Tag Archives: bars

Cake Batter Bars

Rainbow sprinkle bars

Mondays are so much better as holidays.  Come back, Labor Day!  *sigh*

Since we all have to be legitimate people today, I thought I’d offer you these fun cake batter bars as a consolation.  Mondays + sprinkles = almost a holiday, right? 😉

Rainbow sprinkle bars 2

Although you can easily use a boxed cake mix to make “cake batter bars” (and I do! and they’re delicious!), sometimes I like to do things the old-fashioned way… you know, from scratch.

The key to making these crisp, chewy bars taste like cake?  Oh, just the usual suspects — butter, sugar, vanilla… and lots of it. 🙂

This recipe could easily be made into cake batter “cookies” instead of bars — simply chill the dough for about 20 minutes, then drop by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet.  Bars or cookies, they’ll both brighten your day!

Rainbow sprinkles bars

[print_this]Cake Batter Bars

Crispy, chewy cookie bars that taste and look like confetti cake.  Add a layer of frosting for a real “cake-like” treat.

Makes about 16 bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Extra sprinkles for topping (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir the baking powder, salt, and flour.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until blended.  Stir in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips

Spread the cookie dough into the prepared baking pan.  Top with extra sprinkles (about 1 tablespoon), if desired.  Bake 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown (the bars may seem undercooked when you pull them from the oven, but they will set as they cool).  Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.[/print_this]

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Pb and j bars little bitty bakes

It’s back to school time (*sigh*).  So long, slow mornings and days filled with sunshine and relaxation…  I know a lot of kids already started school, and I myself start school today!

Back to school time makes me think about peanut butter and jelly.  Maybe it’s the excessive amount of pb&j sandwich lunches I ate in school growing up, or my newfound obsession with pb&j wraps for a quick breakfast (ohmygosh, so good)… or maybe it’s these peanut butter and jelly bars.

Pbandj bars

The dough for this recipe is more or less a peanut butter cookie dough, but with oats as well.  Peanut butter + oats = chewy, nutty deliciousness.

The recipe is simple to prepare: just mix up your dough, press the majority of it into your pan, spread with your jam or jelly of choice, and then sprinkle the remaining cookie dough on top.

Pbj bars

I went with strawberry jam here, since it’s what I had on hand, but I would totally be into a variation with red or black raspberry jam (both my favorites). Really though, can you go wrong?! 😉

These bars are perfect for a quick snack, simple dessert, or, a perfect ending to a school lunch! 😉

Pbj bars little bitty bakes

[print_this]Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Crisp, chewy peanut butter cookie bars with a layer of sweet strawberry jam.  Feel free to vary the recipe with your favorite flavor jam or jelly. 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Makes 15 bars

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup strawberry jam (or preferred jam/jelly)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until creamy.  Add the vanilla and egg; stir until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until combined.

Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan.  Spread the jam evenly over the cookie dough.  Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the jam layer.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown.  Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.

Adapted from this recipe.[/print_this]

Perfect Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

choc chip cookie bars lbbakes

 

Hello from New York!  I just arrived late last night from Florida, and, well, aside from the lack of palm trees, it pretty much feels the same.  Gotta love a classic summer heat wave!  I think it’s best to embrace the warmer temperatures, because we all know it’ll change soon enough.  Nonetheless, I see lots of iced coffee, swimming, and ice cream in my future.

choc chip cookie bars

Speaking of ice cream, I’d say a big scoop of vanilla (or cookie dough) would be the perfect accompaniment to these perfect chocolate chunk cookie bars.  What makes them so perfect, you ask?  Well, if I had to name 3 ingredients that make them perfect, they’d be:

Brown sugar.  And only brown sugar, no white.  It makes the bars chewy and soft.  Even better, using brown sugar exclusively means the bars will actually be softer the day after you bake them.  Love baked goods with staying power!

