Coconut Dream Bars

I love coconut, almost as much as I love Peanut Butter. I like how coconut provides a depth of flavor and hearty texture to baked goods. The picture may look familiar to those who frequent my blog, but I assure you these are new, but very similar to the Blonde Magic bars I made a while ago.
I whipped these up Saturday night as I was asked to make a dessert for a friend’s wedding shower this past weekend. Knowing she loves everything coconut I decided to try a recipe I have had saved for quite a while.

These bars are so quick and easy to throw together and they use ingredients you usually have on hand. They are a good basic recipe but you could jazz them up by adding toasted nuts, chopped Toffee pieces or chocolate chips (I did not add the chocolate chips as called for in the original recipe because I was asked to bring a non-chocolate dessert.)
A warning however, these bars are really really sweet so you may want to reduce some of the sugar in the filling if you are adding a fairl amount of chocolate or candy. After tasting these I wonder how a little lemon/lime juice in the coconut topping (along with some toasted pecans) would have been, I may try that the next time if I don’t add chocolate or candy.

Needless to say, my friend loved these bars and I enjoyed them as well. What I enjoyed the most about these bars, however, was the brown sugar shortbread like crust. It was so yummy and light and a welcomed change from the usual graham cracker crust of the other dessert bars at the shower. I felt the ratio of crust to topping was too small and not sturdy enough for the topping unless the bars were cut small (maybe not a bad things since they were so sweet, but with the addition of chips/candy/nuts I don’t know if they would have held up even cut small).
Next time I think I will make 1 1/2 times the crust mixture and bake a few minutes longer before adding the coconut topping which may pair down the sweetness of the coconut mixture, especially if adding chips or candy.
All in all, a good recipe that can get better with a few tweaks so feel free to make them your own. I am excited to play around with the recipe a bit because I think it has potential to be a quick go-to versitile dessert.

I rate these bars a 7

Coconut Dream Bars
adapted from Recipezaar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed (divided)
1/2 cup butter, softened slightly
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) or milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9×13 pan with foil. Spray lightly with PAM.
Using low speed on mixer, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and butter until mixture resembles sand.
Using lightly greased finger tips, press the mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, mix together the remaining brown sugar with eggs until just blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Remove crust from oven when time is up and evenly spread coconut mixture over partially baked crust.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and cut into squares. (Do this or they will be messy!!)

Frosted Marshmallow Brownies

It has been a while since I have posted. That is what happens when work and life gets in the way of my time in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to spend some time with my family this past weekend and got some time back in the kitchen!!

This recipe is from my very own mother. It is one that she has been making for years as they are my sister’s favorite brownie. Who wouldn’t love a brownie with a layer of gooey marshmallows topped off with a layer of fudgey frosting? I have to say that these are very very good. The brownie layer is thin (relative to most brownie recipes) but sturdy and is not overly-chocolatey or sweet. It provides a great base for the marshmallows and sweet chocolate-fudge-like frosting.

The frosting measurements are estimates as my mom has made these so many times, she just “eye-balls” everything, ha ha. Well, in order to  blog about the recipe, I had her provide ‘estimates’ as she made the frosting. I have to say that I really love this frosting, it is rich and chocolatey, almost like a thin fudge layer. I hope you enjoy these as much as my sister and our family does!

I rate these an 8.5

Frosted Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS baking cocoa
3-4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with PAM
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla beat until fluffy.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture. spread in greased 9×13 pan.
Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows, return to oven 2-3 mintues, or just until marshmallows are soft.
Remove from oven. Using a knife dipped in water spread the metled marshmallows evenly over bars.

Frosting
3/4 stick butter
6 TBS Milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini marshmallows or 4-6 large marshmallows
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (maybe upto 3/4 cup depending how chocolatey you want it)

Combine ingredients (except marshmallows and chocolate chips) in medium saucepan and melt over medium low heat. Stir constantly until combined. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Add marshmallows and chocolate chips
Stir until marshmallows and chips are melted.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool and thicken slightly (can set in sink of cold water to speed up process). Pour and spread over marshmallows on bars.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Chocolate Truffle Bars

These bars are so yummy. Imagine a light shortbread like base topped with a rich, dense chocolate truffle layer and then toasted nuts to push these bars over the top. I used toasted pecans this time but I am sure walnuts would be equally as good.

If you do not like nuts, I bet chopped candy bars like Heath or Butterfingers would be good as well. Maybe for the Holidays topping with some crushed peppermint with a hint of peppermint extract in the chocolate truffle layer.

