Category Archives: Blondies, Brownies, & Bars

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

When I don’t know what to make, I make magic bars. I have all sorts of recipes for them on this site—vanilla malt, peanut butter-Oreo, and s’mores are some of my favorites. As long as I have sweetened condensed milk in my pantry, nothing is safe from being turned into a magic bar.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

These layered bars are so easy to make and so good. I mean, how could a buttery crumb crust topped with chewy, caramelly filling possibly be bad?! There is barely any mixing involved; the majority of the ingredients are layered or scattered into the pan. Their titular “magic” comes from the way their sweetened condensed milk-based filling seems to assemble itself in the oven.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

Today’s variation involves sweet, chewy coconut, smooth white chocolate, and buttery spice from Biscoff cookies. These are a little unusual, but definitely still magical. Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars are super simple to make, containing just seven ingredients and taking under an hour to prepare. Simply mix together the Biscoff cookie crumb crust, bake it for a few minutes, then layer the filling ingredients on top and bake again. Make sure to let these bars cool completely so that the caramelized sweetened condensed milk will set up properly—we love clean slices!

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

Now you might be wondering “why these flavors?” Well, as I alluded to above, magic bars are a great way to bake with the odds and ends in your pantry. I opened mine one day and saw the dregs of some coconut, the last of a bag of white chocolate chips, and a sleeve of Biscoff cookies—simple as that. The light spice of the Biscoff and the oven-toasted coconut compliment each other incredibly well, and the white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk add richness and texture.

If you’re not already sold, you’ll have to trust me that these bars are much more than the sum of their seven parts. Or, you know, you can dig into your own cabinets and make a weird and wonderful magic bar recipe of your own.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars
Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

26 Biscoff cookies, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping
6 Biscoff cookies, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease again. Set aside.

Place 20 Biscoff cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add brown sugar and melted butter. Pulse until combined. Alternatively, cookies may be crushed in a bag and crust ingredients may be mixed in a bowl.

Transfer crust mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread into an even layer. Scatter coconut over the top, followed by white chocolate chips.

Break remaining 6 Biscoff cookies into pieces and scatter over the top. Use the palms of your hands to lightly press the toppings into the sweetened condensed milk. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil if anything becomes too dark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled. The bars will set as they cool. Top with more white chocolate chips if desired.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Have you ever had Millionaire’s Shortbread? Called “millionaire’s” because it’s so rich, it’s a popular sweet in the UK, consisting of a buttery shortbread crust layered with homemade caramel and dark chocolate. It’s as delicious as it is beautiful to look at, and one of my favorite recipes that hasn’t made it onto this blog yet…though I have a sneaking suspicion it will before the year is out.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

For now though, I’m taking the Millionaire’s Shortbread look and flavors and pushing them in an easy no-bake direction, just in time for picnic season. Instead of using a shortbread crust, I’m swapping in a layer of Rice Krispies Treats!

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Oh, y’all, these Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats are so good! They’re super rich and delicious with an irresistible, chewy, crispy crust. And I mean, can we take a minute to admire these layers?!

Let’s take a look at each one. To start, I used my go-to Rice Krispies Treats formula. As a general rule, I use 1 tablespoon butter : 1 cup mini marshmallows : 1 cup cereal and round up as needed. I’ve doubled that formula to give the other layers a good thick base. If you like, you may use another formula (there are a zillion out there), but keep in mind that you want these Rice Krispies Treats to be sturdier than they are gooey to support all the other layers.

For the middle caramel layer, I decided to forgo the homemade caramel this time around, instead opting for a mix of melted soft caramel candies and cream. Some will sink into the nooks in the Rice Krispies Treats as it sets, while the rest will set smoothly to support the chocolate topping. Yum!

The top is the easiest layer of all three: dark chocolate and butter melted together until smooth and spread from edge to edge. Easy peasy.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

As with many no-bake treats, these are easy to make but take a fair amount of time since each layer needs to set up before the next can be added. The whole process can be done in a couple hours though (including setting time), so it’s no big deal. If you don’t have time to make these all in one go, you can take a few minutes here and there and assemble them at your leisure.

Once all the layers are set and chilled, it’s time to slice up the treats! Since these are so rich, I like to cut these pretty small (24 servings from an 8-inch pan), but do whatever makes you happy. While you need a few chills to set these treats properly, you may serve them cold or at room temperature. I like both, but am extra fond of the gooey caramel centers the room temp versions have to offer.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Like I said above, I think these would be wonderful for picnics and other casual get togethers this spring. I took a batch to a meeting last week and they were *very* popular. More than one person said “I can’t believe you actually made these. They’re so good!” Just proof that you only need a tiny amount of effort for a dessert that looks and tastes like a million bucks!

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats
Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats
makes one 8-inch square pan, about 24 treats

Rice Krispies Treats:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Caramel Filling:
16 ounces caramel candies (1 1/2 11-ounce bags, about 60 caramels)
6 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Butter a 8-inch square pan. Line it with parchment, leaving overhang on at least two sides for removal. Butter again.

Make the Rice Krispies Treats. Heat a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add mini marshmallows and salt, and stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

Transfer cereal to prepared pan. Use greased implements or hands (be careful—the mixture is hot!) to press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool completely.

Make the caramel filling. Combine caramels, heavy cream, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour caramel over the top of the Rice Krispies Treats and smooth to the edges. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring to the freezer for 30 minutes (or the refrigerator for 2 hours) to firm up.

Make the chocolate topping. Combine chopped chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted. Drop chocolate over filling and use a small offset icing spatula to carefully spread it over the caramel. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to the freezer until chocolate has hardened and the bars are chilled through, about 30 minutes (or 1-2 hours in the refrigerator).

Use parchment overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully remove and discard parchment. Use a lightly-greased sharp chef’s knife to slice into 24 pieces. For cleanest slices, wipe knife clean between cuts.

Treats may be served cold or at room temperature. They may be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For best storage, layer them with parchment or wax paper.

Malted Milk Blondies

Malted Milk Blondies

Due to time constraints, I had to slice into these Malted Milk Blondies before they had cooled completely, so they lack the clean edges I usually go for. But perfect aesthetics aside, look at these warm, malty brown sugar blondies full of chopped malted milk balls. Aren’t they magnificent?

Malted Milk Blondies

If you’re as completely over-the-moon about malted anything as I am, these are basically flawless. In addition to the softness and chew of a great blondie, they have a depth of flavor that can only come from a hefty scoop of malted milk powder. My favorite bites are the ones that have little bits of malted milk ball candy in them! Malt on malt on malt—if you know, you know.

Malted Milk Blondies

Besides being absolutely delicious, making Malted Milk Blondies is easy as can be! The batter comes together in minutes and bakes in half an hour. When it comes out of the oven, I like to dot the top of the blondies with more chopped malted milk balls for even more malt flavor (and some cuteness).

Oh yes, malt lovers. These are for you. They’re for us.

Malted Milk Blondies
Malted Milk Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup malted milk powder
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
~1 1/4 cups roughly chopped malted milk balls candy (like Whoppers), divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside.

Make the blondie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and malted milk powder. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in 1 cup of roughly chopped malted milk balls.

Transfer the blondie batter into the prepared pan and smooth to throw edges. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Red Velvet Blondies

Red Velvet Blondies​

When someone asks my favorite holiday, I usually say something expected like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but honestly? It’s Oscar Night. It’s always been Oscar Night. Lucky for me, it’s this weekend.

Half of you are probably clicking away or rolling your eyes (or both), but hear me out. People like what they like, and no matter how ABC or the Academy try to screw them up, I like the Oscars. I like the dresses, the pageantry, and the movies, and I especially like that I can’t remember ever missing a ceremony.

Red Velvet Blondies​

One of my absolute best friends and I are bonded over our love of Oscar, spending the entire calendar year discussing how things may or may not go, and then watching every film in every category before the big night (at the time of publishing, I have exactly three left). Technology has many drawbacks, but one of the great things it’s done for us is connecting with a whole community of people who are just as into awards season as we are—it’s the best.

