Posts tagged ‘bars’

September 20th, 2011

white chocolate island bars

It’s like a Blondie, but better.

It’s like a macadamia nut cookie, but better.

White Chocolate Island Bars!
They are a delicious marriage of brown sugar, coconut, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts…and they are bar-shaped!  I like to make these for hubs on special occasions, they are very sweet but oh, so good!


  • 1-2/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. butter (softened)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. (or more) vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 2 c. white chocolate chips (I used Nestle brand)
  • 1 c. sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 c. macadamia nuts (chopped)
Preheat the oven to 375.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk together to blend.  In a mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium until creamy.  Beat in egg until well blended.  Gradually add and beat in flour mixture.  By hand, stir in white chocolate chips, coconut and nuts.  Use an ungreased bar pan (seen here) and fill each cavity with about 3 Tbsp of batter. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until edges are golden and dry.  Remove from oven when toothpick comes out of center clean.  Remove bars from pan and place on to cooling racks until cooled completely.  Yeilds: approximately 12-16 bars, depending on how full you make the individual cavities.
Coconut, macadamia nuts and simple pleasures always make me think of island life…what about you?
August 31st, 2011

corn pops gooey cereal bars

This past weekend I traveled back home to Texas to go house hunting in West Texas, aka the desert of death.  Hubs and I will be moving there in early 2012 (thank goodness it won’t be summertime) and so we needed to scope out the options we had available for a place to live.  Since we’ve been married I think it’s the longest amount of time I’ve been gone from home. Hubs is gone a lot because of his job, but it’s rare that he is home and I am not.  When I walked in the house at midnight on Sunday night, after a long day of traveling, I saw these beauties waiting for me on the kitchen island:

A pyramid of Kellog’s Corn Pops Cereal Gooey Bars – a treat he made up on the spot!


Hubs and I are cereal freaks. Seriously. We registered for twice as many bowls and spoons as we did plates and forks for our wedding. Also, at any given time you can find at least 5 varieties of cereal in our pantry, and we usually have at least two cartons of (lactose-free) milk in our refrigerator at any time.  Spoons are never in full stock in our silverware drawer and we oftentimes eat cereal for breakfast and dinner.

We don’t play around with the cereal here at the O’Brien household.  

Corn Pops has always been a favorite of mine, mostly because I can eat it dry or with milk, and it’s all the same. I’ve recently strayed away from keeping it on hand, but that’s not for lack of loving the taste. So hubs got all domestic on me this weekend and made me some gooey treats for my arrival home. I must say they are quite delicious at 12 midnight, especially after you skipped dinner because you were rushing through an airport to make your connecting flight home.

Corn Pops Gooey Cereal Bars


3 Tbsp Butter, cold

1 bag of large white marshmallows

2 Tbsp of brown sugar

4 – 5 cups Kellogs Corn Pops cereal


In a large saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows until smooth. Add the brown sugar and mix well until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in cereal, one cup at a time, making sure all the cereal gets coated evenly with the gooey mixture.  You want there to be more gooey, and less cereal.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and let completely cool.  Cut into squares to serve.

Can be stored in an airtight container up to 6 days, if they last that long!

The only thing sweeter than these treats was the fact that my hubs made them just for me…I am so blessed to have him!

August 26th, 2011

strawberries & creme frozen bars

I first spied these frozen treats in Martha’s FOOD magazine for the summer. Then I saw them over at ValSoCal’s blog and since everything Val dishes up makes me drool, I knew it was a sign I had to make these!  They remind me of virgin strawberry daiquiri’s…yum.


  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if large (6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use a homemade version that includes scrapings of Tahitian vanilla beans and pure clear rum)


  1. In a blender, combine strawberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and pinch of salt and puree until smooth. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer to freezer and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy, 2 hours. Smooth top with a rubber spatula.

The bars are very simple in terms of ingredients and even though they contain vanilla extract, it’s safe to say they are gluten-free (just for you Jules!).  The hardest thing in my opinion is the process of freezing/scraping the puree so it makes a sort-of granita mixture.  This takes about two hours.

Don’t let the 2-hour process scare you away.  Once it’s done you can be proud of yourself for (1) sucessfully making granita and (2) sculpting your arms.

When you’re an avid workout-avoider like myself, you gotta take what you can get wherever you can get it!

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3 minutes. In another medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. With rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg-white mixture. Pour over strawberry mixture and smooth top with rubber spatula.

Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares. Don’t worry about them melting, they will be gone before you can say, “Dessert’s ready!

June 30th, 2011

brookies: the best of two worlds

When I first moved to Florida the hubs and I hung out with a handful of different couples from his job.  This usually involved eating a meal of some sorts and what meal is complete without dessert? (Hint: NONE.)

I wanted to take a sweet something with us when we met Jeff & Rachel for dinner, but I was torn: brownies or chocolate chip cookies? Both sounded delicious, but making a whole batch of brownies and a whole batch of cookies for 4 adults didn’t exactly appeal to me…or my skinny jeans!

I opted for these little gems, which I affectionately nicknamed: Brookies! 1 part brownie + 1 part cookie = Brookie! The best part is that they are SO simple to make – in fact, if it weren’t for the fact that we only hang out with a handful of couples and the fear that eventually they would be Brookie-d out, I’d make these to take to EVERY potluck!

First you prepare your brownie mix and then fill your pan with it. Traditionally these are made in a square brownie pan, but I have these awesome dessert bar pans that I am obsessed with using – especially if I’m making treats to take some place outside of our home. It pre-portions the dessert so there is no cutting and no whining, “his piece is bigger than my piece – not fair!”

I might have heard that a once or twice in my 10 years as a nanny.

…Or maybe enough to never want to hear it again.

After I portion out the brownie mix evenly among the squares, I place one teaspoon of chocolate chip cookie dough mix on top. No need to mash it down or anything, it can sit nicely on top. Then bake on 375 until edges are crispy and cookie appears golden brown on top. Voila!

Now that I’m thinking about it… a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the cookie craters would be the proverbial cherry on top! I might just save that addition for next time – good thing these are a dessert staple so it won’t be a long wait.

I wonder what other combinations would work out as well as these two classic desserts? Maybe a peanut butter cookie for a Reeses-inspired Brookie? Ideas?