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Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars #SundaySupper

Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars are a chewy, brown sugar cookie bar studded with red, white and blue M&M candies that takes minutes to make. Perfect quick and easy dessert for the 4th of July or any patriotic celebration (or any time!) 

Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Looking for a special dessert that is quick and easy to make for summer parties? Look no further than these Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars! This is one of my favorite recipes to make for a crowd (or a small family to enjoy all week long) 🙂 …

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S'mores Blondies | alidaskitchen.com

S’mores Blondies #SundaySupper

S’mores Blondies are an easy-to-make layered bar cookie with a graham cracker cookie base topped with chocolate and marshmallow creme resulting in wonderful s’more dessert ~ perfect for a party, potluck or any time!

S'mores Blondies | alidaskitchen.com

S’mores are one of my favorite treats, so various s’more-inspired goodies are always popping up in our kitchen.   These S’mores Blondies have all the yummy goodness of a s’more in a delicious, easy-to-make layered bar cookie.  …

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Blueberry Crumb Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Blueberry Crumb Bars #SundaySupper

Blueberry Crumb Bars combine juicy fresh blueberries with a brown sugar crust and crumble topping for a delicious taste of blueberry crumb pie in an easy to make bar cookie.

Blueberry Crumb Bars | alidaskitchen.com

The month of July is National Picnic Month, and what better way to celebrate than to gather together some favorite picnic recipes to share with friends and family! That is the theme for Sunday Supper this week, and we have the honor of celebrating with our friends at Gallo Family Vineyards.  A picnic with tasty grillables, sandwiches and all kinds of salads, fresh product and dessert, paired with a favorite glass of wine…sounds pretty perfect!

A quintessential picnic dessert is a fresh fruit pie, with favorites such as strawberry, peach or blueberry topping the list. However these days when meal planning for picnics and with two little kids constantly underfoot, my main goal for anything in life is EASY….

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Coconut Oil M&M Cookie Bars | alidaskitchen.com #MyDataMyWay #shop

Coconut Oil M&M Cookie Bars

disclosure-#mydatamyway #collectivebias #shop Coconut Oil M&M Cookie Bars are a chewy, brown sugar cookie bar made with coconut oil and filled with lots of M&Ms…in other words, the best dessert ever! #MyDataMyWay via #CollectiveBias thanks to Walmart Family Mobile!

M&M Cookie Bars | alidaskitchen.com #MyDataMyWay  #shop

A while ago I declared these Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies to be the best chocolate chip cookies ever.  Since I’m often asked to bring desserts to potlucks or parties, those cookies (or depending on time, these Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars) are some of my go-tos.  Both are simple, classic and everybody loves them.  I especially love the flavor from the coconut oil in the cookies but also love the ease of baking the cookie bars. So why not combine the two (and toss in some M&Ms for good measure) to make Coconut Oil M&M Cookie Bars!

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Grandma's Lemon Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Grandma’s Lemon Bars #SundaySupper

This is my Grandma’s Lemon Bars recipe – a classic made simple, delicious and melt-in-your mouth good!

Grandma's Lemon Bars | alidaskitchen.com

 

As a child, whenever we went to visit my grandparents, my grandma always had a spread of several dozens of different varieties of homemade goodies.  If it were for a special holiday, like Christmas, there were even more varieties.  Her treat platters were impressive to say the least!  Each item was unique, a labor of love, and absolutely delicious….

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Marshmallow Popcorn Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Marshmallow Popcorn Bars

Marshmallow Popcorn Bars are a salty, sweet, chocolate and minty combination that are easy to make.  They will make a fun addition to your holiday treat platter this year!