While with other holidays there are prescribed ways to celebrate, Oscar Night is more of a “choose your own adventure” sort of occasion. You have to watch the show, of course, but any other traditions are completely up to you. Some have parties, some order Chinese food, some have no rituals and allow chaos to reign supreme. I stay home all day if possible, watch all the red carpet coverage, finalize my predictions, and make a Pesto-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese. Oh, and there has to be a red velvet dessert—red like the red carpet, obviously.

Red Velvet Blondies​

Last year’s offering was a Vegan, Gluten-Free Red Velvet Sheet Cake, but I’ve also done the traditional layer cake, a cookie cake, thumbprints, sandwich cookies, and cut-out cookies shaped like Oscars. This year, I’m going very simple—I’m taking an old recipe out of my archives and simplifying it just a tiny bit. Yep, you’ve seen these Red Velvet Blondies before, but they were covered in cheesecake! Today they’re just by their lonesome (+ white chocolate chips), but no less delicious. The first time I made these was for my 27th birthday picnic, and I’m turning 37 this year, so you know this recipe is tried and true!

Red Velvet Blondies​

Red Velvet Blondies come together in under an hour and don’t require a mixer. They absolutely hit all the red velvet marks, too. Aside from being a vibrant red, these bars are perfectly chewy, have the vanilla-chocolate flavor we know and love, and are stuffed to the gills with white chocolate chips! And yeah, I know Red Velvet Blondies with white chocolate chips don’t hit quite the same notes as Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, but they’re also less than half the work of a layer cake. As far as I’m concerned , that’s always a hit.

Red Velvet Blondies​
Red Velvet Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon gel)
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips + more for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Whisk in egg and yolk, followed by white vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in flour mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (no wet batter). If desired, dot the top with more white chocolate chips while bars are still warm.

Allow bars to cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Use parchment overhang to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice them into bars. Serve.

Red Velvet Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars​

Nothing is better than homemade chocolate chip cookies, but these Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars might give them a run for their money. I mean, what’s not to love about two thin layers of chewy chocolate chip cookie sandwiched together with a layer of chocolate fudge?! It goes without saying that these are sublime.

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars​

This recipe is remarkably easy to make (and even easier to eat). The chocolate chip cookie portion is simply my go-to cookie cake recipe. I made 1.5x the amount to fill a 9×13” pan and just used regular melted butter instead of browning it, but otherwise it’s the same one bowl, no-mixer recipe I’ve used for years.

The fudge is even easier than the cookie dough! Simply melt some dark chocolate in the microwave and then stir in a can of sweetened condensed milk. The mixture will be very thick and fudgy (because it’s fudge, duh). If you were to spread it in a square pan and let it cool, you could slice it into pieces and eat it as is, but today it’s going between two layers of cookie dough and being baked to chewy, chocolaty perfection.

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars​

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars only need 30 minutes in the oven—it’s the cooling step that takes a while! It will be worth it though because you’ll get chewy cookie, soft fudge and perfectly clean edges. Who can resist these layers?! Not me. That’s for damn sure.

Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars​
Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
makes one 9x13-inch pan, 24-30 bars

Cookie Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
18 tablespoons (2 sticks + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Fudge:
12 ounces chopped dark chocolate
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the long sides for removal, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cookie dough. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, stirring to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Transfer half the dough to prepared pan and spread/press into one even layer.

Make the fudge. Place dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until melted and smooth. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk. Mixture will be thick.

Use an offset icing spatula or the back of a spoon to spread fudge over the layer of cookie dough, making sure to go all the way to the edges. Use your hands to press the remaining dough into an even layer over the top of the fudge; this is easiest if you work with a little bit at a time and patch it together.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the top no longer appears shiny.

Let cookie bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the parchment overhang to remove to a cutting board. Discard parchment. Use a large sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Decorated cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.