Strawberry-Lime Gooey Bars


Strawberry Lime Gooey Bars


It was the name that got me first, then the color.  They looked so bright and pretty in the picture, my mouth began to water, and next thing I knew I was tearing through my storage cupboard looking for the strawberry cake mix that I knew was in there somewhere.


I was desperate for these bars.  I could taste them way in advance of making them.  You know, I often forget how much I like strawberry (anything), until something forces me to make it.  Then, of course, I remember how much I really like it.  Just like when I’m ordering a milk shake….I always order vanilla.  But if Mr. D. orders strawberry, and I taste his, then I’m like, “dang, why didn’t I order that too”?

That’s pretty much how it was with these strawberry gooey bars.


There was no lime in the original recipe, but I felt that all that concentrated strawberry sweetness would be too much, so I brightened up the flavor with fresh lime juice and zest.  Now they are not cloyingly sweet, and I love how pretty and pink they are.  Just the ticket, I think, for a Valentine’s Day treat.



Yield:  Make 16 barsIMG_9008


  • 1  (15.25-oz.) box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, ( low-fat, or non-fat are OK)
  • lime zest to garnish tops of bars, if desired


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, then spray well with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Beat butter with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add in the cake mix, egg, lime juice and zest and continue beating until it all comes together and forms a thick dough.

3.  Press about 2/3’s of the cake mixture onto bottom of the foil-lined pan.  Sprinkle white chocolate chips over the top.


4.  Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the chips.

5.  Drop the remaining cake dough in “blobs” over the top of the milk, trying to spread it out as much as possible.  Press lightly.


6.  Bake for 29 – 32 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

7.  Cool bars in pan on a cooking rack.  When completely cooled, cut into squares.  Top with additional lime zest, if desired.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.



SOURCE:    Mom on Time Out


No More Burned Marshmallows

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like S’mores, do you?  I was first introduced to them when I was a young girl at Girl Scout Camp where we roasted the marshmallows on a stick over a camp fire.  It seemed like mine always caught fire, and I ended up with a charred, blackened marshmallow while everyone else’s marshmallow was golden and perfectly toasted.  I usually insisted that I made it that way on purpose because I loved them burned.  😦

roasting a marshmallow

roasting a marshmallow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now-a- days, I’ll gladly eat a S’more if someone else will toast my marshmallow, because I still can’t seem to get it right!   That’s probably why I think these bars are so fabulous.  There is no toasting of marshmallows involved—what’s used here is marshmallow fluff out of a jar.  While it’s a little sticky to spread, I’m better with that than I am with an open fire.

S'mores Bars

S’mores Bars

I found this recipe hidden away at the bottom of an ad from my Mazda dealer.  Sneaky little devil, thought I wouldn’t see it!      Well, I did see it, and I made it for us all to enjoy.  People,  you will be so happy that I’m sharing it with you.  No longer will you need to go camping, or build a fire to toast marshmallows,  just make these ooey, gooey, chocolatey, bars and you will have the best without the mess.  🙂




Yield:   Makes 16 bars

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2   (3.5 oz.) bars dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment  paper, leaving an overhang at the sides.

2.  In a mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture until well combined.  Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

4.  Spread 2/3 of the batter onto the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Lay the two chocolate bars in an even layer across the dough.

5.  Spread the marshmallow fluff over the chocolate, and crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

6.  Bake until puffed and set, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely.  Remove the square from the pan using the paper overhang and place on a cutting board.  Cut into 16 squares.

So good.  After one you will want s'more!

So good. After one you will want s’more!


Carmelita Bars

Carmelita Bars

I charge 500 kisses for these bars!    That’s a lot of kisses, but boy, they’re worth it.

I have a very good friend who loves these bar cookies, and whenever he says he wants some cookies, I always say “it’s gonna cost ya”.  When he says, “how much?”,  I say, ” 500 kisses”.    He loves the cookies and I love the pay-off!  (This is all in jest, of course.)     Try baking these for someone special in your life and see what the reward will be.