Marshmallow Popcorn Bars | alidaskitchen.com

When it comes to movie theater snacks, everybody has their favorites.  One of my friends favorite snacks is an interesting concoction.  She dumps a box of mint-filled chocolate candies into a warm bucket of popcorn and lets it get all melty, gooey good. It seemed like such an unusual combination at the time, but these days flavored popcorn has become so popular! With holiday baking in full force, I was inspired to transform this favorite snack into a treat fit for the holidays.  Marshmallow Popcorn Bars are salty, sweet, chocolate, mint and super tasty!…

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easy date bars #smartcookie ad

Easy Date Bars

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Easy Date Bars are a date-filled oatmeal bars inspired by a childhood favorite.  They taste similar to my grandma’s recipe, only made a little healthier and are super quick and easy to make!  

easy date bars | www.alidaskitchen.com |#smartcookie ad

One of my favorite cookies from childhood is a recipe my grandma used to make, called Trilbies.  They are a soft, oatmeal cookie with a date filling.  They were SO good.  I do have her recipe, but I remember she always complained about how much trouble they were to make.  They always end up last on my holiday baking list and never get made.  This year, I decided to take my favorite aspects of the recipe –  dates and oats – and turn them into simple Easy Date Bars!   They taste pretty darn close to the beloved cookie – close enough anyway, because these Easy Date Bars are super easy to make!…

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Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars #SundaySupper

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are a decadent dessert made on the lighter side that is simple to make.  If you’re intimidated by making a full cheesecake, or just looking for a quick and easy recipe for a cheesecake fix, then these bars are you for you!  In 30 minutes you make the crust, the cheesecake filling, and even a fresh raspberry sauce….

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Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats | alidaskitchen.com

Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats #alphabits

Alpha-Bits Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats put a delicious pumpkin twist on classic marshmallow cereal treats made fun for kids using Alpha-Bits cereal.

Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving planning is in full force.   My favorite part of Thanksgiving planning is dessert!   While I absolutely love this crustless pumpkin pie recipe, it can be nice to mix things up a bit and make something new.  Marshmallow cereal treats are always a favorite, especially with kids.  I decided to combine my favorite Thanksgiving dessert (pumpkin pie) with a treat that kids love (marshmallow cereal treats) to create a fun Thanksgiving treat ~ these Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats!…

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Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars have the classic taste of  a buttery, cinnamon-y snickerdoodle cookie in a quick and easy to make bar.    

While I love to make (and eat!) cookies, the simplicity of turning a cookie recipe into a quick and easy to make bar is very attractive.  Especially when life gets busy or you get a last minute request for goodies, it is so nice to be able whip the batter together, pour it into a pan and bake.  No portioning, scooping, rolling  required.   Just bake, cut into squares and serve.

These Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars are a wonderful treat for the holidays, or any time.  They are buttery and cinnamon-y, like their cookie cousins, yet can be made in minutes.  I thought this recipe would be perfect for Week #3 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars offer a little variety for your holiday cookie platter and are loved by many!…

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are everything delicious about a chocolate chip cookie in a quick and easy to make bar.   This is the ultimate basic blondie recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsChocolate Chip Cookie Bars

While I  love cookies, I don’t always have the time (or patience) to portion out each individual cookie for baking.  This is where the cookie bar is genius.  These Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars take only 10 minutes to prepare and then just spread in the pan and bake.  No rolling or cutting or shaping the dough.  And the result is everything delicious about a chocolate chip cookie in a quick and easy to make bar.  There are so many possibilities for variations with this recipe too, which is fun.  …

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S'mores Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

S’mores Brownies #SundaySupper

S'mores Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

What do you get when you cross a brownie with a s’more?  This easy recipe for S’mores Brownies!   

As Labor Day marks the unofficial end of Summer, I am looking forward to cooler temperatures, Halloween (!) and, of course, lots of pumpkin recipes.  While Fall baking is my absolute favorite, sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a s’more.   I have made several s’more-inspired recipes, including muffins, blondies, Golden Graham’s bars, even a cool and creamy pie!  But these S’mores Brownies might be my favorite s’more-inspired treat.  The chocolate brownie base is the perfect vehicle for all of the yummy s’more toppings, plus they take only minutes to prepare….

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homemade fig newtons

Oatmeal Fig Bars | Homemade Fig Newtons

oatmeal fig bars | homemade fig newtons
Oatmeal Fig Bars are a chewy, fig-filled bar made on the lighter side.  They taste pretty close to a Fig Newton, but homemade is always better, right?  When I was researching for a healthy fig bar recipe made with oatmeal, I was surprised to find there weren’t many (or rather any that were suitable).  So I decided to take the dough of a oatmeal date bar recipe and replace the date filling with a fig filling.  Because I wanted these to be healthier, I reduced the amount of sugar in the dough and eliminated added sugar from the filling.  In lieu of sugar, I added lemon juice and zest to the filling to brighten the flavor and also act as a thickener.  The result was just what I had in mind for a healthy fig bar, and they were also really simple to make.