I would suggest storing these in the fridge and taking out just before serving as the chocolatey layer is soft at room temperature, but still so delicious. Because these are rich and decadent, a little goes a long way making them perfect for Bridal and Baby showers when cut into small pieces and served in mini cupcake liners.

I rate these bars an 8

Chocolate Truffle Bars
from Cuisine at Home Cookbook
1 cup flour
6 TBS butter (cold)
3 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup Semisweet Chocolate (6oz)
6 TBS light corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS butter
1 TBS cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee granuales
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups toaste nuts, coarsely chopped (walnuts or pecans)
Powdered sugar (Optional for dusting bars before serving)

Preheat oven to 350.
Once preheated, spread nuts onto baking sheet and bake until fragrant, or about 10 minutes, stri every 5 minutes for even toasting. Remove and allow to cool.

Line a 9 inch square pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and salt. Use a pastry blender to mix ingredients until throroughly mixed and dough is dry and sandy.
Sprinkle sandy crust mixture into prepared pan and press to cover evenly. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. (can turn oven off until cooled)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a heavy sauce pan melt the chocolate, corn syrup, sugar, butter, cocoa, espresso powder and salt over medium heat stirring continuously until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add vanilla and stir. Evenly pour truffle mixture over cooled crust.

Sprinkle evenly with the toasted chopped nuts and lightly press nuts into batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or just until set (center may move slightly if shaked). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Chill until ready to serve.
Before serving, cut and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars

Yup, I am at it again with the Peanut Butter. Be honest though, can you ever have too many desserts with Peanut Butter and Chocolate?? I think not.

This recipe comes from my Grandma’s recipe box. Deceivingly these were titled Peanut Butter Bars, but as you can see these look more like a brownie than a Peanut Butter bar! In reality these moist little bars are more like a brownie with a slight Peanut Butter undertone than what I think a Peanut Butter bar to be so I am changing their name to Incognito Bars (because the PB flavor is undercover in these chocolatey-looking bars).

These bars are thick, moist and all in all very good. I will be making these again and I really liked the simplicity of the recipe and how quick they came together.

*Next time I might increase the amount of Peanut Butter by 2 TBS and increase the amount of cocoa powder to 3TBS total(decreasing the amount of flour by 1 TBS so the texture and consistency of the bars remains unchanged). I might also add mini chocoalte chips or those mini Reese’s PB baking cups or chips to the batter before baking.

As you can see, I have several ideas in mind for these little babies in the near future because these bars were very good and worth a try.

I tasted one of these babies while they were warm and found the flavor of both the chocolate and Peanut Butter to be too subtle for my liking. I felt they needed to be “Jazzed” up a bit. So, I whipped up a simple Chocolate/Peanut Butter ‘frosting’ and topped with crumbled a Butterfinger bar.

The Result? MMMMM, finger licking good!

I did notice, however, after cooling the flavor of the bars themselves seemed to deepen a bit and you can taste the chocolate and peanut butter a little more than right out of the oven. Because their flavor seems to deepen after they set a few hours/overnight you may want to try these bars after they have cooled and set without the frosting/candy bar topping to see if you feel they need that extra sweetness.
I found them to be great with the additions by my tooth has been known to be pretty sweet!

I would rate these bars:
Plain and warm out of the oven a 6
Plain the next day a 7
With frosting and candy topping an 8

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (if desired)
Chopped/Crushed Candy bars (if desired, Butterfinger’s pictured)

Preheat oven to 325.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
In a medium mixing bowl cream the peanut butter, butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture.
Spread batter in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool.
Frost if desired and sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger bar (as pictured) or Chopped Reese’s PB cups.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (Optional)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (creamy)
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 TBS shortening

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir toghter Peanut Butter, chips and shortening until smooth. You can add more Peanut Butter or Chocolate chips depending how much frosting you want and to taste.
Gently Spread Evenly over bars. Sprinkle with crushed/chopped candy if desired.

S’more Bars

These bars are very good, messy, but good!
I got the recipe out of an old church cookbook and couldn’t wait to try them because they combine the goodness of a S’more: graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows in an ooey gooey bar. Another reason these bars caught my eye is that they do not require any bake time! Perfect for summer days when you don’t want to use your oven but still want a tastey sweet!

These were a breeze to make and so good that I was eating them out of the pan with a spoon before they were cool. After cooling some they were easier to cut and serve, however, they did crumble a bit but the taste makes up for the mess factor in my opinion!
I am not sure how long these would stay fresh and chewy because I took them to work and they were gone in minutes.

