Cookies & Bars

Squirrel Bars

Squirrel Bars

Squirrel Bars are chewy peanut butter cookie bars with swirled chocolate chips.  When I needed to whip up something sweet for a potluck, I found this recipe in my “Just A Matter of Thyme” cookbook (Every recipe I have ever tried in this cookbook is fantastic!  It is a staple in my potluck recipe collection.)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix together the butters and sugars.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Spread the dough in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 350 degrees (325 if you’re using a dark nonstick pan) for 3 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven.  Use a knife to swirl the chocolate throughout the bars.

Return to the oven and bake another 18 – 20 minutes.

Let cool completely.  Cut into bars and store in an airtight container until potluck time!

 

Advertisements

Brownie Rubble

It’s National “Have a Brownie” Day!

Already had all of the ingredients for this Brownie Rubble recipe in the cupboard.  I made two exceptions to the original recipe.  First, I used boxed brownie mix, instead of making them from scratch.  I used to be an adamant “from-scratch” brownie maker, but the box versions are so good and they are just too inexpensive and convenient to not use.  I always buy them on sale and keep a stash on hand for last minute potluck needs.  Second exception is that I used salted, instead of unsalted, roasted peanuts.

Found this recipe on Food Network’s “The Kitchen” (I seriously LOVE that show!).

Ingredients:

1 box brownie mix (make sure you have the oil, eggs, and any other added ingredients as stated on the box)

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts

Make the brownie mix according to the package directions.  Bake until almost done.  When you insert a toothpick, there should be a few crumbs.  Top the brownies with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and peanuts.  Bake for another 5 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden and toasty.

Let cool completely and cut into squares.  Store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Hawaiian Pineapple Bars

 

I’m loving these Hawaiian Pineapple Bars!  They are really easy to make and a fun change from the usual bar recipes.  The pineapple gives them a perfectly chewy edge with a soft center.

Tenaiya found this recipe on the Lost American Recipes website and sent it to me.  It originated in a compilation cookbook by the “Maui Extension Homemakers Council.”

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

4 eggs

20 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained

1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.   Add the pineapple and optional walnuts and stir until well-combined.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 11 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let bars cool completely.  Cut into squares and store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Lime Pecan Bars

lime-pecan-bars

Neighbors gave us some key limes from their tree, so I made these Lime Pecan Bars for the Super Bowl party yesterday!  I love the pecan shortbread crust and the filling is a sort of lime curd that is especially good with the key limes, but will work great with regular limes, too (either way, just make sure that you use fresh lime juice).

The party was hosted by a gluten-free household this year, so I made them with Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour  and they were a big hit.  Accidentally doubled the recipe below (that means I quadrupled the original – long story!), so I also took a batch into work today.  There were zero leftovers, so I think that means everyone liked them as much as I did.

This recipe is from my Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.  The ingredients are doubled from the original, and use a larger pan, because when you’re making it for a potluck,  the regular version just isn’t enough!

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cup flour

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

Filling:

6 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup fresh lime or key lime juice

2/3 cup flour

Grated lime peel, optional

To make the crust, chop the pecans in a food processor until fine.  Add in the butter, flour, and brown sugar and pulse until it forms a crumbly mixture.  Press the mixture into a buttered 9 x 13 pan and bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown along the edges.

Meanwhile, make the filling by whisking together the eggs and sugar.   Using a hand mixer, add in the lime juice and flour and mix until combined.

When the crust comes out of the oven, immediately pour the filling over the crust.  Cook the bars for another 20 minutes until the top is firm to the touch.

Let cool for one hour and cut into bars.  You can also top them with the optional grated lime peel (makes them look prettier).

If you’re going to the potluck that same day, you can leave them out at room temperature.  Otherwise, store in the fridge in an airtight container.  Then, take them out of the fridge an hour or two before potluck time!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars with cream cheese and Heath Bar bits!  These moist, chocolately bars are simple to prepare.  The combination of pumpkin, spices, and chocolate chips make these perfect for any Fall-themed or holiday potluck dessert.

Joanna brought these yummy treats to a work potluck and they were a total hit.  Her addition of the cream cheese and Heath Bar to the original recipe puts these bars over the top (genius!).

Ingredients:

1 box of spice cake mix (dry)

1 – 15 oz. can of pumpkin

1 cup chocolate chips (I can’t lie. I added a little more than this.)

1 bar cream cheese, softened

1 bag of Heath Bar bits

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a mixer.  Don’t worry if there are some chunks of cream cheese after your finished mixing (bonus bites of cream cheese in these bars is a good thing!)

Grease a 9 x 13″ pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Cut into squares and store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Honey Cookies

Honey Cookies2

As a kid, I loved coming home to these Honey Cookies on a rainy day!  Today, it’s no different.  Both chewy and crispy, they are totally addicting.  I always think to make these for fall and winter potlucks, as they are the ultimate cookie comfort food.  But, really, they are good any time of the year.  And they make a big batch!

I have also made them gluten and dairy free* by substituting the flour for the Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour and they were just as amazing!

This recipe has been a favorite in my family for years.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 cups white sugar, plus extra for rolling

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp. vanilla

4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

4 cups flour

Mix together the oil, sugar, eggs, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add the baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until well combined.

Roll the dough into one inch balls and then roll them in sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

* Note:  Typically, all of the other ingredients in this recipe are gluten-free, but make sure to double check all of your labels, to be safe!

Classic Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

This classic lemon bar recipe has been in my recipe book for years.  The combination of the fresh lemon juice and zest give the filling a luscious lemon taste along with a buttery shortbread crust.   This is great potluck dessert for any occasion and for any season!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar plus a little extra for the top

3/4 c. butter, softened

4 eggs

1 1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 T. flour

2 to 3 tsp. grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper, extending up the sides of pan.

Combine the 1 1/2 cup flour, powdered sugar, and butter with a mixer on low speed until crumbly.  Press the mixture evenly into the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until very light brown.

Using the same mixer and bowl (no need to wash or rinse them!), beat together the eggs, white sugar, 2 T. flour, and lemon peel until well blended.  Pour over the warm crust and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling is set and the bars are just beginning to brown around the edges.

Let the bars cool completely.  Lift the edges of the parchment and place on a cutting board.  Cut into bars.

Store in an airtight container (in the fridge if you’re making them the day or two before).  Dust them with sifted powdered sugar right before potluck time!

Sweet and Saltines – Holiday Version

Sweet and Saltines - Holiday Version

 

This is our holiday version of Sweet and Saltines.  You can use white chocolate or semisweet chocolate.  And they taste as lovely as they look!

Ingredients:

35 to 40 Saltine Crackers

2 sticks (1 cup) butter

1 cup light brown sugar

8 ozs. semisweet or white chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

Crushed candy cane

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line 1 large or 2 small jelly roll pans with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the saltines salt-side down in a single layer.

In a medium pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together and boil until it turns a caramel color, a few minutes.  Remove from the heat and pour over the crackers, covering them evenly.  Put the jelly roll pan into the oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until just bubbly, watching carefully.  Remove from the oven and pour the chocolate chips over the crackers.  When the chips melt a bit, spread them over the crackers with a knife. Then sprinkle candy cane on the top.

Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely cold.  They will form one big sheet.  Break up into pieces.  Store in an airtight containe

Candy Bucket Cookies

Candy Bucket Cookies 2

Put your leftover Halloween candy to great use in these fun, delicious cookies!  Jeff Mauro made these on Food Network’s “The Kitchen” Halloween show last week and I knew that I had to make them.  Had a few friends over last night for a potluck and everyone loved them!

You can use any combination of chocolate candies.  I used Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Peanut M&M’s, Kit Kats, and Snicker Bars.  Would have loved to put in some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and regular M & M’s, but there weren’t any left in my son’s Halloween bag.  The more variation, the better as it makes every bite a surprise.  I avoided anything with too much soft caramel because I didn’t think they would hold up well during the baking process.

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) salted butter, melted then cooled slightly

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large whole egg

1 large egg yolk

2 cups chopped leftover Halloween candy

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, whole egg, and egg yolk.  Blend until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in the candy pieces.

Using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup), put mounds of cookies on cookie sheet (give them lots of space as they will be big cookies).  Bake until slightly golden and puffy, about 14 to 17 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Then store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

These Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies are absolutely decadent!  They are soft and chewy on the inside with a crispy outer layer.  You can easily make these with gluten and dairy free ingredients (double check your labels!) and your GF/DF friends (and everyone else) will love you for making these at your next potluck.

For a larger crowd, you should definitely double the batch.  A single batch makes 24 to 30 cookies and no one can eat just one!  This recipe is from Bon Appe’tit Desserts cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ozs.), divided

3 large egg whites, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 T. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 heavy, large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.  In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt until blended.  On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue.  Stir in lukewarm chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in small bowl (I always need more powdered sugar for rolled cookies, so make sure you have some extra on hand).  Roll dough into rounded tablespoons (or use a melon baller for no mess and uniform cookies).  Roll balls in powdered sugar, coating thickly.  Place them on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and the tops crack.  Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Then, transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container until potluck time!