Butterscotch Bars with Brown Sugar Icing

I have had this recipe printed off for months but have been waiting for the perfect occasion to whip them up as they make a ton and I so do NOT need a sheet pan of sweets tempting me during the Holidays!

These bars (the original recipe calls them brownies, but really, these are a bar) would be the love child of a blondie and a sugar cookie bar (if baked goods could produce offspring). From the ingredieint list alone I knew I was in for a sweet and carmely treat!

Imagine a thick, soft and chewy brown sugar cookie toped with a buttery brown sugar caramel icing. Because these bars are made in a 15×18 baking pan they make the perfect treat when you need to feed a crowd.

Making the recipe as is, you will end up with an almost too-sweet dessert that will more than satisfy the strongest of sweet tooth cravings with only a small serving.

These bars are made up of a soft and chewy base with brown sugar undertones that would be a great bar on its own (maybe some butterscotch or chocolate chips thrown into the batter?) In fact, if you wanted to make these bars even easier, you could easily skip the icing step and could sprinkle butterscotch chips over the top of the warm bars right out of the oven and then spread them into a thin layer as they melt.

However, If you do opt for the icing on top be prepared for a trip to the dentist! There is 6 cups of combined sugar in the icing alone! I know it covers a lot of bars, but yowza! Personally, I feel the icing layer was a bit too thick considering the depth of its flavor and could be scaled down to ¾ the amount next time (I have given the original proportions below so if you want to make a smaller batch you can reduce amounts accordingly).
I personally found these bars a tad too sweet when made according to the recipe but fell in love with the deep, buttery, carmely flavor of both the bar and the icing. I think each component could be stand alone and may too much when paired together (whith the amount of icing called for in the recipe). Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy these bars, if I were to make them with the icing again I would use a much thinner layer and reserve some of the icing for another treat, such as to slather on cupcakes or served warm drizzled over apple pie! MMMMM.

I took these bars to work and my boss and a co-worker asked around for an hour trying to find out who brought them as they fell in love with them! You have to understand, my boss went on and on about how great these were and he never does that and is not a huge sweet fan to begin with! Maybe my sweet tooth is too sensitive this holiday season.

I rate this recipe an 8

The recipe is from here

Butterscotch Bars with Brown Sugar Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Icing
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar (i sifted mine)
1/3 cup half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a half-sheet pan (13×18 inches) with aluminum foil and grease foil with butter or cooking spray.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating for another minute.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool completely before icing.
When brownies are cool, spread icing evenly over the top. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to allow the icing to firm up before cutting into squares.

While the bars are cooling, make the icing:

Brown Sugar Icing: In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 more minutes; set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the powdered sugar,  half-and-half and  vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined.
Note: If you don’t own a half-sheet pan, you can bake the brownies in a 9×13-inch pan. Adjust the baking time and watch them carefully. You may have too much icing.

Top 10 Recipes

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I hope that 2008 was a good year for you and that 2009 brings with it the  joy and happiness we all strive for in our lives. Here is a list of some of my favorite sweet recipes I think you need to make this year and why.  I can’t wait to begin baking in 2009!

I am interested in hearing from you! Which recipes from my site have you tried and what have you thought about them?

10. Frosted Marshmallow Bars
WHY: A family favorite for years that is sure to please. I love the subtle chocolate flavor the brownie has, making it the perfect base for marshmallow and chocolate frosting layers.  Trust me, if you like chocolate, these bars will be sure to please.

9. Blondies
WHY: So simple, so easy, so quick, so good. With endless varieties (check out my ‘blondie’ category) these are the perfect dessert. You can really take the base recipe and make them your own, I can’t wait to try more combinations of add-ins this year!

8. Intense Chocolate Shock Cookies
WHY: Usually I am not a fan of chocolate cookies but these grabbed my tastebuds and my heart. So rich and full of possibilities. I have added chopped PB cups, white chocolate, nuts etc. to them and they have turned out rich and fabulous every time.  Don’t trust me? How about Anna?

7. Oatmeal Carmelitas
WHY? These bars are so gooey with layers of chocolate and caramel sandwiched between an oatmeal base and topping. I have been making this recipe for years and years. It has always been one of my favorite dessert recipes.

6. The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
WHY: These are the best PB cookies I have had. They are soft, chewy, peanut buttery and I love that they have PB and Chocolate chips in them. The roll in sugar before baking really takes them over the top.

5. Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cinnamon Chips
WHY: These are perfect for the holiday season with their flavor combination of ginger and cinnamon.  I absolutely loved these cookies, they remained chewy for days and the little bursts of cinnamon chips through out the cookie made these stand out from the ordinary ginger cookie.

4. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars
WHY? These don’t require baking, making them perfect for days when you don’t want to use the oven. Their combination of peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal is one of my all time favorites, a sure winner!

3. Oreo Fudge Bars
WHY: If the title alone doesn’t tell you, I am not sure what else to say.  These have been requested by my friends and co-workers alike. The best part is they are so simple to make, require few ingredients yet can be ‘dressed’ up to look like a fancy dessert if needed.

2. Double Butterscotch Cookies
WHY: These have turned out to be one of my all time favorite cookies ever. I am in LOVE the flavor of these cookies. The dough can either be dropped and baked or formed into logs and frozen for slice and bake cookies later.  I prefer the drop method but either way these did not last long. 

1. Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
WHY: My all time favorite and most requested brownie recipe. If you are a fan of PB and chocolate, look no further than this recipe. Make them soon and make them often. These are worth cheating on your New Years resolution to diet. Trust me.

Peanut Butter Blondies

What to do when you sweet tooth calls but you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen or go to the store for ingredients?? Make Blondies!!

I love Blondies!! It is no lie. They are so simple to whip up, use easy to remember measurements (no recipe card needed, yeah!) and can be easily doubled to serve a larger crowd. Best of all they taste great and are so adaptable to what ever ‘add-in’ ingredients I have on hand and can be changed to meet the preferences of pretty much anyone. (Anyone who has a sweet tooth that is!)

As any reader of this blog knows I am a BIG BIG fan of sweets that have Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I took the recipe for my Basic Blondies but decided to add Peaut Butter in place of some of the butter and of course added some chocolate chips. The result? MMMM Good. These have a light peanut butter flavor and are great warm or chilled. I enjoyed one warm with some vanilla icecream. Later I had one cooled with hot fudge and chopped Reese’s cups. Either way these satisfied my sweet tooth and cured my craving for a peanut buttery treat! Definately a keeper that I can’t wait to make again.

Next time I will add chopped Reese’s PB cups on top the last 10 minutes of baking for an extra burst of Peanut Butter flavor!1

I rate these bars an 8.5 (I think the addition of chopped Reese’s would make them great)

Peanut Butter Blondies with Peanut Butter Cup
4-5 TBS butter, almost melted
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Creamy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used a combination of Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet)
*Next time I will chop some Reese’s PB cups (maybe 4 or so) and press them gently on top the last 10 mintues of baking. Or substitute some PB chips for some/all the chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter for 20-30 seconds until almost/all melted. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Stir the peanut butter into the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the brown sugar to the butter/peanut butter and stir until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine.  Add the flour, baking powder adn salt to the peanut butter mixtuer and stir just to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips and any other additions (chopped nuts, chopped Reese’s cups, Reese’s pieces, etc).

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 24 minutes)

Cool on rack before cutting.

For another version of PB blondies check out a fellow blogger who also made some yummy treats!!

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

They sound great don’t they!
I rarely bake using fruit (not sure why because I LOVE fruit!!) and have been playing around with this dessert idea in my head for some time. I wanted to make a blondie that utilized one of my favorite fruits and decided to try and make a Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondie.

These did  not come out as I had pictured in my head. While good, they did not have as strong as strawberry flavor as I had hoped and the cheesecake swirl was kind of sticky and gummy (not the smooth and creamy consistency I was envisioning). I think the cheesecake portion was gummy because I had added a large amount of preserves to the mixture in an attempt to create a real strawberry flavor. I ended up with cheesecake batter that was thinner than I had wanted but I did not want to add more cream cheese to dilute the strawberry flavor.
Next time I may try Strawberry flavored Cream Cheese along with a few preserves. I did not use the flavored cream cheese this go around because I think it can taste artificial and I wanted to keep the recipe as ‘pure’ as possible.

I also did not add a lot of ‘extras’ to the batter since this was my first attempt and really wanted to test out the flavor of the strawberry cheesecake swirl. I did add a few white chocolate chunks which complimented the flavors nicely and added a bit of textural interest to the bars. I bet toasted pecans would be wonderful as well. As is these were best after cooling in the fridge for 24 hours and served cold with a scoop of Strawberry Icecream!

All in all this is a good bar but could use some improvements to live up to what I have pictured in my head. Like I said, next time I will try flavored cream cheese and less preserves in order to keep the cheesecake swirl nice and creamy. I would suggest trying these out and adding your own twist! If you have a successful recipe be sure to let me know!!

