Oreo Brookie Bars

Grit your teeth and get your double-shot espresso latte ready…… for tomorrow, it starts. Back to school, back to facing the insane amount of traffic, and wondering which genius was responsible for only putting in a two lane highway on RM 2222. I’ve already told Alexander that although classes don’t start until 8:45 a.m., we need to leave the house by 7:45 a.m. to allow enough time to make the 5 mile trek.

Yes, it will take us that long to get there. 

Did I mention the traffic is insane?

This year, though, the drive will be markedly different, as it will only be Alexander and myself. And since he has his permit, he can drive us there, too. Truthfully, though, I’m more apprehensive about him driving than I am about Sabrina leaving for college.

Speaking of which, she still has a few months to go until she heads off to Indiana to attend Purdue University. Moving to Indiana. In January. Can you say, weather shock? I had to break it to her yesterday that the Victoria’s Secret sweatshirts she owns aren’t going to cut it. I told her she will need a heavy winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots that will be able to withstand the snow and slush.

I’m sure Dad is chuckling at the visual of her navigating her way through the wintry mess……

And to answer the omnipresent question of, “How do you feel about her moving away?” I will be honest and tell you that I am off-the-charts excited for her. I really am. Of course I’ll miss her (and so will the rest of the family, including the dogs..) but this is a prerequisite step toward her goal of becoming an aerospace engineer, and plotting world domination.

Ok, so the last part of that sentence isn’t true, although given her penchant for explosives, I do see her taking on Mythbusters in her spare time….

Oreo Brookie Bars

For the Brownie layer:
    • 10 tbs unsalted butter
    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the Oreo layer:
    • 1 package of Oreos
For the Cookie Dough layer:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated  sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Brownie layer:

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix. Set batter aside.

For the Cookie Dough layer:

Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Set dough aside.


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan with tin foil and then spray the tin foil with a layer of baking spray.

Spread the cookie dough on the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom layer. Arrange a single layer of Oreos on top of the cookie dough. Spread the brownie batter on top of the Oreo layer evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Brookies are done when a tester comes almost clean from the center. Better to underbake than overbake.

S’More’s Bars

Yesterday, I took Alexander to the DPS for his driving permit.


And then I let him drive halfway home.


This morning, he drove us to school.

My stomach is still a bit queasy from the ride……

So I’m left wondering, how did all this happen? How is it possible that my youngest child will be 16 in less than two weeks? I’m not sure, considering in my mind, he is still this size:

Scan 2 copy

Which reminds me – he’s not. Of course, he’s about two inches taller than me now, and it has become quite obvious that his growth is not slowing down anytime soon, as evidenced by the amount of grocery shopping I do almost every day, and the fact that his clothes, once again, are becoming increasingly ill-fitting. We made a trip to DSW on Sunday, so he could pick up a few new pairs of shoes that actually fit properly, weren’t torn to shreds on one side from skateboarding, and will be acceptable to wear in public so he can attend his sister’s high school graduation ceremony, which, conveniently, takes place the day after his birthday.


Next trip? New, properly fitting clothes for him. And you know how much teenage boys loooooove to go clothes shopping. Although, now that he can drive us there, it might make the trip a bit more bearable.

Might is the operative word. Wish me luck…….


S’More’s Bars – adapted from Food and Wine/Cheryl Day

I’m not a marshmallow fan by any stretch, but I have to admit that I really liked these. The key is not to over-bake the brownie filling. Watch it closely after about 10 minutes – you really do want the center to appear underdone.

  • 3 cups corn flake crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbs. packed light brown sugar

Brownie Filling

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  1. MAKE THE CRUST Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of overhang on two sides. In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix all of the ingredients until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into 
the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Let cool completely. Leave the oven on.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING In a heatproof medium bowl set over 
a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the flour until just incorporated. Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake for about 13 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  3. MAKE THE MERINGUE Preheat the broiler. In a heatproof medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until the whites are warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until firm. Increase the speed to high and beat the meringue until stiff and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4.  Mound the meringue on top of the filling, swirling it decoratively. Broil the meringue 8 inches from the heat until lightly browned at the tips, about 1 minute. Cut into bars and serve.


Pecan Squares

The birthday countdown continues…….

