Category Archives: Bars

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

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So, you may be asking, “what is a nanaimo bar?”  Good question.  I didn’t know what they were either before I came across this recipe.  Well, let me give you a bit of background on this delicious bar.  It is a Canadian dessert, made popular back in the 1950′s by a local housewife who happened to live in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.  This is the theory anyway, I am not sure this would be stated as a fact in an encyclopedia or history book, but we are talking about desserts after all.   Its original version was a no-bake, chocolate crumb base topped with a custard and then a hardened melted chocolate layer.  Well, since the 1950′s many versions have come about.  I decided to make this one considering two of my husbands favorite things in life are peanut butter and chocolate.  Also, as you may have guessed just by looking at the ingredients list, it was amazing.   It is a very rich dessert so a little goes a long way.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Ingredients:
For the Base:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

For the Filling:

  • 1¼ cups creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk

For the Topping:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

2.  Make the Base: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and eggs.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut and cocoa powder.  Stir until completely combined.  Transfer mixture into prepared baking pan and using hands press evenly.  (Hint:  the mixture is very sticky, wet your hands slightly before you press the mixture)  Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and no longer shiny.  Transfer pan to cooling rack and allow to cool completely before preparing filling.

3.  Make the Filling: Microwave peanut butter and butter in large microwave safe bowl until completely melted and smooth.  Whisk in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with divided milk.  Whisk together until completely smooth.  Spread evenly over the crumb base and refrigerate until firm.  Usually takes about 1 hour.

4.  Make the Topping:  Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together.

5.  Spread over the chilled filling and allow to set at room temperature.

6.  Make sure it is completely cooled before cutting into bars and serving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerate for best results.

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Adapted from:  Browneyedbaker

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

I think the title alone says enough about this dessert for anyone to make it.  Any sentence containing salted and caramel has my attention.   Even my husband who is a die hard chocolate lover liked this one.  He actually said they were fabulous.  And after not winning the giant powerball jackpot, I needed something to make me feel better about knowing that I get to continue working for the next 30 years.  I think this was it.   A sweet caramel flavor, with a salty bite.  For a few moments, I was lost in the sugar bliss.  Okay, now back to reality, time to hit the gym and go to work.  Oh well, at least there is the option of having a calgon moment with a dessert bar.  Yummy!


  Ingredients:

  • 2 cups salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 325 °.  Line a 9×13 cake pan with parchment paper, cutting paper to fit just the bottom. Lightly spray paper with cooking spray.
2.  In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugar and powdered sugar. Using hand mixer, beat until creamy.  Then add vanilla and beat until combined.
3.  Next, add flour to sugar mixture.  Add 1 cup at at time and mix until a soft dough is formed.
Press half of dough mixture into prepared pan and place remaining dough in refrigerator.  Bake for 20 minutes.

4.  Remove from oven and set aside.
5.  Place caramels into a microwave safe bowl, add cream and vanilla.  Microwave mixture for 1 minute.  If caramels are not completely melted, microwave for additional 20 second intervals until caramel mixture is smooth.  Making sure to stir mixture after each interval.

6.  Pour caramel filling over cooked crust, making sure to pour evenly, because it is difficult to spread once mixture is poured.  Sprinkle salt over melted caramel.

7.  Take remaining dough from refrigerator and crumble it over caramel layer evenly.  Return pan to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Bars will be done when top is a firm golden brown.
8.  Allow to cool completely before cutting it into serving size squares.

 Adapted from: cookiesandcups

Pumpkin Caramel Pretzel Bars

Since fall is in the air and that means pumpkin time, I decided to make a delicious pumpkin dessert.  Now that I am thinking about it, I think this would be a hit anytime of the year.  It is a pumpkin shortbread cookie with a homemade caramel glaze.  Then to top it off with the crushed pretzels, oh….yes.  It’s sweet and salty.  So, go ahead and indulge, your guaranteed to fall in love. 

 Ingredients:

For the pumpkin cookie layer:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 10 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1″ pieces

For the caramel layer:

  • 12 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 Tablespoons agave nectar

For the topping:

  • 1 cup crushed salted pretzels

Directions:

For the pumpkin cookie layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° and spray 8″ square baking dish with cooking spray and line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin and butter.  Pulse on low until thoroughly combined.
  3. Remove and press into prepared baking dish.

4.  Pierce batter with a fork and bake for 5 minutes.   Then lower the temperature to 300° and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until batter is light golden brown.

5.  Place pan on wire rack and allow to cool completely.


For Carmel Topping:

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt measured butter.  Stir in condensed milk and agave nectar, whisk together until combined.   Heat in microwave for about 6 minutes.  Make sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds, the mixture will be boiling.  The caramel is ready when it is a light golden brown color and a thicker consistency.  Make sure to keep a close eye on caramel while microwaving, it can easily boil over.

2.  Pour the hot caramel mixture over the cooled cookie layer.


The Finishing Touch:

1.  Sprinkle crushed pretzels over caramel layer while warm. Allow the bars to cool completely.

2.  Once bars are completely cooled, cut bars into serving size pieces.  Store in refrigerator and serve straight from there.

Adapted from sugarcrafter

Coconut Sugar Cookie Squares

For the most part I would say I eat healthy, but if there is one weakness I have it is sugar.   So, in general if I am going to eat healthy, I usually allow myself the pleasure of a “real”, no healthy substitutes dessert.  I figure you have to live a little, and I’d like to experience mine through a cookie or a cake.  So I will not pretend this recipe doesn’t have any real butter, white sugar or sweetened coconut.  This is why it tasted so divine.  Seriously, I think I could hear the angels of dessert heaven singing when I took my first bite.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Go ahead and make something fun to eat and enjoy every bite.

Yields: 24 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lite coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 13×9 baking dish
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 recipe Coconut Butter Cream Frosting, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut for garnish (optional)  
Directions:
 

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2.  Place 1/2 cup shredded coconut into food processor, process until coconut finely ground (about 2 minutes on high).

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add ground coconut to flour mixture, mix well and set aside.

4.  In another medium mixing bowl, place butter and sugar.  Using electric mixer, beat mixture until fluffy.
5.  Add egg, egg white, vanilla, coconut milk and sour cream, mix until thoroughly blended.

6.  Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. 
7.  Place batter into pre-sprayed baking dish.  Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and gently press dough into and even layer. 
8.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.

10.  Frost with Coconut Butter Cream Frosting.  Then if desired sprinkle with additional shredded coconut.


11.  Cut into serving size squares and store in airtight container.

Coconut Butter Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 teaspoons coconut extract
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients for frosting in large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, whip together until mixture is smooth and fluffy.

 Adapted from :  Cooking Classy