Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Bars


Hello friends!

I think lately I’ve been baking as a form of procrastination. I have a lot of school work to do, and I don’t always want to do it. (But I always get it done, don’t worry!) Every once in a while, lately on weekends, I’ve been deciding to bake up a storm. These sugar cookie bars came about on a bit of a whim, and I’m so glad they did!


Chocolate and mint is not for everyone, but Paul and I are huge fans! The nice thing about these bars is they don’t take very long to mix up. Call me a simple woman, but I’m all about things that don’t have me spending all day in the kitchen. (I love those recipes too, but I need to be in the mood to make them!)

I found the original recipe here, and while I didn’t have Andes mint bars, I decided to top them off with chocolate chips, because why not. If you are a fan of chocolate and mint together, I guarantee these will hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 24 bars

For the cookie base:

½ c. butter, softened
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
2 c. flour
½ c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the mint frosting:

½ c. butter, softened
½ tsp. mint extract
6 tbsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
4 c. icing sugar
green food colouring (optional)
mint chips/chocolate chips (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until combined. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Beat again.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine evenly. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until a cohesive dough is formed.

Press dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 14-15 minutes. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, mint extract, and heavy cream together until smooth and fluffy. Add in the salt, icing sugar, and food colouring and beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread over cooled bars and garnish as desired. Slice into squares and serve!

Nanaimo Bar Tart


Well, another original recipe. This recipe came about quite suddenly. Paul and I had been talking about tortes and tarts, and my mind just started wandering when Paul went to work.

I wondered if a Nanaimo Bar Tart could possibly work, and started thinking…. I took a shortbread recipe for the crust, and changed it up a bit, as well as using the custard powder and turning it into a thick custard, topping it off with a smooth chocolate topping.


I threw it all in the fridge to set up. That was the hard part – waiting for it to set to make sure that everything tasted good and worked together. However, the waiting and experimentation paid off, because WOW did taste good!

The tart turned out very good, but very rich, and already I’m cursing the slightly-bigger-than-normal piece that I cut for myself and finished with gusto because it was just THAT good. Either way, if you are a Nanaimo Bar fan, then this tart should be right up your alley!

Enjoy an original recipe! 🙂

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-9 inch tart

For the tart shell:

1 c. butter
1¼ c. flour
¾c. coconut
½ c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa

For the custard layer:

¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. custard powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. sugar
2½ c. milk

For the chocolate layer:

½ c. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour, coconut, sugar, and cocoa. Mix together until combined, and press into the tart pan and up the sides, trying to make as uniform and even as possible.

Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, and set aside to cool while making the filling.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the custard powder and sugar, then gradually pour in the vanilla and milk while whisking to create a cohesive sauce with no lumps. Whisk over a medium heat until a full boil and the custard thickens, whisking frequently. Once the custard thickens, pour into the cooled tart shell and let thicken and cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate chips and melt on short bursts, combining until smooth.

Once the custard has thickened more, and formed a skin on top, pour the chocolate over top of the tart and even out, being careful not to mix the custard into the chocolate.

Let cool and set completely, in the fridge or on a wire rack, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 

It’s been really hot lately. Too hot to turn on the oven. So I wanted a dessert that wouldn’t take too long and wouldn’t heat up the house unnecessarily.
These peanut butter bars are just the ticket. A thick layer of peanut buttery goodness, topped with a smooth chocolate layer. The best part is, there is only a small handful  of ingredients, and you probably have them in your kitchen right now.

I wanted to try and emulate the Reese’s peanut butter cup flavour, so where it calls for peanut butter in the recipe, I added a few tablespoons of Reese’s peanut butter chips as well as the called-for peanut butter.

Go ahead, make these. They are simple, and take more time to chill and set up than they do to make.  Enjoy them, and not turning on the oven for a big reward!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pan

For the peanut butter layer:

2½ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. butter, melted
2 c. icing sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

For the chocolate layer:

3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 c. chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

Line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a large, microwave safe bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, icing sugar, peanut butter, and peanut butter chips (if using). Pour into the lined pan, and spread into an even layer.

In a small microwave safe bowl, mix the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips (if using). Microwave at 15-second increments until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.

Place pan in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before serving. Once set up, bars can be sliced and served.

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

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So, I must confess. This is the second time I have made these in the last two weeks. I made them the first time to try out the recipe, and was extremely pleased. The only thing I didn’t love was how soft and slightly mushy the bottom layer of brownie was after baking.

You have to realize, these brownies have fresh blackberries in them, and sandwich a layer of homemade salted caramel. Now, maybe it was the caramel, and maybe it was the blackberries, but I wanted to attempt them again. I wanted to be able to get a fantastic picture with the caramel possibly oozing out of the cut side, with the jewel-bright pop of purple from the blackberries.
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The first ones still tasted delicious… But we had to eat them with a fork. Not for a brownie! So I tried something a bit different. Because it was the bottom layer that caused all the confusion, I baked the bottom layer separately for a few minutes before adding the layer of salted caramel and top layer of brownie batter. I reflected these changes in the recipe below as well.

I initially found the recipe herehttp://food-mouth.com/2014/02/27/salted-caramel-blackberry-brownies/, and I am so glad I did.

They are definitely a decadent dessert, and one that will make your friends jealous!
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P.S. My computer is currently living at Best Buy to see if they can fix it. I am doing this entire post on my phone, so I apologize for any formatting or links that do not work. I will be revamping any posts done on my phone as soon as I get access to a computer!

Ingredients:
Yield: 1 8-inch pan of brownies, 16-24 servings, depending on cut size

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour
6 oz. fresh blackberries
3/4 c. salted caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the white and brown sugar and cocoa powder, and mix until smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and combine until smooth again. Add in the baking powder, salt and flour, combine again, and with a spatula, fold in the blackberries.

Pour half of the brownie batter into the lined pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, then remove from oven.

Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the brownie batter, then top with the other half of batter. Bake 20-30 minutes, until a tester toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and let cool. Slice and serve!

Lemon Squares

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Well. We all know how much I love lemon. (I really just love dessert. Who am I kidding?) Even so, there are so many beautiful flavours to accentuate in gorgeous desserts. Lemon is no exception, and there are so many things to make with lemon. However, one of my all-time favourite desserts to make with lemon are lemon squares.

Why lemon squares? Because of their simplicity. A simple shortbread-type crust with a deliciously tart lemony layer on top, sprinkled with just a touch of icing sugar? Beautiful. I mean, sure, I could make a triple layer lemon cake with a lemon mousse filling and a lemon-loaded frosting (my brain just got really excited… both for the alliteration and of the idea of a cake like that…) but sometimes simple is better.
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I have been making these lemon squares for years now, and they are always a hit. It’s a good thing I have these babies in my arsenal, because they are quick and simple, a no-fuss-no-muss kind of recipe.

Lemon lovers, I’m here for you, and I support you!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 inch pan, approx. 2 dozen bars

For the crust:

1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
2 c. flour

For the lemon layer:

4 eggs
1½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
1 tsp. lemon extract
Juice of 2 lemons (fresh or bottled)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and flour. Press into a parchment-lined 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and golden.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice and extract until smooth. When crust is done baking, remove from oven and pour lemon mixture over top of crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool competely before dusting with icing sugar, slicing and serving.

*Note – You can also substitute lime juice for the lemon juice and make lime squares. Add a drop or two of green food colouring to bring out the lime colour. *