Buttery crust and crumb topping.  In the middle, chocolate, caramel and nuts.

Buttery crust and crumb topping. In the middle, chocolate, caramel and nuts.

No one I know can resist a caramelita bar.  The base and top layer is made of flour, butter, oats and brown sugar, and the middle layer consists of chocolate, nuts and caramel, but you can customize this layer with whatever you may have in your pantry.  I’ve used different kinds of nuts, coconut, toffee chips and butterscotch chips.  They’re a hit however you make them.

If you need to bribe someone, do it with these!

If you need to bribe someone, do it with these!

Baked in a 13 x 9-inch pan you get about 32 bars.  You will need to let them cool about 30 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to prevent the caramel from sticking.  Once cool, they cut neatly into the desired number of squares or bars.


Yield:   about 32 barsIMG_4247


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package caramels ( 14 – 16 oz.) unwrapped**
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream**
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts, or other kinds


1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and milk or cream.  Heat gently, and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

**My tip:  a quick and easy step-saver is to use a jar of caramel ice-cream topping instead.  It works just as well and I think is less costly. You will need to use 1 1/4  cups of prepared caramel topping if you go this route.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease, or line with parchment, a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

3.  In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix at low speed just to combine.  Add the butter, a chunk at a time, with the mixer running.   Once all the butter is in, add the egg.

4.  Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture for the topping.  Pour the remainder into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.  You can lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and then use a loaf pan to press it down evenly.  Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 10 minutes.

5.  After removing the base from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.  Drizzle the caramel sauce over the them, and then sprinkle the reserved base mixture over the top.  Press down lightly to help it adhere.   Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.



Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars.

Blackberry Pie Bars.

Once again I’ve been called upon to provide the dessert for a pot-luck affair.  As we approach the end of the school year, many other activities also take a break for the summer and the last meeting of many organizations often involve food in the form of a picnic or pot-luck dinner.  So here we go again —-not that I mind,  it gives me the chance to bake, maybe try out something new, and then tell you all about it.  How cool is that?

Buttery crumb crust, creamy blackberry filling, more buttery crumbs on top.

Buttery crumb crust, creamy blackberry filling, more buttery crumbs on top.

While today’s recipe is called “pie’ bars, they’re not really like pie at all.  There is a bottom crust made of buttery crumbs, with a sprinkle of more crumbs to top, and in the middle a “berry” filling.  The recipe calls for black berries and that is what I used here, but I’ve made these before using raspberries, and they were super yummy too.  These bars are quick to put together, and are a great way to use up frozen berries you might have in your freezer;  you know, to make room for more berries over the summer.

Oh yeah, these are simply the best!.

Oh yeah, these are simply the best!.

I added a little lemon zest to the crust, and lemon juice to the filling and I think it brightens up the flavor, and makes an irresistible combination.  They bake up quite thick, so I cut them into small-ish squares to be eaten with fingers, but if serving them on a plate, these would be set off nicely by a dab of vanilla ice cream.  I like them while still a little warm from the oven, but they are also excellent served chilled straight from the fridge.  Once you give these a try they will undoubtedly become a staple for bringing to summertime parties and get-togethers.  Be adventurous and try other fruits as well.


Yield:  16 – 20 bars


For the crust and topping:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold

    Blackberries----the stars of  the show!.

    Blackberries—-the stars of
    the show!.

For the filling:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 15 – 16 oz. blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices)


Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly.  In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Process in short pulses to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.

Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture for topping the bars.  Add the rest of the mixture to the  prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan.  Bake 12 – 15 minutes, until light golden.  Let cool 10 -15 minutes before proceeding.

In a medium bowl, make the filling mixture.  Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon juice an vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Gently stir in the blackberries with a spatula.  Spread the filling mixture over the pre-baked crust in the baking pan.  Crumble the reserved topping mixture evenly over the filling.

Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Chill to firm up before slicing and serving.


SOURCE:   The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather