies

Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanuts and Pretzels

Cherry Rum Ribbons

White Chocolate and Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

 Russian Tea Cakes

 

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

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?? 😉

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 c. Creamy Peanut Butter (I like Peter Pan)
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • 2 c. Strawberry Jam (or other kind)
  • ½ c. Salted Peanuts
  • 1 c. Peanut Butter Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Crazy About Key Lime

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!

Key Lime Bars

Key Lime Bars by myrecipes.com

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting by myrecipes.com

Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Cheesecake by Mangio de Sola

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes by The Repressed Pastry Chef

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream by Desserted Planet

Key Lime Shortbread Cookies

Key Lime Shortbread Cookies by Land O' Lakes

Key Lime Tarts

Key Lime Tarts by The Repressed Pastry Chef

 

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Strawberry Lemonade Ooey Gooey Bars

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.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Lemonade Ooey Gooey Bars
 
Ingredients
Base
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Lemon Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1, 21 oz. Can Strawberry Pie Filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Notes
Makes 15-18 bars.

 

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Lemon Bars

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!

3.6 from 5 reviews
Lemon Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 6 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 3 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T. Grated Lemon Zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 c. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (8 lemons)
  • 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
For the Crust
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  1. 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.
  2. Cut into triangles or squares and dust with powdered sugar.
Notes
Makes about 20 servings.

 

 

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