Cornstarch.  It’s one of the secrets to my Levain Bakery copycat cookies, as well as one of my more recent chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Like the brown sugar, cornstarch helps soften the cookie bars.  And the great thing about these bars is they still have crispy edges, but the cornstarch ensures they have that soft, doughy-like interior we all know and love.

Chocolate chunks.  Slash chocolate disks, or whatever larger chocolate piece you can get your hands on.  I actually used these Hersheys baking melts I found at the store a couple months ago, but any thing would do — you could even chop up a couple chocolate bars.  Using larger chocolate pieces instead of chocolate chips means more melty chocolate.  I’m pretty sure melty chocolate never does any harm.

chocolate chip cookie bars

Must. go. find. ice. cream.

[print_this]Perfect Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

Super-soft cookie bars loaded with semisweet chocolate chunks.  If you can, prepare the dough a day or two before baking and refrigerate until baking — this enhances the flavors of the cookie dough, and also makes for a “doughy” cookie bar.

Makes about 16 bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (if using regular AP flour, add 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups semisweet (or dark) chocolate chunks

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla; mix until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir the salt, baking soda, cornstarch, and flour.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stir until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Place the dough in a large plastic bag or container.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, or up to 48 hours.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown (the bars may seem “doughy” when you remove them from the oven, but trust me, this is a good thing!).  Allow the bars to cool before cutting. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days, or freeze  extra.[/print_this]

3 Ingredient Granola Bars

3 Ingredient Granola Bars LBBakes

Hello!  I guess I took a bit of a break from the blog last week. 🙂  I was  in Austin, Texas, for a conference… and definitely ate, ran, and walked my way through the town in my spare time!  Anyway, now I am back in Florida and getting back into the swing of things, including blogging recipes. 🙂

Since I was traveling last week, I made sure to pack some of my new favorite granola bars — these 3 ingredient granola bars, to be specific.  I know what you’re thinking — how the heck did I manage to get a thick, chewy granola bar with only three ingredients?!

The answer: Dates.  Well, date paste, to be specific.  By soaking the dates in water, you are able to soften them so much that mixed in a food processor, they turn into a thick, (naturally!) sweet paste which holds the bars together fabulously.

Dates

I’m going to walk you through the steps to make these.  It’s not difficult, but a bit more involved than some of my usual recipes.  And I’m determined to get my sister to make these, and promised her I’d show her the play-by-play here on the blog since she lives a good twenty hours from me. 🙂

Start by placing your dates in a plastic container (one with a lid, preferably).

Dates in container

Next, fill the container with water so that the water covers all of the dates.  Put a lid on the container, and let the dates soak in the water for 4 to 8 hours.  The longer you soak, the mushier the dates will get, and the easier they will turn into a paste.

Dates in water

After soaking the dates, you’ll want to drain the water.  But before doing that, reserve about 4 tablespoons of the water.  You’ll want that to make the paste.  OK.  Now pour the the dates into a colander in the sink (shout out to mom — thanks for my Easter basket/colander!).

Drained dates

Once you’ve drained the water (give ’em a good shake to get rid of excess water), place the dates into a blender or food processor.  I used a blender this time around, but I’ve also done this with a food processor (I actually like the food processor better for this, FYI).

Dates in blender

Puree or pulse the dates until a paste forms (if you’re having difficulty pureeing, add your reserved water, a tablespoon at a time).  Don’t worry if you still have a few small pieces of date here and there.  Your finished product should look something like this:

Date paste

Mmm, date paste! 😉  In all seriousness, this stuff is actually great as a natural sweetener.  Anyway… Stir in your peanut butter…. And then your oats…

Oats and date paste

Mix until it’s all combined.

Granola bars mixed

At this point you could add a few extra mix-ins, but then of course you’d have yourself a 3+ ingredient granola bar. 🙂

Line a large loaf pan (mine is 10×5) with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  You want enough wrap/foil so that it extends up the sides of the pan.  Spread the mixture into the pan…

Granola bars spread into pan

All done!