When I was making these Oatmeal Fig Bars, I couldn’t help but think about my grandma and grandpa and chuckle.  I’ve talked many times about my grandma and what a wonderful baker she was.  While I’m sure my grandpa loved all of her (delicious!) baked goodies, he always had a stash of Fig Newtons in their pantry.  I really can’t blame him.  Not much beats a Fig Newton (except for these bars of course!.. but I digress).  I don’t think my grandma ever attempted to make a homemade variety of his beloved fig bars, but I’m sure they would have been similar to these…and my grandpa would have stashed these instead!

oatmeal fig bars | homemade fig newtons

Oatmeal Fig Bars | Homemade Fig Newtons
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs, stems removed (8 ounces)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (I used quick oats)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted (I used light butter)
  • 1 egg white
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan, put figs, water, lemon juice and zest, and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put filling in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add butter and egg white to oat mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking pan. [Note: I used waxed paper to press and spread the mixture into the pan]. Next, carefully spread with fig mixture. Last, drop pieces of remaining oat mixture over the fig mixture so it appears crumbly and then gently pat it down [Note: I used waxed paper for this step].
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

This marks the third installment of the Eating the Alphabet Challenge, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic.  This month we’re featuring healthy recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes that start with letters E or F.  This was a no-brainer for me.  I’ve been wanting to come up with a healthy Fig Bar recipe, so this was just the incentive I needed!

grandma's caramel bars from Alida's Kitchen

Grandma’s Caramel Bars

 My grandma was always impressive in the kitchen, especially with her holiday treats.  This recipe she created for Caramel Bars is no exception!  Most caramel bars I’ve had have been underwhelming and have had a relatively stiff caramel layer in the center.  So is not the case with these Caramel Bars.  The caramel layer is gooey, melty and wonderful.   The oat crust and crumbly topping are simple and delicious, and the chocolate chips add some chocolate and texture.  Her recipe also includes 1 cup walnuts, which I do not use.  No holiday treat platter is complete without caramel bars!

Speaking of holiday treats, we are in Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  This recipe makes a generous amount, so is definitely a good treat to have on hand for your holiday celebrations.

Grandma’s Caramel Bars
 
Yields: 3 to 4 dozen bars, depending on size
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick oats work fine)
  • 1 cup butter, softened (I use light butter)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package caramels
  • ⅓ cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, put the flour, oats, butter, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer on low (I use a hand mixer), slowly beat in the butter until combined, moist, and pea-sized crumbs form. Press ½ of mixture into prepared baking dish and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, slowly melt caramels and evaporated milk over a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), stirring frequently.
  4. Once crust is done, pour caramel mixture over crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips (and walnuts, if using) over caramel. Crumble remaining oat mixture over caramel and chocolate chips. Bake for 12 minutes and move to a wire rack to cool completely.

We are already to week #10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic.  Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars...made on the lighter side!  from Alida's Kitchen

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars combine pumpkin and cheesecake into a beautiful layered bar that are as delicious as they are simple to make.  First you make a graham cracker crust.  While that cools completely, you make the cheesecake filling, reserving a portion to add in some pumpkin.  Pour the plain cheesecake layer over the crust.  Dollop the pumpkin layer over the cheesecake layer and try for a swirl effect, if you desire, by running a knife through the batter.  I was liking the simple layered look, so left it as is.  Either way, they taste like a decadent cheesecake with a pumpkin twist.

With the holidays coming up, these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a light alternative to those heavier desserts (or in addition to…I don’t judge!!)  You would never guess it, but they are made on the lighter side, coming in around 115 calories per bar.

If you’re looking for other lighter dessert options, this Crustless Pumpkin Pie is my favorite pie of all time!

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (approx 9 sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light butter, melted (regular butter would work too)
  • Cooking spray
  • 11 ounces light cream cheese (Neufchatel, ⅓ less fat)
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9" square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. CRUST: In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; add butter and stir until moistened. Press mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until set. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. FILLING: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Add egg, and beat on low until just combined.
  4. Pour ¾ cup batter into a small bowl. Add pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until well blended.
  5. Pour plain batter over cooled crust. Drop dollops of pumpkin batter over the plain batter. Cut through batter with knife to swirl.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight.

