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Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Crumb Bars

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Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Crumb Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

When I was a kid and spent a lot of time at my grandma’s, there were two things (among countless others) that were a constant: a box of Entenmann’s in the kitchen, and a coffee warmer filled to the brim sat on the dining room table all day. The coffee was primarily for my grandma and great aunt – they would frequently refill their coffee cups throughout the day. The Entenmann’s, however, was there just in case a neighbor happened to stop by sometime throughout the day. More often than not, I (along with my sister and cousins) were happy to indulge in a pastry or two. My grandma always bought the danish-style pastries with the cream cheese filling and fruit on top.

Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Crumb Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

Since the warm weather hit, I’ve been thinking about doing some type of bar with cherries but couldn’t settle on exactly what I wanted to make. Then, one day I had a flashback of sitting at my grandma’s dining room table, coffee warmer on the table, and taking slice after slice of one of those danishes. I decided to make a crumb-style bar that emulated those nostalgic danishes.

Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Crumb Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

I started with the crumb recipe used in the blueberry crumb bars from last summer, and par baked the bottom crust. Then, I added a simple sweetened cream cheese layer, topped it with cherry pie filling, and crumbled the remaining crumb mixture on top. Baked until golden brown, and then a simple drizzle of a powdered sugar glaze.

These. Are. Fabulous. The crumb crust and topping is crunchier and more sturdy than its danish counterpart, but the combination of flavors makes me feel like I’m sitting at my grandma’s dining room table. And honestly? There was never a better place to be.

Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Crumb Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

One year ago: Key Lime Pie Bars
Two years ago: Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
Four years ago: Rocky Road Ice Cream
Five years ago: Italian Supreme Calzones

Yield: 20 to 24 bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Layers of cream cheese and cherry pie filling sandwiched between crumb layers and drizzled with icing.

Ingredients:

For the Crumb:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg

For the Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 (21-ounce) cans cherry pie filling

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze (optional):
½ cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. Make the Crumb: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter, and then the egg (the dough will be crumbly). Press half of dough into the prepared pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Set on a wire rack to cool.

3. Make the Filling: In a separate large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Using an offset spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture into an even layer over the crust. Spoon the cherry pie filling in an even layer over the cream cheese mixture. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the cherry layer.

4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown. Cool completely before adding the glaze.

5. Make the Powdered Sugar Glaze (if using): In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla extract. Add more cream if you want a thinner glaze, or more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze. Drizzle over the bars and allow to set.

6. The bars can be served at room temperature or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

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Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

There are few desserts I cherish more than a fabulous cheesecake. I fell in love with those dense, creamy desserts as a teenager and have been enamored with them ever since. I don’t really discriminate as far as flavors go – plain with fresh strawberries, pumpkin, or loaded up with things like Oreo cookies, Snickers bars, or peanut butter. I love them all and will devour each with abandon.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

Last year, I found my favorite basic cheesecake recipe, and I have been wanting to replicate an easy version of a cheesecake bar for those times when it’s easier to cut them up and serve them for a more casual get-together. When I think of bar desserts, I always think of summer. Picnics and cookouts are the perfect reason to forgo the fancy plate and fork desserts for the simpler, handheld bar desserts.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

As we usher in summer (I can’t believe it’s June!), I thought a basic cheesecake bar with a swirl of seasonal flavor like strawberries would be fabulous. For these, I used a very basic cheesecake bar recipe and swirled in seedless strawberry jam. The perfect combination of flavors and a super simple bar for picking up and nibbling!

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

Two years ago: Black Bean Salsa and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars
Three years ago: Fruit Dip
Four years ago: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Five years ago: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 47 to 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Rich and delicious cheesecake bars with a swirl of strawberry jam.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
7 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1 cup of fine crumbs)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam

Directions:

1. Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over the edges of the pan; lightly grease the foil.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, flour and salt to combine. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and use a fork to mix it until the entire mixture is moistened. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the crust to starts to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until it is completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter over the baked crust.

4. Using a spoon, drop dollops of the strawberry jam all over the surface of the cheesecake batter, then use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl the jam into the batter. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan and slice into bars. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

(Base cheesecake recipe modified from America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010)

Brown Eyed Baker

Almond Joy Cookie Bars

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Almond Joy Cookie Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

Total disclosure right off the bat – I was not a fan of Almond Joy candy bars when I was younger. I had no room for things like almonds and coconut when I could have peanuts, nougat and caramel. It just seemed like a no-brainer to little ol’ me. Fast forward many years and, while I still go gaga over peanuts, nougat and caramel, I am just as equally enamored with things like almonds and coconut.

The chewy, chunky blondies that I made years ago from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours has always been one of my favorite blondies, so I returned to that base to create the Almond Joy bars. I swapped in almonds, coconut and chocolate chips and I fell in love immediately.

If you’re a lover of anything to do with nuts, coconut and chocolate, I urge you to make these immediately!

They’re a great addition to any upcoming summer cookout, as well – perfectly portable and easy to eat without a fork and knife.

Almond Joy Cookie Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

One year ago: DIY: Iced Coffee
Two years ago: Key Lime Pie
Three years ago: Raspberry Streusel Bars
Five years ago: Easy Fudge
Seven years ago: Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage

Yield: 24 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Cookie bars with all of the flavors in Almond Joy candy bars – almonds, coconut and chocolate!

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, almonds and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the top as best as you can.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Cut into bars; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Brown Eyed Baker

Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars

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Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

If you don’t like the taste of coffee, you can stop right here.

While some coffee-flavored desserts are mixed together with things like chocolate or butter that temper the flavor, there is no buffer in this recipe. It’s a coffee wallop, if ever there was one. I have never been a coffee drinker, as it’s just too bitter for me unless I include a truckload of sugar and cream. At that point, I’d much rather eat my calories than drink them (pass the chocolate chip cookie, please). However, I am a huge fan of coffee-flavored desserts. Go figure, so weird, right?! I’m quite sure it just might have something to do with that whole sugar notion.

Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

While cheesecakes are one of my favorite dessert categories, making them can sometimes be overwhelming for beginners and time-consuming for everyone. Thus, the cheesecake bar! It mixes up very quickly and is significantly less muss and fuss than baking an entire cheesecake.

These babies have espresso powder in both the crust and the filling, so there is no meek or subtle flavor here. The cheesecake bars are smooth and creamy and taste just like a cappuccino; all you need is a dollop of whipped cream on top and dessert is ready!

Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

One year ago: Buttermilk Pie and Black and White Cookies
Two years ago: Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Three years ago: Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Creamy cheesecake bars spiked with espresso powder and topped with whipped cream.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (9 whole graham crackers)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Make the Filling:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar
5 teaspoons espresso powder
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and espresso powder. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the mixture and use a fork to stir until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crust into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes; the crust should be light brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

3. Make the Filling: In a small bowl, stir together the espresso powder, heavy cream and vanilla extract until smooth and the espresso powder is dissolved, set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the espresso mixture and beat to combine, then add the egg and beat until everything has been thoroughly combined.

5. Spread the filling over the prepared crust and bake until the filling appears set, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours. Cut into bars and serve with whipped cream. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Pie Bars

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Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

When I go Christmas shopping, I have a bit of a bad habit. Very rarely, if ever, do I manage to get through an entire shopping trip without buying at least one thing for myself that catches my eye. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be out shopping for everyone else. However, sometimes when you’re just browsing, you tend to stumble upon some fantastic finds.

This past holiday season, I spent a good chunk of an afternoon wandering around Barnes & Noble. I really hope that brick and mortar book stores never disappear completely; I thoroughly enjoy floating from section to section, leafing through books that look interesting, and totally losing all sense of time. On that particular day, there was a display of local, Pittsburgh-themed books and among them was a new cookbook with dishes from popular restaurants around the city. I snatched it up for myself, along with a handful of other books for people on my shopping list.

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays died down, I curled up on the couch with this book and dug in. Almost every single one of them jumped out at me, and there were at least a couple that I had enjoyed before. When I flipped the page to these lemon meringue bars, a light bulb went off. I’ve never been head over heels for lemon bars; I find that they’re generally a little too tart for my super sweet taste buds. However, lemon meringue pie, I can always get behind. The crust and the meringue help to balance the tart of the lemon; plus, I never turn down pie.

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

These bars offer all of the best parts of pie, but without the fuss of a pie crust, blind baking, or making lemon curd. The crust bakes up into a soft, almost cookie-like base, which I found to be absolutely phenomenal. The filling is tart without being bitter, and then oh, that beautiful meringue!

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

As you can see, it piles up extremely high, which I just adore. Big, pillowy layers of meringue toasted with a kitchen torch. If you prefer smaller, hand-held bars, you could cut the amount of meringue down. I personally love that it’s a pretty low-maintenance dessert, but makes such a grand statement.

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

If this recipe and the book have taught me anything, it’s that it is absolutely, 100% A-OKAY to buy yourself presents while Christmas shopping for others :)

Sky-High Lemon Meringue Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Sweet Potato Pretzel Dog Treats
Two years ago: New England Clam Chowder and Granola Cookies
Three years ago: Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Four years ago: Maple-Oatmeal Scones
Six years ago: Happy 1st Birthday Einstein!

Yield: 9 bars

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A graham-flavored crust is topped with a lemon custard and torched meringue. All the flavor of a lemon meringue pie in an easy-to-eat (and make!) bar.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Meringue Topping:
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
6 egg whites, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8×8-inch square baking pan, then line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on each side. Set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour and graham cracker crumbs, mixing until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat into an even layer (the dough will be rather soft). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.

3. Make the Filling: Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the yolks on high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the condensed milk and beat until light and fluffy, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the lemon juice and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and the center does not jiggle when the pan is moved. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Once completely cooled, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

5. Make the Meringue Topping: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the water, and the corn syrup over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, do not stir, and heat to 240 degrees F.

6. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. If the sugar syrup has not yet reached 240 degrees, turn the mixer off and wait. Once the syrup reaches the correct temperature, turn the mixer speed to medium and add the syrup to the bowl in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy and cool, about 7 minutes.

7. Spread the meringue on top of the chilled lemon bar, swirling to form peaks. Using a kitchen torch, torch the meringue to a golden brown color. If you do not own a torch, you can place the pan in a 500 degree F oven for a few minutes to brown the top. Be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Allow the meringue to cool, then slice into bars and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Crumb Bars

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Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

When I start to see big displays of canned pumpkin adorning the endcaps of supermarket aisles, my heart skips a beat. While I really enjoy baking with pumpkin, it’s also a sign that my favorite time of year is here. Yes, I love the beautiful, changing leaves (they are a million different colors right now!), the crisp air, cozy sweatshirts, and nightly mugs of hot chocolate. However, those displays also signal that the holidays are right around the corner. I love all holidays, but Thanksgiving has always been extra special to me. While Christmas is usually dominated by shopping and gifts, Thanksgiving is allowed to bask in the glory of amazing food, great wine and a day spent just being with friends and family. I think that’s why pumpkin tugs at my heart strings so much.

Never one to settle for plain pumpkin pie, I love experimenting with different pumpkin recipes. This combination of an oatmeal crumb bar and pumpkin pie filling is so unique, I didn’t wait long to try it.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

This is the first time I tried a combination of oats and pumpkin. What took me so long?! The flavors are such a natural complement to each other, and the texture contrast between the oat crumb and the silky smooth pumpkin pie filling is fantastic. The top is nice and crunchy, then you get to the creamy pie layer, followed up by the firm crust. I may or may not have eaten multiple pieces when I originally cut into them. Oops!

These bars have got me in the mood to plan a Thanksgiving menu! Do you have any pumpkin recipe requests for this fall?

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Maple-Walnut Ice Cream
Three years ago: Russian Pound Cake
Four years ago: Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars
Five years ago: Lavash Crackers

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 to 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Pumpkin pie filling sandwiched between two layers of oatmeal crumb bars.

Ingredients:

For the Oatmeal Crumb:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups canned pumpkin
⅓ cup evaporated milk

Directions:

1. Make the Oatmeal Crumb: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust oven racks to center and upper-middle positions. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over the sides; set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to combine. Add both the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until no clumps remain. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, then stir with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 15 minutes.

3. Make the Pumpkin Pie Filling: Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Finally, whisk in the pumpkin, and then the evaporated milk until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.

4. When the crust has finished baking, pour the pumpkin pie filling over the bottom crust and return it to the center rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, pinch the remaining oatmeal crumb mixture into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin pie filling. Return the pan to the oven, placing it on the upper-middle rack, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden on top and the center only jiggles slightly.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, at least 1 to 2 hours. Then, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Carrot-Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

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Carrot-Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Icing by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

It’s about that time, isn’t it? The time during the summer when zucchini plants are absolutely exploding in gardens everywhere. Zucchinis seem to multiply like rabbits from day-to-day. One day you go out and pick five zucchini, don’t see a trace of any others, and by the next morning there are four more full-size zucchini ready to be plucked. If you’ve ever had a garden, you know the joys that come from eating produce that was grown right outside your window. You also know that by the middle of August, you start running out of people to gift with zucchini and tomatoes. That means it’s time to bake!

Carrot-Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Icing by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I have more than a few zucchini recipes on the site already, but now that my mom’s garden is heading into overdrive, it’s a good time to start cranking out a few new recipes. I spied this carrot-zucchini bar recipe awhile back on Pinterest and saved it for the summer, when I knew I would have garden-fresh zucchini at my fingertips. These bars taste like a cross between carrot cake and zucchini bread; topped with an easy cream cheese icing, they make a perfect snack or dessert.

Do you have standby zucchini recipes for when the garden goes crazy?!

Carrot-Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Icing by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Blackberry Gin Fizz Float
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Yeast Bread Recipes
Three years ago: Chocolate Fudge Swirl Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Four years ago: Italian Wedding Soup
Five years ago: Pain Ordinaire Careme
Six years ago: Italian Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

An easy recipe for Carrot-Zucchini bars; a great way to use up extra zucchini from the garden!

Ingredients:

For the Bars:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
½ cup chopped walnuts

For the Cream Cheese Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Make the Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and baking soda; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, honey, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until no flour remains. Fold in the carrots, zucchini and walnuts.

4. Spread the batter into an ungreased 9×13-inch pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Spread evenly over the cooled bars. The bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • The ginger flavor in these is fairly pronounced, so if you don’t like ginger feel free to omit it or substitute cinnamon. You can also use walnuts in place of the pecans, or really any other nut that you like.

Brown Eyed Baker

Blueberry Crumb Bars

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Blueberry Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Ahh, sweet blueberries. I am positively obsessed with them right now. I’ve been eating them by the handful… and with cottage cheese… and in a bowl of cinnamon shredded wheat… and in every baked good I can possibly imagine. I can’t imagine a day when I’ll ever tire of baking with blueberries. This past weekend, I decided to combine blueberries with one of my favorite desserts – crumb bars! Give me anything with a crumb topping and I’ll devour it faster than you can say “butter”. Quite a few years ago, I made peach crumb bars, which I successfully turned into blueberry crumb bars. If you can go wrong with fresh fruit and a buttery crumb crust and topping, I haven’t found a way.

Blueberry Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I’m sure you could easily adapt these bars to use up whatever type of berry you have in your fridge, but I am definitely partial to the blueberry. It’s my favorite of the berry family, plus I just love that beautiful purple color that baked blueberries exude.

Prepare yourself for the fact that you will continue to cut “just a little piece” until half of the pan is gone. It’s unavoidable; just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Blueberry Crumb Bars by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Pie & Tart Recipes
Three years ago: Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Four years ago: Vanilla & Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta

Yield: 20 to 24 bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Crumb bars loaded in the middle with fresh blueberries.

Ingredients:

For the Crumb:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg

For the Blueberry Filling:
4 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Juice of one lemon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. Make the Crumb: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter, and then the egg (the dough will be crumbly). Press half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently fold in the blueberries to coat evenly with the sugar mixture. Spread the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust, drizzling any excess juice in the bowl over the filling. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the blueberry layer.

4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Brown Eyed Baker

Key Lime Pie Bars

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Key Lime Pie Bars

There are few desserts that make me think of carefree vacation days filled with sunshine and warm ocean breezes more than key lime pie. It has a smooth, light texture and is packed with a lime punch. The flavor of citrus – be it lemon, lime, orange, etc. – always makes me think of sunny days; it has such a bright flavor. Last year, I made my first key lime pie and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to assemble and bake. I’m a big fan of portable desserts and with summer picnics in full force right now, I thought that a key lime bar was long overdue.

Key Lime Pie Bars

Just as with the pie, these bars came together in no time at all. You’d think that a creamy pie filling such as this would require a tedious curd, but instead you simply whisk together a tiny bit of cream cheese, lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, an egg yolk and lime juice… pour into the crust and bam! Done!