Granola bars in pan

Wrap it up… and chill.  Place the granola bars in refrigerator to set.  I wait at least 2 hours before I cut them.

Granola bars wrapped up

Once chilled, cut into bars,

3 Ingredient Granola Bars

Package them up,

3 Ingredient Granola Bars bagged

And enjoy!  Sure, it’s no Kudos bar, but in my opinion, there’s something nice about enjoying a natural, unbaked granola bar with just three ingredients!

[print_this]3 Ingredient Granola Bars

Simple, wholesome granola bars made with just three ingredients: dates, peanut butter, and oats.  If you’d like, try different nut butters to vary the flavor of the bars slightly.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: n/a

Soaking+chilling time: 6 hours

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups oats (rolled or quick cooking; I use a combination)

Place the dates in bowl.  Cover with water (enough water so that the dates are submerged).  Soak the dates at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Drain the soaked dates, reserving one tablespoon of water.  Place the dates and one tablespoon reserved water in the bowl of a food processor (or a blender).  Chop until mostly smooth (a few pieces of dates may remain; that is fine).  Add the peanut butter and blend until smooth.  Stir in the oats.*

Line a large loaf pan (I used a 10×5 inch pan) with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  Press the mixture into the pan, then cover with additional foil or plastic wrap, pressing to seal.  Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or until firm.  Slice the bars into desired size (I sliced mine into 10 1-inch wide bars).

*If you are using a food processor, you can add the oats to the bowl of the food processor to chop the oats into smaller pieces.  Or, if you want to keep the oats whole, simply transfer the date-peanut butter mixture to a bowl, and then stir in the oats.[/print_this]

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Cookie Bars

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Dark chocolate cookie bars

I know what you’re thinking.  These look like brownies.  But they’re not — they’re crispy, chewy, chocolate cookie bars.  Strange when food fools you like that, you know?

…sort of like this past weekend when I was in a frozen yogurt shop in Orlando and sampled butter popcorn flavored froyo.  Seriously!  What will they think of next?  I wasn’t a fan, but I can see how the movie theater popcorn fanatic could be.

Anyway… back to these bars.  A couple weeks ago, I had what I planned to bake as chocolate chip cookie bars in the oven, when, half way through baking, I had the urge to run a knife through the half-cooked bars, marbling the melty dark chocolate chips right into the cookie dough.  Good decision Liz, good decision!

Dark chocolate cookie bars with walnuts lbbakes

In addition to swirling the melted dark chocolate chips mid-bake, these cookie bars are also uniquely crisp, crunchy, and chewy — thanks in part to browned butter, walnuts, and oats, respectively.

You certainly don’t have to brown the butter if you don’t have time, but I highly recommend trying sometime (see my instructions on how to brown butter here).  It lends a nutty taste to whatever you bake or cook that you really can’t achieve any other way.

The quick cooking oats were a last-minute addition to this recipe, but I love the way they added texture to the bars.  They give the cookie bars extra chewiness, contrasting the crisp edges of the bars perfectly.

And if I haven’t convinced you to make these yet — the best part of making cookie bars?  In my opinion, it’s being able to take the cookie dough straight from the bowl into the pan — no need to roll out individual cookies!  It doesn’t get much simpler. 🙂

Dark chocolate chip cookie bars lbbakes

[print_this]Dark Chocolate & Walnut Cookie Bars with Browned Butter

Melted dark chocolate is swirled through these crisp, chewy cookie bars as they bake, lending a rich flavor to every bite.  Walnuts are an optional addition for crunch, but you can substitute any other nut or dried fruit. 

Makes about 24 bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, browned*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the eggs; mix until blended.  Add the baking soda and salt; mix until blended.  Add the flour and oats; mix until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan.  Bake 10 minutes; remove from oven and use a knife to cut through the dough, swirling it in the process (the chocolate should be melting into the dough).  Bake an additional 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean.  Allow the bars to cool before cutting into bars.