I rate these bars a 6 (but they have potential to be much better!)
I would give these a 7 after chilling 24 hours and served with Strawberry Icecream

Blondies
6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coarsley chopped White Baking Chocolate

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Seedless Strawberry Preserves
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk
1-3 drops Red food coloring (optional but I used)

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and food coloring if using and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder.
Mix in chopped white chocolate and nuts (if using)

Pour 2/3 batter into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup strawberry cream cheese mixture and remaining blondie batter over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 32 minutes)
Cool on rack before cutting.

Basic Blondies

Once again I made a batch of Blondies. It is a recipe I have made a million times but just haven’t taken pictures. I had my camera out tonight so I thought I would snap a couple pictures to share.

I am in love with this recipe and love its versitility. I have tried more combinations of add-ins than I can count and each time they turn out Delish! I added toasted pecans, toffee pieces and white chocolate chunks to this batch. Here are some other variations I have really enjoyed but feel free to mix and match add-ins to meet your tastes!

I rate this recipe a 9

PB chips/Milk Chocolate Chips/Reese’s Pieces
Dried Cranberries/White Chocolate Chunks/ Toasted Walnuts
Toffee pieces/Toasted Pecans/Butterscotch chips
Diced apples/cinnamon/Cinnamon chips
Reese’s PB cups, chopped/ Grated Hershey’s bar
Toasted Coconut/Macadamian nuts

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

I haven’t baked forever (stupid work, keeping me busy) and couldn’t wait to whip up some goodies this morning. I had half a block of cream cheese that needed to be used up and decided to experiment a bit and add a Cheesecake Swirl to a slight variation of my Basic Blondie recipe.

The results were great, even though the colors of the cheesecake swirl and the blondies blend together so it is hard to distinguish between the two visually. The cinnamon in the Cheesecake swirl was not overpowering and complimented the cinnamon chips and the hint of cinnamon I added to the blondie recipe nicely.

These were really good warm with a scoop of cinnamon icecream and warm carmel sauce drizzled over the top. MMM.

I rate these bars a 9

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies
6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Hershey’s Brand Cinnamon Chips (optional, white chocolate chips or walnuts would be good as well)

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder and cinnamon.
Mix in Cinnamon Chips and/or nuts or other chips (if using)

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup cinnamon cream cheese mixture over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 27 minutes)Cool on rack before cutting.

Raggety Top Bars

because that is the adjective used in the title of these delicious little bars.
Raggety Top Bars.

This recipe comes from a hand written cookbook given to me by my wonderful grandma. She is the baker of all bakers. I have many childhood memories centered around her delicious baked goods (breads, chocolate chip cookies, scones and biscuits to name a few)
I loved going to her house as she always had some yummy goodies baked up for me to enjoy. I don’t remember these bars but my mom sure does. These are one of my mom’s favorite bar recipes that my grandma used to make for her. My grandma does not remember where this recipe originated so I am giving credit to her, (If someome knows who created the original, let me know and I will cite them).

Upon first looking at this recipe I thought it looked deliciously similar to my Basic Blondie recipe. It is very similar, however the base of these bars are not as ooey and toffee-like as the base of the blondies. Don’t get me wrong though, these bars are very very good and are made all the better by the sinful chocolate/coconut/nut topping that blankets the top of them. The topping is thick and gooey and oh so good. It does firm up as it cools but it still may it difficult to store as stacking the bars on top of eachother may cause the bars to stick together.

If you like the Basic Blondies and have run out of combinations of add-ins, try adding a topping to them. This recipe is a great and will definately be made again. Next time I may use butterscotch chip instead of chocolate for the topping and try toasting different nuts to stir into the topping. If desired you could also stir nuts, chips or dried fruit into the batter for the bars before baking (however, I do like that the topping is the main focus of these basic bars).

In any case, I love a recipe that has unlimited possibilites and that allows you to truly make the recipe your own!
I rate this recipe a 6.5

Raggedty Top Bars
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter (very soft)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
*Raggedty Topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a foil lined 9×13 pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder and salt just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 27-35 minutes or until golden on top. Remove bars from oven.

Place dollups of Raggedty Topping evenly over bars using a greased spoon (do not spread).
Return bars to oven for 2 minutes or until topping is spreadable. Remove and with a buttered knife gently spread topping over bars. If desired sprinkle more coconut and nuts over top of bars. Return to oven and bake for 6-7 minutes more.

**Prepare topping with 5 minutes of baking time left on bars

Raggedty Topping
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup chocolate chips (can use butterscotch chips instead) *I used 1/2 milk and 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 TBS butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup shredded coconut

In a pan over low heat, stir together the syrup, chips, butter and vanilla until chips are melted. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and nuts.

**NOTE: Next time I would double the topping recipe, it was so good and the bars could have handled more.