Cakey Lemon Bars

This recipe showed up in my Google Reader a while back and I immediately bookmarked them. My Taste Tester and I love a good lemon dessert and we are in love with the lemon cheesecake I make each year for his birthday. I have tried other lemon bar recipes and was excited to give this recipe a whirl.

The texture of these bars is more cake like than a typical lemon bar (as the name states). I  thought I would like these more than I did. The lemon flavor was mild and pleasing but there is just something ‘missing’ with this recipe for me to make them again. Overall I liked them but they just did not ‘wow’ me. I may have had too high of expectations though. I did really enjoy the glaze and may use that on some fruit or on a white chocolate blondie to mix it up a bit. My Taste Tester thought they were “OK” as well but has not asked for them again which is usually a sign that the recipe is not a keeper for our house.

If you like lemon and are looking for a twist on a lemon bar, give these a go, the recipe is simple and easy and the bars are good for a refreshing summer treat.  I would recommend eating these cool as the flavor does get better after a day or so.

I rate these a 6

Cakey Lemon Bars
from here
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Zest and juice two small lemons; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachement, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze by whisking together all three ingredients. Spread over the brownies with a rubber spatula, cut into bars, and serve!

Rice Krispy Treats Sandwich Bars

I found this recipe in my google reader, I had added it months and months ago but never got around to making them. Having a few extra days off for Christmas and having not consumed enough sugar (yeah right), I decided now was a good time to try them out.

I am not sure if I did something wrong or what, but these really didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like these, I really really did! But, instead, I found these to be really dry and to have too much butterscotch flavor for my liking. I followed the recipe exactly so I am not sure if I was just unlucky in the kitchen that day or what. Looking at the comments it seems many others like these so it may just be my finicky tastes as well.

The end product kind of reminded me of what my family calls Special K Bars except not nearly as good and a bit more work to make. I am willing to give these another go and maybe add more peanut butter next time to balance out the butterscotch flavor but I think next time I am craving a cereal snack bar I will stick with ones I know will satisfy my cravings!

I rate these a 6 (but would be willing to try again) 

Rice Krispy Treats Sandwich Bars
found here
3 cups (1 ½ 11-12oz bags) butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups (384gm) creamy peanut butter
12 cups (1 12oz box) crisp rice cereal
4 cups (2 11-12oz bags) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup (1 stick / 4oz) butter, cubed
2 cups (240gm) confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons water

Line the bottom of a 9×13” pan with parchment paper and spray the sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray (tip: use nonstick cooking spray to help the parchment paper stick to the pan – seems to go against the name of the product, but it works.)

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter, stirring. When smooth, remove from heat and add the crisp rice cereal. Stir to coat. Place half of the cereal mixture into the pan and pat down evenly. Place in the refrigerator to let it firm up a bit while preparing the chocolate.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Melt together in the microwave over medium-low heat, stirring every 60-90 seconds, until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar and water.

Spread the chocolate evenly over the cereal layer in the pan, then gently pat the remaining cereal mixture evenly on top. Refrigerate for at least two hours, then cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Makes 42.

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hate to start out a post this way but compared to the Double Butterscotch cookies I made earlier  these were disappointing. I found this recipe in a church cookbook I received for a birthday gift. I just love cookbooks like this as they often have tried and true family favorite recipes.

These cookies are not “bad” but they just didn’t wow me. The addition of sour cream in a cookie recipe is something I have never tried before today. As I expected they baked up puffy and cake-like with a light texture. I don’t mind cake-like cookies but much prefer the chewy version of chocolate chip cookies.

You can not taste the sour cream at all in the finished cookies but the dough had a tang to it. The dough was very sticky and was difficult to scoop onto the baking sheets using my scooper. I ended up using a table spoon and my finger to plop balls of dough onto the sheets to bake. I usually love to eat the dough when making cookies, but the texture and flavor of this dough was not apealing to me at all. I expected the dough to spread out more than it did while baking, especially since the dough was not as firm as most cookie doughs. In fact the cookies didn’t really spread at all and baked up pretty much how I spooned the dough onto the sheets so take care to make the dough blobs look pretty, haha.

The finished cookie, baked up nicely with golden bottoms even though the tops remained light in color. These are not cookies you want to eat right out of the oven, They are best after they have set for a few minutes. They remain nice and soft thanks to the sour cream adding extra moisture. I didn’t feel they had enough flavor or sweetness, maybe just my tastebuds.

Next time I would omit the chocolate chips and substitute 1 1/2- 2 cups toasted pecans, candied pecans or walnuts. I think these cookies would be good with a lightly sweet cream cheese icing to compliment the addition of nuts. I am not sure I will be making them again any time soon but feel they do have potential. If anyone makes these I would be interested in hearing their thoughts on them and any suggestions they have that may make me revisit this recipe sooner rather than later.

I rate these cookies a 6 (but have room for potential)

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup shortening or softened butter
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large mixing bowl cream shortening or butter, sour cream and sugars until well mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat to combine.
Measure flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Slowly add to creamed mixture and beat until combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9-12 minutes until bottoms are light to golden brown.
Cool on wire rack and store in covered container at room temperature.

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.

Just Chocolate Chip Cookies

I gave this post the title of “Just Chocolate Chip Cookies” because there is nothing really spectacular about them. They are just that. Just Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Going through my blog you will see that as much as I bake, I rarely make plain chocolate chip cookies. I felt it was time whip up a batch and turned to a new recipe I cut out of a flyer handed out at the super market. There was no citation as to where the recipe originated so if you know, post in the comments and I will give credit.

There was no description or intro for the recipe given so I was unsure how they would turn out. I was guessing they would be soft given the higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar called for and the fact that they were being baked at a higher temperature (causing less spread while baking because the edges bake and set faster than with cookies baked at a lower temp). One thing that did catch my eye was the small amount of butter (compared to other chocolate chip cookie recipes) called for. I was unsure the effect of this on the end product.

I chilled the dough for 15 minutes and in between baking. I baked them only until the edges turned light brown and the centers not quite set (I kept a close eye because each pan seemed to need a different bake time ranging from 8-12 minutes to achieve my desired doneness). These cookies did infact come out of the oven soft with a chew but after storing in an airtight container overnight there texture was still chewy but a little on the tough side, almost as if they were stale.

The small amount of butter called for left these cookies lacking in the flavor department in my opinion. This could be remedied by increasing the butter amount, adding extra vanila or more add-ins (chocolate chips, toffee pieces, nuts, etc).

However, these cookies were good eaten warm right out of the oven with the gooiness of chocolate. They are sturdy once cooled completely and would be great with a scoop of good ice cream sandwhiched between two of them as their flavor would not greatly compete with the ice cream. All in all a so-so cookie recipe but with your own tweaks they may be a winner in your house. Especially with icecream sandwiched in between two of them! For me, I think I will stick to my current chocolate chip cookie recipe for now.

I rate these cookies a 6 as is but they may have potential.

Just Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the supermarket flyer
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/8 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate  chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans (I omitted because I did not have any on hand)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and egg until well combined (scraping bowl as needed to evenly combine ingredients)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed just until absorbed. Fold in the chocolate chips (and nuts if using).

Using a medium scooper or a spoon, drop balls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.
Allow to cool on sheet for 5 minutes to set. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in airtight container.

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.