*If using browned butter, allow it to cool slightly before making the cookie dough.  If not using browned butter, be sure your butter is softened before making the cookie dough.[/print_this]

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Oatmeal Choc Chip Bars

I know what you’re thinking.  It’s March, not October.  What’s with the pumpkin?

Well, I’d use Florida’s finnicky “cold” weather as an excuse, but I don’t think you northerners would appreciate that. 😉  The truth is I don’t really have a good answer for you, other than the fact that after a good month or two break from pumpkin, I’m usually ready for some more.  I’m sure all you pumpkin lovers can relate. 😉

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars LBBakes

So, these bars.  I started with a simple Betty Crocker cookie mix because, well, I had a cookie mix and sometimes the craziness of life demands a shortcut.  You know what I mean?

Anyhow, the instructions for the cookie mix call for butter, but I was feeling like keeping the bars fairly healthy.  Enter: canned pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce.  If you’re trying to lighten up a baked good, both pumpkin and applesauce are great standbys.  I actually have an awesome brownie recipe that uses both.  I should share that soon!  Anyway…

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Since I was already embracing fall flavors of pumpkin and applesauce with these, I tossed in some cinnamon and nutmeg to amp up those warm and cozy flavors.  I swear, anything involving nutmeg is instantly comforting.  These bars are no exception.

And then I added chocolate chips.  Dark chocolate chips, to be specific.  The most delicious chips in all the land, in my opinion. 😉  But use what you have!  And if you want, go ahead and add a big handful of walnuts too.  Oh man, now I wish I had done that.

Enjoy!

[print_this]Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Soft baked pumpkin oatmeal bars with warm spices and dark chocolate chips.  A cookie mix makes for a simple preparation, while canned pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce make these a low fat alternative to traditional cookie bars. 

Makes about 16 bars

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).

In a lare mixing bowl, stir all the ingredients until combined.  Spread into the prepared pan.  Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean (treat them like brownies — a little ‘gooeyness’ is a good thing!).  Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.[/print_this]

Snickers Cake Mix Blondies

Buttery Snickers Bars by Little Bitty Bakes

 

Did you know February is National “Celebration of Chocolate” Month?  Me neither, but I wanted to find a fun reason to share some chocolate with you today.  If we’re all being honest though, I’d say all twelve months are worth of a little chocolate celebration.

Snickers candy bars aren’t my absolute favorite candy bar (3 musketeers and kit-kats, please) but when it comes to baking with candy bars, Snickers are an all-star.  With chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanuts, you really can’t go wrong.

Buttery Snickers Bars LBBakes

I made these last month for a friend who loves Snickers, and I had to share the super easy recipe with you today.  It all starts with a cake mix, which of course means they’re incredibly simple to whip up.

I decided to embrace the nuttiness of a Snickers bars, and chose a butter pecan cake mix for the bars.  But you could also use a yellow cake mix… or really, any cake mix. 🙂

Buttery Snickers Bars Little Bitty Bakes

Since I was embracing chocolate and all, I added extra chocolate chips.  You could also add chopped pecans or peanuts for added crunch and salty flavor.  Regardless, these bars are a keeper!

[print_this]Snickers Cake Mix Blondies

A cake mix makes these buttery, nutty blondie bars simple to prepare.  You can substitute any cake mix flavor, and feel free to add additional mix-ins besides the Snickers candy bars.

Makes 12 to 24 bars (depending on pan used and size of bar)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1 box butter pecan cake mix
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Snickers candy bars
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, or chopped pecans (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 9×13-inch (for thinner bars) or 8-inch square (for thicker bars) pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the cake mix, oil, and eggs until combined.  Stir in the candy bar pieces and (optional) pecans.  Spread into the prepared baking pan.

Bake 25 to 35 minutes (depending on pan used) until the edges are golden brown.  Allow the bars to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.[/print_this]