 

Source:  Taste of Home

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

mounds brownies from Alida's Kitchen

Mounds Brownies

With Halloween just around the corner, the excitement is building for fun costumes and candy.  We always somehow end up with more candy than we need to give out (thanks to the person who buys the candy, *ahem* Mike).  While that may be intentional, I’m always happy to try new and tasty recipes using “leftover” candy ~ these Mounds Brownies being one of them!

Mounds Brownies take a basic brownie recipe and dress it up with coconut, simply by adding Mounds candy bars.  It’s amazing how such a simple addition can really transform an otherwise ordinary dessert into something unique and seemingly decadant.  You get a nice-sized chunk of candy bar in each brownie, and fans of chocolate and coconut will enjoy the complementary flavors.

By the way, it’s that time of week again.  We are now in Week 5 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  While this recipe is shared in part to use up Halloween candy, these Mounds Brownies would be a super fun addition to your holiday treat platter.  They’re something a little different yet delicious and very easy to make too.

Mounds Brownies
 
Yields: 16 brownies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 snack-size Mounds candy bars
  • Baking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or a use double-boiler), stirring frequently until melted. Remove bowl from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well-blended. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Fold in flour mixture until combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place Mounds bars on top of batter, pressing down slightly. (I did 3 rows of 4).
  6. Bake until just set, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Slightly adapted from All You, October, 2012

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

lemon bars

Grandma’s Lemon Bars

For the next 11 weeks, I am excited to join a group, hosted by Meal Planning Magic, called 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.   I missed last week due to somebody’s pesky 2 year old molars, hence 11 weeks 🙂   So every Thursday, I will be sharing a delicious Holiday-inspired treat.  I know what you’re thinking…Christmas? It’s only October!  It’s never too early to plan.  Time to dust off those holiday cookie platters!

For my first Christmas treat post, it is only fitting that I share a favorite recipe that my Grandma used to make for the Holidays ~ Lemon Bars.  There was always something extra special about her lemon bars.  They had a perfect balance of tangy and sweet, they had the lovely dusting of powdered sugar on top, and they literally melted in your mouth.  Of our favorites she made, my grandma’s lemon bars topped the list of many (and there definitely were many).  To me, no Holiday cookie platter is complete without lemon bars.  I never realized how easy they were to make, which is an added bonus!

Grandma’s Lemon Bars
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • powdered sugar, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8" square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together butter, 1 cup flour and ¼ cup powdered sugar. Press into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and baking powder. Add eggs, juice and zest, folding gently until combined.
  4. Pour lemon mixture over baked crust.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool completely and then dust with powdered sugar.

 

 

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us!

IMG_1711-001

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Many months ago, I made peanut butter cup blondies.  They were incredible, but also left me wondering about other candy possibilities.  The options seem limitless.  Since Peanut Butter M&Ms rank in my top 5 favorite candies, if not top 3 (after Nutrageous and Peanut Butter Cups, of course), Peanut Butter M&M Blondies were a logical progression.

Let’s just say the experiment was a success.  I used a generous helping of M&Ms instead of peanut butter cups.  I also used peanut butter chips to boost the peanut buttery goodness.  The result was dangerous.  Lots of tasty M&Ms in every bite, lots of good peanut butter flavor…yet they still come in around 210 calories.  Gotta love it!

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ brown sugar, packed
  • ½ granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ⅓ cup natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter M&M candies, divided
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir to combine butter, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Fold in ½ cup peanut butter M&Ms and peanut butter chips.
  6. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread to fill pan. Top with remaining ½ cup peanut butter M&Ms, pressing them into the batter.
  7. Bake for 19 minutes, or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

 

st. patrick's day brownies made with irish cream and irish cream frosting

Frosted Irish Cream Brownies

 Frosted Irish Cream Brownies get a double dose of Irish cream in both the brownie recipe and frosting, making this dessert festive for St. Patrick’s Day yet fun for any time!  Frosted Irish Cream Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

