This recipe comes out of a handwritten cookbook of my grandma’s recipes. I received a copy of her her favorite recipes including her Oatmeal Fudge Bars. I love this cookbook and everytime I make a recipe from it I picture my grandma in her kitchen (with two stoves/ovens) baking bread and goodies each day. I loved to help her and can’t wait until I have children and grandchildren to create memories with them and share my passion for cooking and baking.
These bars a cross between cake and a brownie. They are not as light and fluffy as cake but don’t have that true uber chocolate flavor like a brownie would (even cake-like brownies). I made these for movie night with some friends. I wanted something chocolately but not overly so or too rich. I also wanted something that we could eat with our hands and not need a bowl and fork/spoon. I had recently made cupcakes and was not in the mood to make them again. I wanted a bar recipe but after paging through my cookbooks I did not find one that jumped out at me. That is when I reached for my grandma’s cookbook and the title caught my eye. That was exactly what I was looking for!
These bars have a more dense texture than cake but in a good way. I like the fact that they incorporate chocolate into the batter without it dominating the overall flavor of the bar. It is like a marbled cake but in bar form. The batter was very thick and I had a difficult time ‘swirling’ the two together. I swirled very little for fear of mixing the two batter together making the two distinct colors merge into a lightly colored cake bar.
These were eaten up by my friends in no time, even by the non-sweet eaters. I will admit that we did eat a few after the movie with a scoop of icecream, hot fudge and toasted walnuts on top. I have to say that I loved the texture of these bars with the icecream and hot fudge better than a cookie.
I would make these again. Next time I might add mini chocolate chips or toasted walnuts (as called for in the recipe) to the batter. My swirling technique was not the best with these bars because the batter was thick. Next time I think I will swirl more than I did this time, for appearance sake. Either way, these are worth a try and are easy to modify to your family’s preferences (toasted nuts, M&M’s, chocolate chips, PB chips, toasted coconut etc.) These would even be good frosted!
I rate this recipe a 7.5
Swirled Cake Bars
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening (or butter)(I used 1/2 cup shortening 1/4 cup butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts (I omitted because I had none)
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I used 1 oz semi-sweet and 1 oz bittersweet)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Lightly spray and flour a 9×13 pan with PAM.
In a small bowl wisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl cream the shortening and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat only to combine. Mix in the flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Spoon half the batter into another bowl. Fold the 1/2 cup of nuts into the vanilla batter. Gently pour batter into prepared pan.
To the remaining batter fold in the melted chocolate until incorporated. Gently drop spoonfulls of the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter in the pan. Using a greased knife, cut through the two batter to create swirl patter. Top with remaining nuts.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
*Mine baked in 24 minutes.