I would rate these bars a 7.5 (they lost .5 points for difficulty serving)

S’mores Bars
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter (no substitutions)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
15 crushed graham crackers (I used 9 rectangular crackers)
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup marshmallows and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine the egg, butter, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour mixture in bowl with the graham crackers, marshmallows and chcolate chips. Stir to combine. (Marshmallows and chips will melt a bit).
Fold in remaining marshmallows and chips.
Press mixture into prepared pan.
Cool until set. Remove foil and bars from pan, cut and serve. Store in airtight container either room temp or in fridge (if during warm months).

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars

I have been craving a Peanut Butter sweet lately and had a jar to use up. I went searching for a recipe and found this winner on the Jif website! I did top the bars with some chopped Reese’s cups before covering in marshmallows because I had some to use up and really Reese’s PB cups make any dessert a little better! These taste fabulous!

I really really liked the taste and texture of these bars. The base has a nice Peanut Butter flavor and is light in texture. It is topped with a layer of melted Peanut Butter and then covered Marshmallows (and chopped PB cups in my version) and then baked again until the Marshmallows puff and bec0me light brown. Do not overbake or the Marshmallows will be hard and crisp.

My one complaint about these bars is that they are VERY difficult to cut and eat. The marshmallows stick to the knife (even after greasing the knife) when cutting making them not look too pretty. Also, the PB/marshmallow topping does not stay on the base while cutting and eating. The topping stuck to the knife and got pulled off of the crust slightly. This happened again while eating. I do admit, that I did not allow these to cool completely before cutting and serving so that may have been the problem. The seperation of the cookie base and toppings did not affect the taste, these were soooooo good!! For flavor I give them a 9! The chopped Reese’s PB cups really added that extra Peanut Butter flavor I was craving and will continue to add them when making this recipe. I will definately be making them again very soon. Next time I will cool completely to see if that makes a difference in cutting and serving.

I rate these bars an 8 (with the addition of chopped Reese’s cups) even though they were very hard to cut and serve

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars
adapted from Jif
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 salt
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
7-8 individual Reese’s PB cups chopped (more or less to taste)

Heat oven to 350.
Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with PAM spray.
In a large bowl combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg.
Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed. Beat until well blended.
Cover. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Press into prepared dish. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.
Do not over-bake. Cool 2 to 3 minutes.
Place peanut butter in microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Pour over cookie base. Spread to cover.
Cover Peanut Butter layer with chopped Reese’s PB cups and marshmallows. Return to oven. Bake 5 minutes or until marshmallows are light brown. Do not over-bake.
Loosen from sides of dish with knife. Remove dish to cooling rack.
Cool completely.

Blonde Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars that is!
I LOVE the famous Magic Cookie bars, also known as 7 layer bars. The first time I had one of these chocolate/butterscotch/coconut goodies was at a church bakesale when I was a little girl. Ah the memories.

As a child I loved the taste, as an adult I also love that these bars are so quick to prepare and the possibilities are endless for the goodies to layer on. I had a bunch of slivered almonds to use up so I created a chocolate-free Magic Cookie bar, as I have named the Blonde Magic Cookie Bar. Ok, it’s not chocolate-free as it does use white chocolate, but it is still Blonde! ha ha

I based my recipe off of the one from the Eagle brand website but altered it greatly. These bars turned out great! The toasting of the nuts and coconut before baking really intensify the flavors and the white chocolate melts to creamy goodness with its mild taste pairing beautifully with the almonds, coconut and almond flavored Sweet and Condesed Milk. All of this goodness lies atop a tender and buttery graham cracker crust. This recipe is a definate keeper in this house!

I rate these bars an 8

Blonde Magic Cookie Bars
adapted from Eagle Brand
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used 4 whole graham crackers and 1 half)
7 ounces (1/2 can) Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup coarsley chopped white baking chocolate (NOT white chocolate chips, they melt differently)
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (toasted)
1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 inch pan with foil. Lightly spray with PAM.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Evenly spread coconut on half of baking sheet and the slivered almonds on the other half.
Toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes stirring every 3 minutes for even browning and to prevent burning.

In 8×8 baking pan, melt butter in oven (can be done while coconut and almonds are toasting). Once melted remove from oven. Sprinkle crumbs over melted butter and gently pat to cover bottom of pan.
Combine the 7oz. of Sweetened Condensed Milk and Almond extract, stir to combine.

Once the coconut and nuts are finished toasting remove from oven. Evenly sprinkle almonds over prepared crust, next sprinkled the chopped white chocolate over the almonds.
Evenly sprinkle the toasted coconut over the nuts and chocolate. Gently pour the Sweetened Condensed milk/almond extract mixture evenly over coconut layer.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Want one?