With Saint Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to make you something a little festive. While brownies may not be considered traditional, I figure you can never go wrong with chocolate. Add a little Bailey’s Irish Cream, and these brownies become the perfect little treat to celebrate the holiday!

st. patrick's day brownies made with irish cream and irish cream frosting

This recipe combines elements from a couple “lighter” recipes. The result is a delicious, from-scratch brownie, made with Irish Cream, topped with an Irish Cream frosting. The amount of frosting yields just enough to cover the brownies, or to pipe a cute little swirl of frosting as I have pictured here.  A little bit goes a long way taste-wise, but if you’re a frosting fiend, you may want to double the recipe.
Frosted Irish Cream Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

Frosted Irish Cream Brownies
 
Author:
Yields: 16 brownies
Ingredients
Brownies:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter (I used light butter)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ egg substitute (or 4 large eggs)
  • ¼ cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
Irish Cream Frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¾ to 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • skim milk, as needed
  • green and white sprinkles (for decorating, optional)
Instructions
  1. BROWNIES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large microwavable bowl, add chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high in 30-second increments until chocolate and butter melt. Let cool slightly and then add sugar, egg substitute, Irish Cream and vanilla extract, stirring well with a whisk. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  4. Add flour mixture into butter mixture, folding gently until combined. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. (Note: The key to a fudgy brownie is to not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.
  5. FROSTING: In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, Irish Cream and vanilla extract and beat until blended. Add milk by the teaspoonful, as needed, to achieve desired consistency. Spread, or pipe over, cooled brownies. Decorate with sprinkles, as desired.

Adapted from myrecipes.com and Eat Better America

st. patrick's day brownies made with irish cream and irish cream frosting

no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars with rice krispies

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Bars

In several posts I have talked about my grandma.  I have shared about her love of baking (and her grandchildrens’ love of her baking!)  I have shared one of her recipes.  I have also shared that these Peanut Butter Bars are my favorite of her recipes, which is a bold statement considering all of her ‘Grandma Goodies’ were superb!

Many years before she died, my grandma wrote out several of her recipes and gifted recipe boxes to my brother and to me.  I am so grateful she included the recipe for these bars.  As a child, little did I realize how quick and easy these are to make.   These delicious bars have a simple ingredient list and require no baking.  A reason to love them even more!

If you’re looking for a last minute treat to whip together for the Super Bowl, these couldn’t be any easier.  And your friends will love you!

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Bars
 
Easy, no-bake peanut butter bars made with Rice Krispies and topped with chocolate. This is one of my favorite recipes that my grandma used to make.
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter, chunky
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal (or other puffed rice cereal)
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, beat peanut butter and melted butter until fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, beating until blended.
  3. By hand, stir in cereal.
  4. Put mixture in 8" or 9" square baking pan and use waxed paper to press mixture to fill out pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Melt chocolate chips (in microwave or stovetop) and pour over peanut butter mixture. Spread until evenly covered. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.

coconut chocolate bars {Alida's Kitchen}

Coconut Chocolate Bars

These bars are three layers of coconut, chocolate and brown sugar bliss!  While the layering may make them seem involved, these bars could not be any quicker or easier to make.  First you start with a brown sugar crust – bake for 10 minutes.  Then sprinkle the chocolate over the crust, put back in the oven for a minute to soften the chocolate, and spread evenly.  Last you make the coconut topping, spread over the chocolate layer, and bake again (be careful not to over bake).  The result is an elegant and delicious bar cookie that is sure to delight and impress!

Coconut Chocolate Bars
 
Yields: 36 bars
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup (1 stick) light butter, cut into chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, butter and salt until crumbly. (While messy, I found using fingers works best). Pat into baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate pieces over crust and put back in oven for about 1 minute to soften chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and fold into sugar mixture. Fold in coconut. Spread evenly over chocolate layer. Bake 15-20 minutes (be careful not to over bake). Cool in pan and cut into 3x1-inch bars.

 

Source: back of C & H brown sugar bag

mint cookies 'n cream brownies {Alida's Kitchen}

Mint Cookies ‘n Cream Brownies

Chocolate and mint are a classic combination this time of year, and fortunately these brownies couldn’t be any easier to make.  Besides how could you not love chunks of cookies in a brownie!  The cookies I used for these brownies were Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (which are amazing, by the way).   I assume mint Oreo’s, or whatever your favorite brand, would work just great.   The cookies make these brownies so dangerously delicious, they will be a welcome addition to any holiday treat plate!

Mint Cookies ‘n Cream Brownies
 
Yields: 36 brownies
Ingredients
  • BROWNIE:
  • ½ cup light butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 mint cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, quartered
  • Cooking spray
  • MINT CREAM:
  • ½ cup light butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon mint extract
  • 3 mint cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, well-crushed
  • additional chopped cookies for topping, as desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in chocolate syrup until well blended.
  3. Fold in flour, mixing just until blended. Fold in chopped cookies.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Once cooled, frost with Mint Cream (recipe below) and cut into squares.
  6. In a medium bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add mint extract and then gradually add milk, beating until desired consistency is achieved. Mix in crushed cookies.
  7. Spread over cooled brownies and top with additional chopped cookies, as desired.
Adapted from Taste of Home
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Brown Sugar Brownies

Back in college, I had a recipe for Brown Sugar Brownies.  They were honestly the best brownies I’ve ever had (aside from my grandmother’s of course). I still remember them, but that was ages ago, and sadly my dear recipe is long gone.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was in the middle of baking and ran out of brown sugar.  Mike went on an emergency brown sugar run for me.  When he set the bag down on the counter, it happened to be recipe-side up (hmm…do you think that was intentional?).  What did I see?  Brown Sugar Brownies!

Quick and easy to prepare, this recipe makes a delicious brownie that is more fudgy than cakey.  In fact, they are light and airy and almost melt in your mouth.  Now, I used dark chocolate that I received from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghiardelli.  This would be delicious using unsweetened per the original recipe, but I was pleasantly susprised at the results with what I used.  I also used light butter, which has half the fat and calories of regular butter.  I like using light butter when I can, because if it works why not, right? 

Now for the best part.  If I told you these brownies were under 115 calories each, would you believe it?  I hardly believed it myself!  I did the calculation a few days after making them (and after I had already eaten a few bars).  I was eating half a brownie each time because I expected they would come in a lot higher.   I did the calculation once, checked it again.  It’s true.  These babies clock in around 112!

Brown Sugar Brownies
Yields 16 brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) light butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened OR dark chocolate (such as Ghirardelli Twilight Delight), melted, cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined.
  3. Beat in eggs, adding one at at time. 
  4. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  5. Gently fold in flour, until combined.
  6. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Cut into squares, and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Adapted from back of sugar bag (recipe found here here)

Disclaimer: While this is not my formal write up of my experience with Ghirardelli chocolate, I feel obligated to disclose the following:  “As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with Ghirardelli chocolate for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.”  I will be sharing a full write up of my experience later this week. 

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Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

A couple weeks ago, I enjoyed another Happy Magazine Day with the arrival of Cooking Light’s September, 2011 issue.  When I saw ‘Light Brownies’ featured on the cover, I was intrigued.  When I saw Peanut Butter Cup Blondies, I could not race to the store fast enough to pick up peanut butter cups!

These bars are easy to make and bake up into something amazing.  From the original recipe, I substituted half of the granulated sugar with brown sugar.  I also used skim milk, since that’s what I had on hand and generally prefer.  I used chunky peanut butter, and the little peanut chunks throughout the bars were awesome.  Last, I used milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet, but either would be great.  Dark or white chocolate chips would also be a delicious way to mix it up.

Chewy, peanut buttery, peanut butter cuppy, and oh so good, these bars are simply dreamy.  I adjusted the serving size from 20 to 16.  They are substantial enough to feel like you’re getting a big treat, yet they still come in under 200 calories per bar.  Not bad!

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
 
Yields: 16 to 20 bars
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ⅓ cup natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 (0.75-ounce) peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt (if using).
  3. In a separate medium bowl, stir to combine the peanut butter, butter, milk, vanilla and eggs.
  4. Add peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients, and gently stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Pour batter in prepared baking dish. Arrange peanut butter cups over batter.
  6. Bake for 19 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 192 ~ Carbs: 26g ~ Fiber: >1 ~ Fat: 8.6g ~ Protein: 3.4g

Adapted from Cooking Light