Sugar Cookie Bars

OMG yum!  These are amazing and so easy!  I definitely recommend them for a large party or family function because they make a ton.  They stay soft for days and can be made a day or two in advance.

SUGAR COOKIE BARS

Source:  Grin and Bake It who got it from RecipeGirl.com

COOKIES:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond or other flavoring)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter; at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
~5 Tbsp. milk
food coloring, if desired

1. Prepare bars: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt & baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (use a jelly roll pan).  The dough will be just like cookie dough- heavy & sticky- so it’s best to spray your hands or spatula with a little nonstick spray and use them to help mold the dough into the pan.  Reapply the nonstick spray as needed.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
4. Prepare frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and spreading consistency. Add a few drops of color, if desired. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.

Yield: 32 bars

Tips:
*Refrigerate the bars until firm… it will be easier to get nice, clean cuts.

Rhubarb Crisp

My sister grows rhubarb and she graciously gave me some to bake with about a week ago.  After deliberating with Tim, I decided on this simple rhubarb crisp.

Also, sorry about not adding pictures at the moment, my computer is still on the fritz.

Rhubarb Crisp

Source:  grocery store flyer

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour, plus 2 Tablespoons

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup ( 2 sticks ) butter, cold and cut into small pieces

2.5 pounds fresh rhubarb, coarse ends removed and cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 8 cups) – I used appprox 6 cups rhubarb and 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries.

ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 granulated sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt until well mixed.  Add oats and stir to combine.  With fingertips or pastry blender, cut in butter until pea sized crumbs form (will be dry).

In a large bowl, stir rhubarb (and strawberries) with remaining 2 Tbsp flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt until well combined.  Spread rhubarb mixture evenly into lightly sprayed 13″ x 9″ glass or ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over rhubarb mixture.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until top is golden brown; let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with ice cream.

Enjoy!

Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve seen this recipe come up a few times in my Google reader since the holidays, and it intrigued me enough to make one.  You might think that I would have heard of this cake before since I live somewhat close to St. Louis and that is where the recipe originated.  But nope.  I’d never heard of it before.  Have any of you heard of it before?

It only takes a few simple ingredients and in almost no time you have a gooey cake.  I was very surprised that the cream cheese layer turned out the way that it did.  For some reason I was expecting more of a cheesecake like quality, but it is nothing of the sort.  The 2 layers blend together into one super chewy bar-like dessert.  Delicious and very sweet!

Gooey Butter Cake

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen and Tidy Mom

Ingredients:

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 package (18.25 Oz. Box) Plain Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 whole Egg
  • _____
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, plus more for dusting on top

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°.  Prepare crust first.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a wooden spoon until moist.  Transfer to a 13″x9″ lightly greased baking pan and press it down evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Next, prepare the filling.  In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter, and continue to mix.  Next, add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time until all sugar is mixed in.  Pour filling over the crust, and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake gooey butter cake for 40-45 minutes until it is browned, but the center still jiggles when the pan is shaken.  Cool for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Peanut Butter Fingers

Peanut Butter Fingers

Source:  Amish Friends Vol 2 Cookbook, page 71

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, soft

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour

6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars.  Blend in egg and peanut butter.  Add soda, salt, vanilla, flour, and oats.  Mix well then press into pan.  Bake in a greased 9×13-inch pan for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top while hot, place back in the oven (turned off) for a minute or less.   Spread the melted chocolate with a spatula.  Cool.  Frost with peanut butter frosting.  Cut into bars, or “fingers”, for serving.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

2-4 tablespoons milk.

Combine all, stirring the milk in until it reaches the desired spreading consistency.

Berry Granola Bars

Here’s a new granola bar recipe that I tried out.  Even though I doubled the original recipe, it still makes a smaller batch than any of my other granola bar recipes.  It is a nice and quick recipe though that yields a thick cookie-like bar.  I have listed the ingredients as I made it {doubled}, if you want to cut it in half, use an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan for baking and cut into 8 bars.

We ate them way too fast to warrant freezing them, but the recipe indicates that they freeze extremely well.

Berry Granola Bars

Source:  cooking for 2 magazine, Spring 2009.

Ingredients

4 Tbsp butter, soft

4 Tbsp brown sugar

2 eggs

4 tsp corn syrup

2 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

6 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecan

1/2 cup dried mixed berries {blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries…any combo totaling 1/2 cup is fine}

Directions

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, corn syrup, molasses, and vanilla.

Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in pecans and dried fruit,

Spread into a lightly greased 8″ or 9″ square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set and edges are browned.  Cool completely and then cut into bars.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

I had a pretty intense craving for these bars out of nowhere one day and luckily I had some time on my hands to make them.  And it really was good that I had extra time on my hands because I couldn’t find a freaking recipe for them anywhere!  How is it possible that I’ve never made them before, therefore blogging them and therefore knowing where to find my recipe?!  So, over the next hour I searched through about 10 cookbooks before finding a recipe.

They really hit the spot and reminded me of the school cafeteria too.  Weird.

Aside:  What is with all of my flashbacks to childhood?  Today I was thinking about the movies I watched all the time as a kid like Top Gun, Rags to Riches, and Grease!  I need to get copies of them so I can watch them soon.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter rice Krispie Bars

Source:  a hometown cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo syrup

1-1/4 cup peanut butter {I used half smooth and half chunky}

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 cups rice krispies

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Heat the syrup and sugar on the stove until melted.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla, mixing well.  Then add the cereal.  Press into the prepared pan.

Melt the chips together and spread over the top.  Allow to set up, then cut into bars.

RP: Granola Bars

I’m re-posting {RP} this recipe since it was buried in a post with 2 other recipes {both of which I still love}.  But, I just wanted to bring attention to this recipe again since I’m back on a kick of making homemade granola bars and this recipe is perfect for summer since you don’t have to use your oven.

These bars are ideal to take along to all sorts of summertime activities like picnics, biking, hiking, boating, and whatever else you can think of…even just for breakfast on your way to work.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Source:  adapted from Stephanie Cooks

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Fiber One cereal {the kind that looks like twigs} OR Rice Crispies

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup chopped nuts {I have used almonds and walnuts}

1/3 cup wheat germ

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with light cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the cereal, oats, nuts, and wheat germ.  Set aside.

Combine the brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Pour over the cereal and oat mixture, stirring quickly (as sugar mixture cools it hardens quickly). Immediately press mixture into the prepared pan using the back of a large spatula. Lightly press chocolate chips into top of bars. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Note:

They are really difficult to cut when they are cold, so let them set out for a little bit before cutting.

Chewy Brownies

I can’t believe I have been blogging this long and have never posted a brownie recipe!  How is that possible?! We are such big fans of brownies!  Thick and cakey or dense and fudgy, it doesn’t matter to us.  We like them all.  These happen to be thin and chewy and very chocolaty!   Tim was such a fan of them because of their strong dark chocolate favor.  I loved the little bits of melted chocolate from the chopped bittersweet chocolate that got stirred in the batter at the end. 🙂

Chewy Brownies

{Source: Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue as seen at Brown Eyed Baker)

Yield: 24 brownies

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder {I used Hershey’s special dark chocolate cocoa}
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but I strongly recommend it)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan.  Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

Well, here’s another terrific recipe from the Pioneer Woman! The lemon filling is fabulous!

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares
Ingredients
  • 1-⅓ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter, Slightly Softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (lightly Packed)
  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 can (14 Ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ½ cups Lemon Juice (2 or 3 lemons)
  • Zest Of 1 Lemon – I upped it to 2 lemons
Preparation Instructions

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES.

Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.

Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.

Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don’t press.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.

Serve cool.

Peanut Butter Cake Bars

I can’t really think of a better combination of flavors than peanut butter and chocolate.  It is certainly my favorite anyway!  So, not only do these bars have great flavor, the texture is great too.  They are somewhere in between blondies and cake, but leaning more towards blondies.  Yum!

Peanut Butter Cake Bars

{souce: taste of home}

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter – I used crunchy, but would have preferred smooth PB
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (11-1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips – I used semi-sweet

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
  • Yield: 2 dozen.

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