While key limes can sometimes be hard to come by unless you live in a major citrus-growing area, you can also substitute regular limes for both the zest and the juice. The crust is made with animal crackers (my inner kid loved munching on the leftovers!), but if you can’t find them, you could easily use graham crackers or your favorite basic cookie for the crumb crust.

Key Lime Pie Bars

A crunchy crumb crust combined with a cool, creamy filling and zesty lime flavor is the perfect recipe for a hot summer day.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Key Lime Pie Bars

One year ago: Chinese Coleslaw and Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Brownie Recipes and Zucchini Pineapple Bread
Three years ago: Rocky Road Ice Cream
Four years ago: Italian Supreme Calzones

Yield: 16 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A recipe for Key Lime Pie Bars – all the wonderful flavors of the pie, but in easy bar form!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the Filling:
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Pinch of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
½ cup Key lime juice

For the Garnish:
¾ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing the extra foil to hang over the edges of the pan. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Make the Crust: Process the animal crackers in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. Add the brown sugar and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

3. Make the Filling: Stir together the cream cheese, lime zest and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Whisk in the egg yolk, then add the lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.

4. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the filling set and the edges are beginning to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the pan and lift the bars from the pan using the foil overhangs. Cut into 16 squares and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

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Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

I first began hearing about Nanaimo Bars a few years ago, when they started popping up on some food blogs and all over Pinterest. They were new to me, and I quickly learned that they are a Canadian dessert, made popular in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, by a local housewife who submitted the recipe for a cookbook back in the 1950′s. The original bars were made of a chocolate crumb base, topped with a vanilla custard filling and then a chocolate ganache. I’ve been wanting to try them for some time now, and then received an email from a sweet reader who offered me a peanut butter version of the famous bar. It took me all of two seconds to respond with an enthusiastic, “yes, please!” You know I can’t turn down peanut butter recipes!

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

It probably comes as no surprise that I absolutely LOVED these bars. The base is a wonderfully dense and chewy chocolate mixture that includes coconut and graham cracker crumbs. The base is topped with a peanut butter filling that reminds me of a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and then a final layer of chocolate ganache is spread over top. Aside from the base, the rest of the bar tastes very similar to the Buckeye Brownies that I made earlier this year. The base of these aren’t as rich as a traditional brownie, but the combination of flavors is phenomenal.

Now I can’t wait to make traditional Nanaimo bars!

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

One year ago: Hamburger Buns and Mojito Cupcakes
Two years ago: Sweet and Salty Brownies
Three years ago: Pea in a Pod Baby Shower Cookies

Yield: 24 bars

Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

A peanut butter version of the popular Nanaimo Bars.

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 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Make the Base: In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar and eggs. Use a large wooden spoon to stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and cocoa powder until completely combined. Transfer to prepared baking pan and press evenly into pan. (The mixture will be a little sticky, so you may need to wet your fingers a bit and then press it in.) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until firm and no longer shiny. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before preparing the filling.

3. Make the Filling: Microwave the peanut butter and butter in a large bowl until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk in two additions, whisking until smooth. Spread evenly over the base and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

4. Make the Topping: Using a double boiler (or a microwave on 50% power), melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the filling and allow to set at room temperature (or refrigerate to speed up the process) before cutting into bars and serving. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

(Recipe provided by reader S.M.C.)

Brown Eyed Baker

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

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Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Cheesecake has long been my dessert infatuation of choice. Having never been a big fan of traditional cake with frosting (I know, right?!), I started turning to birthday alternatives around the time I was in middle school. I went through an ice cream cake phase, then it was tiramisu and finally, cheesecake. I’ve had some version of cheesecake for my birthday more years than I can count. Once I really got the baking bug, I started experimenting with baking my own. The very first birthday “cake” that I made myself was an Oreo Cheesecake, as that was my favorite flavor from The Cheesecake Factory at the time. I don’t make many cheesecake bars (instead opting for a cheesecake the size of my head), but after playing around with some cheesecake bars this summer, I decided I needed to make more of them. An Oreo version was the next logical step.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars have a thick, substantial crust, which I love. Nothing is worse than cheesecake or cheesecake bars that sit upon a wimpy, thin, soggy crust. Thick and sturdy is the only way to go, and this crust fits the bill. On top is a smooth, creamy cheesecake that is absolutely packed with chopped Oreo cookies. One of the things I love about cheesecake bars is that I don’t feel nearly as guilty about eating two as I do when I eat two pieces of cheesecake (not that that’s ever stopped me!).

