Tag Archives: pick-up desserts

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars taste like an extra gooey chocolate chip cookie with a little bit of a cake-like taste made into a bar.  They rank among my favorite desserts, and they’re amazingly easy to make.  They’re much easier to make with a mixer, but you can hand stir them in a pinch as long as the butter is soft.  They are best served warm or at least the day you make them.  They’ll still be good the next day, but they go downhill fast because of how gooey and almost undercooked they are.  Take them to a party, and they’ll disappear FAST.  

Difficulty:  Easy

Source:  you guessed it – my mom

1 package yellow cake mix (preferably Duncan Hines Butter Golden)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup softened butter (you could use margarine, but I stick with butter… no pun intended)

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup pecan pieces (optional, and I’m always always always going to leave any type of nuts out of the recipe)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars - Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 convection.  Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips and pecans.  When thoroughly mixed, spread in a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Pam (original flavor) is my favorite cooking spray, but just be sure not to grab the garlic flavored Pam your roommate bought years ago and never used.  I can tell you from experience, that will completely ruin your dessert.  I get a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar dough

Sprinkle with chocolate chips (and pecans if you choose).  It looks like a lot of choc chips, but remember that they’re not mixed into the batter, so this is just right when they mix in as they bake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars ready to bake

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (or 325 convection for 20 minutes).  I take them out of the oven when the top has browned a little and the edges have browned a little more and start to pull away from the sides.  It may not look quite done in the middle, but that’s what makes it so perfectly gooey when it cools.  It will still be good if you cook it a little longer – just more like the consistency of a brownie.


Let it cool, and cut it into bars.  They are best on the day that they are made.



Chocolate Chip Bars square

The Story:  To redeem myself from the last few times I’ve been caught empty-handed at the “what did you bring us” question, I dropped these off at my friend’s house – the one with 4 boys age 1-7.  She sent me this picture a few hours later.

Choc chip bars - empty pan

And the 7 year old doesn’t like chocolate, so they were down a man when trying to conquer this pan.  Now THAT is impressive.  No word on whether anyone made themselves sick…

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Kahlua Brownies (aka Shower Brownies)

Kahlua Brownies are great for serving at parties because they’re pretty and delicious and in a completely different league than your traditional brownie.  They gained the nickname “Shower Brownies” because our friend who gave us the recipe served them at so many wedding and baby showers.  This recipe makes a half sheet pan worth of brownies, which, cut in 1+ inch squares, yields 88 brownies.  If you serve them, you will get requests for the recipe!

Source:  Jane Hyde gave the recipe to my family, and she found it in Mississippi magazine.  It was Jane’s daughter who dubbed them Shower Brownies.

Difficulty:  Medium (just because it has 3 layers so it’s more time consuming than your regular brownie)


1 ½ cups butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour

¾ teaspoon salt

Kahlua Brownies Ingredients

Cream butter and sugar.  Add melted chocolate.

Shower Brownies Step 1

Add eggs, one at a time.

After all the eggs have been added
After all the eggs have been added

Add vanilla.  Stir salt and flour together and then add to mixture.  Pour into greased 12×17 jelly roll pan (“half sheet pan”).

 Kahlua Brownies Step 3

Bake about 20 minutes at 350, or until just done. Remove from oven and sprinkle with a little Kahlua.  Don’t you hate it when recipes are vague?  I use a half tablespoon or a little more.  The variation in color of the chocolate in the picture below shows streaks and drops of Kahlua.



6 tablespoons butter

4 ½ cups powdered sugar

6 tablespoons milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons Kahlua


Beat until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies.


Refrigerate or leave on the counter for awhile to let the icing set.


2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

Melt over low heat.



Once it has cooled a little, place in plastic bag.


Snip tiny bit off corner of bag and drizzle over frosted brownies in a criss cross pattern.  I like it to look a little messy, which is convenient since it’s difficult to be perfectly precise with the plastic bag method of drizzling.


If you want the lines to go straight all the way to the end of the pan, place the pan on a counter you can sprinkle with chocolate (or wax paper like I did in the picture), then drizzle past the edges of the pan so that your turnaround spot is on the counter, not the brownies.  Drizzle with a fast sweeping motion.  You can freeze these for a few weeks as long as they’re in an airtight container.  I use the plastic lids for my pans and then wrap tightly in foil.  Cut in 1 inch squares and serve room temperature or a little cool.

thanks to my mom for this photo!


One day I’m going to experiment with replacing the Kahlua with peppermint extract and tinting the frosting green or pink to show that it’s mint.  However, every time I start to make them, I think… but they’re SO tasty with Kahlua, why mess with a great thing?  So I haven’t done it yet, but I will, and then I’ll blog about it.

The Story:  The trees are covered with ice, and the temperature is dropping dropping dropping, so i’m cooking cooking cooking today.  I’m making these for a Christmas party next weekend.  I’m freezing them tightly wrapped in foil until the day of the party to keep them as fresh as possible.

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