I made so many cookies and bars that sometimes I felt like this!
The world cannot live by cookies alone—–there must be bars!
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My Favorite Websites for the Most Enjoyed Bars
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Everyone—young, old and in-between—loves rice crispy bars. Here are two variations on that age-old treat.
Grand Hint: Save the butter wrapper and use it to help pat down the mixed “goo” into the pan.
Marshmallow Treats that actually use rice crispies.
Marshmallow Corn Chip Treats that—yes—use salty corn chips or another sturdy salty chip. We could not believe how good these were. They vanished in a blink of an eye. This picture does not do them justice.
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Canned Pumpkin Substitute. If you live in an area where it is near impossible to find canned pumpkin or if you are experiencing a canned pumpkin shortage in your stores (I understand this is because of the drought in the USA this summer), try using frozen winter squash purée, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed acorn squash or even mashed fresh pumpkin.
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting No matter where I am in the world I seem to be haunted by overly ripe bananas. I save these critters in the freezer in their skins. Thaw and peel, as needed—-and make all kinds of banana treats.
Marilyn Burstein Swaiman’s Mint or Grasshopper Brownies My dear friend, of blessed memory, Mashie was a spectacular baker. She was famous for her now classic mint brownies.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chop coarsely
1 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream (as needed)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or 1-2 tablespoons creme de menthe
green food coloring
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Use a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Grease or spray the bottom. Then cover the pan with foil as in the must see video. When you are done, I suggest that you again grease or spray the bottom.
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To make the mint brownies
Brownies: Melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with a spoon after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt. Beat until the batter is smooth and glossy (about one minute). Pour into the lined pan.
Bake about 25 minutes. The edges will just be beginning to brown. Put on a wire rack to completely cool.
Mint Layer: Using an electric mixer, beat together all the ingredients until smooth. Add a few drops of green food coloring. The frosting should be thin enough to spread. If needed, add a few additional drops of cream to thin. Spread over the cooled brownies. .Refrigerate until firm.
Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the mint layer. Refrigerate until very firm. This is very important. Don’t rush these cooling stages or you will have difficulties cutting into small servings.
Use the foil to lift the brownies from the pan. Remove the foil and place on a cutting board. Take a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut 30 1-inch squares. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or frozen.
Makes 30 1-inch squares. Or you can always make larger portions.
Variations for the middle layer: Instead of the creme de menthe and the green food coloring, you can use a variety of liquors, bourbon, vodka or even scotch and an appropriate food coloring.
More Lessons Learned from this marathon baking for the multitudes.
If you have a tablet or smaller portable computer, bring it into the kitchen and read the recipe from it instead of wasting paper and ink by printing it out. Be sure that you do not spill on the computer. Some people suggest putting it in a zip bag. I found that just putting my iPad away from the actual baking was the most useful.
Have a plan for the multitude of leftover cookies. Inevitably we ended up making too many delights. After all, the table needs to look generous but this means LEFTOVERS. What do you do if not all of them are wanted to be “taken home”? Consider donating them to organizations that feed the needy such as Second Harvest.