Chocolate and caramel are such a great combination! And I’m very partial to dark chocolate so I love these Dark Chocolate Caramel Bars! This is a really good and easy recipe—it uses cake mix as part of the ingredients for the yummy chocolatey crust, so it’s simple to put together. I usually prefer making things from scratch, but sometimes a mix comes in handy if you’re in a time crunch. And these bars are so good you may not mind that they’re made with cake mix!Continue reading
I was wanting to make some cookie bars with M&M’s and since it’s so close to the 4th of July, I thought I might as well make them patriotic! So I used mini red, white, and blue M&M’s and some fun sprinkles, and theses Patriotic M&M’s Cookie Bars turned out so colorful and yummy! They are thick and chewy and very chocolatey, because they also have some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed in. If that sounds like too much chocolate (is there such a thing?), you can always leave out the mini chocolate chips.Continue reading
Dark chocolate and shortbread are two of my favorite sweets, and I discovered that they make a great combination as a cookie bar! Several years ago, I had found a recipe on the Eagle Brand® site and made it as directed, but was a little disappointed because my shortbread crust and the chocolate layer did not turn out as nice and thick as their recipe photo. But they had tasted good, so I decided to revisit the recipe, using dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips, and making them in a 9×9″ pan instead of 9×13.” I was hoping using a smaller pan would give me a thicker crust–and it did. I liked the way these turned out in the 9×9″ pan so much better!
Be sure to chill these bars for three hours before you try cutting them, because they’ll cut easier. The shortbread base will crumble some, so you need to cut them carefully.
DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND SHORTBREAD SQUARES by NancyC, adapted from Eagle Brand®
Makes a 9 x 9″ pan
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 (10-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.
Mix butter, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (you can mix by hand or with a mixer). Add flour; mix well. Press dough evenly in prepared pan with floured hands (dough will be sticky). Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven.
Melt dark chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the shortbread in the pan. Note: You can also melt the chocolate mixture in the microwave–heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until mixture is smooth and creamy, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overheat!
Garnish with toasted almonds,* pressing them down firmly on the chocolate mixture. Chill 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars.
Note: To avoid scratching my non-stick pan with a cutting knife, I removed the shortbread from the pan first. I did this by loosening the shortbread and chocolate layers from the edges of the pan and carefully inverting the pan. I had a parchment paper-covered hand on the shortbread, to catch it as it came out upside-down, then I inverted the shortbread again onto my other parchment paper-covered hand so it was right-side up on the second piece of parchment paper, ready to cut. You could also try lining your pan with parchment paper and just lift the shortbread out of the pan when it’s ready to cut, but the sticky shortbread batter may be a little difficult to spread on the parchment paper.
*Toast almond slices by placing in a dry nonstick skillet and cooking over medium heat, shaking pan until almond slices are lightly browned.
I love the thick dark chocolate top layer and the thick shortbread bottom crust on these bars! And the light almond flavoring adds just the right touch. I’m glad I revisited this recipe. Do you have a recipe you’ve revisited with good results?
“Crumble” is an understatement when describing these bars, because they are super–crumbly! These Raspberry Jam Oat Crumble Bars have LOTS of crumbly oat topping and, of course, a raspberry jam filling–if you look hard, you can see the filling! :). I was inspired by this recipe at Kraft and made a few simple changes. If you don’t have raspberry jam, use strawberry jam. Or whatever flavor jam you like best. You could even use spreadable fruit if you want to cut down on the sugar.
These are easy to make and really yummy! You can make them in an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ square baking pan. If you use a 9 x 9″ pan, the crumble topping won’t be quite as thick, since the pan is a little bigger–so your bars will be slightly thinner, too. But they’ll still be plenty crumbly. And since these bars are so very crumbly, make sure you have a plate to catch those crumbs when you’re eating these!
RASPBERRY JAM OAT CRUMBLE BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Recipes
Makes an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan (I used an 8 x 8″ pan for this batch)
- 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 cup well-packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, chilled
- 1 cup (or one 12-ounce jar) Red Raspberry Jam (I used seedless jam)
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press 3 1/2 cups of the oat mixture firmly onto the bottom of your square baking pan. Spread jam over crust. Mix pecans with remaining crumb mixture, then sprinkle over jam (it may look like you have too much crumb mixture for the top, but put it all on!)
Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
These bars would taste great warm with a scoop of ice cream, too. I love easy recipes like this! And I usually have all these ingredients on hand anyway, so that makes it even more convenient. Do you like jam bars, or do you have another favorite recipe using jam?
Moist, chunky pumpkin bars chock full of milk chocolate chips and chopped walnuts…who can resist that? This recipe is adapted from a cookie recipe I found over at FoodNetwork.com. I made the cookies and they tasted great, but they just didn’t have much visual appeal. So I thought I’d make them into bars instead, and I like them much better this way!Continue reading