Am I ready? Yes ……….. and no. Ready to celebrate with my family, of course, but not ready to turn another year older. I know, I know, I don’t have a choice, the years will keep a comin’ whether I want to them to or not.

However, let it go on record that I am protesting :)

Anyhoo, I am writing this betwixt and between making dinner and packing, we are leaving for VEGAS tomorrow morning to overtake my parents’ home for a wonderful long weekend filled with family, laughter, and of course, copious amounts of food and wine.

P1000429And cake. 

Did I mention that I am going to make this cake for my birthday?

Can’t wait…..

Pecan Squares – adapted from Ina Garten

1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Soft Raspberry Granola Bars

So…. the reality that I’m actually moving soon hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks the other day.

It was early Sunday morning, in case you were wondering….

There I was……writing the check for the final payment for the property taxes, when it dawned on me that it was the last time I would ever do that for this house again.

I was taken aback for a moment, then did a happy happy dance around the kitchen.

Fortunately, no one saw.

So to celebrate, I went out and bought a truckload of packing boxes, tape, and bubble wrap.

We’re all adults until someone breaks out the bubble wrap….


Soft Raspberry Granola Bars – adapted from Food and Wine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.
Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with the remaining oat mixture.
Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Oatmeal Raisin Bars

With our impending move imminent on the horizon, my next task (aside from not losing my mind) is to use up as much stock in the pantry as I can.

Operation throw-out-all-the junk-I’m-not-moving was a complete and total success – and quite frankly, I am giving myself a well-deserved pat on the back for being so organized and so productive this early in the game. The way things are progressing, it appears that my house may have sold much faster than I anticipated.

As in, the first people that looked at it put in an offer.

However, until there’s a signature on the bottom line (and the cash in the bank), I am not going to fret unnecessarily or alter the current course of action.

So ….. back to my plan. My freezer currently resembles a bachelor pad, which is a nice way of saying it contains ice….. and not much else….


Well, that’s not entirely true. Now, residing on the shelf at precisely eye-level, is a batch of these exceptionally tasty, soft and chewy mmmmmm mmmmmm good cookie bars. Which, based on how easy they are to make (and consume), will definitely be made again using chocolate chips to appease the non-raisin eater in the house *Alexander*.

Of course, the fact that I have a 5 pound bag of oatmeal to use up is a contributing factor as well…..

Oatmeal Raisin Bars – adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides; spray foil with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

So today’s the day of the “BIG GAME”.

I’m referring, of course, to the Super Bowl. Honestly, I don’t care much about the actual game, I’m more concerned with the food, and the commercials.

Those are the important things.

So far, I have dessert covered:


Next on my list: make a big batch of chili, prepare my infamous not-fried hot wings, and to give Daisy a much-needed bath.

That last item has nothing to do with food, of course.

But I’m pretty sure you figured that out on your own……

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars – adapted from what megan’s making

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups quick-cooking or old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and oats. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and beat just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan, using a spatula or your hands to press into place. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool, but cut the bars while they are still somewhat warm, as a knife will go through them more easily.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

I had the Monday doldrums really badly today. Well, maybe doldrums isn’t the correct vernacular…. I felt uninspired and tired. I suppose it was because I woke up several times last night, and realized that no, Toto, I wasn’t in Rome anymore.

Which really kinda bummed me out.

So when Mom called earlier today, and suggested another trip/vacation, the first thing I thought of was, ” More Ricotta Fresca!” Which is this:


Freshly made ricotta cheese – sweet and creamy and unlike ANYTHING you’ve ever had here. And while I’m no expert, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of fresh ricotta in several states – and none of them have ever come close to this.

Just thinking about consuming it again is making my taste buds go agog with unrestrained passion for such an unparalleled culinary experience.

I think I need to sit down for a moment……

In the meantime, go make a batch of these bars. You won’t regret it.


One year ago: White Bean Roasted Garlic Hummus

Blueberry Crumb Bars – adapted from brown eyed baker

Crumb topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg

Blueberry Filling:
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
Juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter, and then the egg (the dough will be crumbly). Press half of dough into the prepared pan. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently fold in the blueberries to coat evenly with the sugar mixture. Spread the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust, drizzling any excess juice in the bowl over the filling. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the blueberry layer.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator.