Dessert bars

They are convenient and so delicious

The heat of summer may not be the ideal time for baking, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still crave gooey sweets. A picnic, party or cookout wouldn’t be the same without dessert, especially one that is easy to make and even easier to eat, like rich dessert bars – no plate, no silverware required.

To get out of the kitchen fast try using convenient packaged mixes or refrigerated doughs. The results may not be from scratch, but who will know, or even care?

In less than an hour you can whip up fudgy Milky Way Brownies using a box of brownie mix and sliced candy bars. To make them even richer they get topped with an easy frosting made with, what else, Milky Way Bars.

Summer is the perfect time to serve anything citrus. Coconut-Lemon Bars go together fast with a crust of refrigerated crescent roll dough and a refreshing lemon and coconut filling.

Another fast and easy bar, Nutty Butterscotch, has a buttery crust made with a yellow cake mix topped with nuts and butterscotch chips and a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla. The results are delightful!

Choose any of these recipes for your next gathering and make everyone happy – especially the cook.

Milky Way Brownies

1 regular-sized box fudge brownie mix (not family size)

3 (2-ounce) Milky Way Bars, divided

5 T. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Mix brownies according to package directions. Pour half of batter into greased 8×8-inch baking pan.

Slice 1 candy bar into pieces 1/8-inch thick (refrigerate candy bar prior to slicing.) Distribute candy slices evenly over batter. Cover with remaining batter and smooth over. Bake 40 to 42 minutes.

During last 10 minutes of baking time prepare frosting. Chop remaining two candy bars into 1/2-inch chunks and place in small saucepan. Add butter and melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, till candy melts completely and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. Frost brownies while they are still hot. Makes16.

Coconut-Lemon Crescent Bars

Crust:

1 can (8-ounce) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Filling:

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup flaked coconut

2 T. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel

1/4 tsp. salt

2 T. fresh lemon juice

2 T. butter, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles. Press into bottom and 1/2-inch up sides of ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan to form crust, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Bake 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix all filling ingredients till well blended. Pour filling over partially baked crust. Bake 12 to 17 minutes longer or till light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars, 6 rows by 6 rows. Makes 36 bars.

Nutty Butterscotch Bars

1 package yellow cake mix

1/3 cup butter, softened

3 eggs, divided

1 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts (see tip below)

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease or spray 13×9-inch baking pan.

In large bowl of electric mixer on medium speed beat cake mix, butter and 1 egg for 1 to 2 minutes or till crumbly. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with pecans and butterscotch chips.

In medium bowl beat condensed milk, remaining 2 eggs and vanilla till well blended. Pour over pecan and chip layer. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or till center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 24 to 36.

Tip: To toast nuts, place in single layer on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven 8 to 10 minutes, or till lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Cool before using.

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