I haven’t used them in this recipe yet, but if you wanted to go the 100% from-scratch route, you could even use homemade Oreos! That cuts down on the guilt factor even more ;-)  If you give them a try in the recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes!

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreos… Cheesecake…

Life is very good.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

One year ago: Cheddar and Ale Soup with Potato & Bacon
Three years ago: Quiche Lorraine Scones

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours

A bar version of the fabulous Oreo Cheesecake, complete with an Oreo crumb crust and a creamy cheesecake loaded with chopped Oreo cookies!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
23 Oreo cookies (store-bought or homemade)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sour cream
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
12 Oreo cookies (store-bought or homemade), coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two of the sides.

2. Make the Crust: Process the Oreo cookies in a food processor until they are turned into fine crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over top and pulse a handful of times until the butter is evenly distributed and all of the crumbs are moist. Dump the crumbs into the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes (leave the oven on).

3. Make the Cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.

4. Slowly add the eggs, beating well after each addition, and mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream and vanilla, beating until incorporated.

5. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos, then pour the batter over the prepared crust, smoothing it into an even layer. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly, about 40 to 50 minutes.

6. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.

7. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment or foil handles. Slice into bars and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Brown Eyed Baker

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Earlier this month, when I made a batch of maple-walnut ice cream, I mentioned how any mention of maple reminds of a classic episodes of Friends, as well as Buddy the Elf. Truth be told, both Ross and Buddy knew what they were talking about. Maple is such a pure, clean flavor, and unfortunately, it often times takes a backseat to other favorite fall baking ingredients, like pumpkin and apple. In an effort to increase my maple syrup consumption leading up to multiple viewings of Elf starting in November, I picked up a ginormous bottle of pure maple syrup and hit the kitchen. This recipe certainly encompasses the best that fall has to offer – maple, pumpkin, gingersnaps and cheesecake, not to mention cinnamon and the usual suspects when it comes to fall spices. If you’re looking for fall flavors, these bars are a total win.

While I love, absolutely love cheesecake, there’s no denying that it’s a lengthy process to make one from scratch. They are totally worth the effort, but between the long bake time, cool time and chill time, sometimes you don’t get to taste your creation until the next day. These bars are the perfect compromise. They are essentially a pumpkin cheesecake filling, spiked with maple, and poured on top of a gingersnap crust (which means they can be thrown together quickly), but you can eat them as soon as they cool to room temperature. There are plenty of times in life when we need to practice patience; eating these bars is not one of those times. You can save up your patience for a trip to the doctor’s office, or the grocery store on a weekend morning ;-)

I love that these bars encompass all of my favorite flavors and textures of the season, and that they are contributing to my seasonal maple consumption. What’s your favorite flavor to bake with during this time of year?

One year ago: Salted Caramel Popcorn, Pretzel & Peanut Bars
Two years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Pecan Granola Bars
Three years ago: Potato Rosemary Bread
Four years ago: French Toast
Five years ago: Soft Pretzels, Part II

Yield: 24 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A maple pumpkin cheesecake filling sits atop a gingersnap crust, for a fantastic fall dessert. No forks required!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
42 gingersnap cookies (about 9 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
2 eggs
1 (12-ounce) pan evaporated milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch ground cloves

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper so that it extends over each long side of the pan.

2. Make the Crust: In a food processor, pulse together the gingersnaps and sugar until they become fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few more times to incorporate. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

3. Making the Filling: While crust is baking, prepare the pumpkin filling. Beat together the cream cheese and the brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the evaporated milk, maple syrup and vanilla, and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves and mix on low to incorporate.

4. Pour the filling over the prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until the filling is set in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Once the bars have cooled to room temperature, you can cut and serve them, or you can refrigerate them and serve them chilled.

5. Using the parchment paper overhangs, lift the bars from the pan and onto a cutting surface. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream and candy corn, if desired. Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Brown Eyed Baker