Banana Blondies with Chocolate Crust

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Banana Blondies with Chocolate Crust
Source: New York Times

Makes about: 9×13 pan, or about 35 cookies, depending on how you cut
Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 45-55 mins

These were very sweet, very rich, and very buttery. They were really delicious, likely from the fact that it contains a TON of butter. The banana topping is especially rich because it’s got 1.5 sticks of browned butter goodness. This is also very easy to make!

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/4 cups), more for greasing pan
200 grams chocolate wafer cookies (to make about 3 cups crumbs), crushed into crumbs
55 grams light brown sugar (about 1/4 cup)
3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), plus a pinch
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
455 grams dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
130 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
80 grams toasted walnuts, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare 9×13’’ baking pan.
2. To make the crust: mix together the butter, chocolate cookie crumbs, brown sugar, and salt. Process in food processor until “damp sand.” Dump into pan, press to an even layer, and bake 7-10 minutes. Let cool.
3. Reduce oven to 350F.
4. Brown 12 tablespoons of butter (cook until foam subsides and butter turns a deep brown, 5 min). Let cool
5. Whisk together bananas, eggs, brown sugar, rum, and butter. Mix in flour, salt, walnuts. Pour over prepared crust
6. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Source: Ina Garten

Makes about: one 9×13 tray (half of original recipe)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes.

These bar cookies were very sweet and full of familiar flavors (peanut butter and jelly!). They were crunchy on top, with sugar soft inner filling.

1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup jam (I used 18oz jar—25 tbsp jar)
1/3 cup peanuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9×13’’ baking pan with parchment paper or greased foril.
2. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar together.
3. Mix in vanilla extract and egg.
4. Beat in flour, baking powder, salt.
5. Spread 2/3 of dough into prepared pan.
6. Spread jam over the cookie dough.
7. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 of dough over jam.
8. Bake 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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Neely’s Lime Bars

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Neely’s Lime Bars
Source: Food Network

These are very sweet bars. I omitted the zest because I was too lazy to zest the limes. You’ll get more lime flavor if you put in the zest, but it was still good without it. There’s a very high crust to filling ratio, which I didn’t like as much.

Makes about: one 9×13 pan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes (crust) +25-30 minutes (filling)

1 cup butter
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups flour
pinch of salt

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp flour
¼ cup+ 2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp lime zest

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream together butter, confectioner’s sugar.
3. Mix in flour, salt. Should be sandy in texture.
4. Press into prepared pan.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
6. Mix together eggs, sugar, flour, lime juice, and zest until well blended.
7. Pour over prepared crust.
8. Bake until the filling sets (no longer jiggly), about 25-30 minutes.
9. Let cool completely before cutting (place in freezer or fridge to help that process along.

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Congo Bars


Congo Bars
Source: Brown-Eyed Baker

These cookies are filled with coconut, chocolate, and nuts, which gives them a nice crunchy texture. The cookie itself is soft and has a slight butterscotch flavor.

Makes About: 1 8×8 pan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 22-25 minutes

¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
⅜ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
¾ tsp vanilla
¾ cups unsweetened shredded coconut (toasting optional)
½ cup pecans (toasting optional)
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8’’ pan by lining with parchment paper.
2. Mix together butter and brown sugar.
3. Mix in egg and vanilla until combined.
4. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Stir in coconut, pecans, semisweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips.
6. Pour into prepared pan.
7. Bake 22-25 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.



Chocolate Chip Congo Bars

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Chocolate Chip Congo Bars
Adapted from Bakerella

These congo bars are basically chocolate chip cookies in brownie form. I really like them cut into small pieces (they’re like candy bars). These are just like soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies, but in bar form.

Makes About: One 9×13
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30-35 minutes

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted or softened
2 ½ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.
3. Beat in eggs
4. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Mix in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
6. Pour into prepared pan; bake for 30-35 minutes until knife comes out clean.

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Plum Cardamom Bars

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Plum Cardamom Bars
Source: The Bojon Gourmet

I received a jar of plum jam as a Christmas gift, and decided use it to make some cookies. The plum jam was slightly tart and a nice contrast to the sweet and crunchy cookie base.

Makes about: One 8×8 pan or twelve 12’’ bars
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes

¾ cups + 2tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ cup butter, diced
1 cup plum jam

Special equipment
Food processor or blender (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan by lining with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt and cardamom in a blender or food processor. Pulse until large crumbs form.
3. Add in butter. Pulse until the mixture clumps a bit, but is still crumbly. (Alternately, just mix the ingredients together).
4. Pour 2/3 of the crumbly mixture into the prepared pan and press down.
5. Spread evenly jam over the crust.
6. Pour the last 1/3 of the crumbly mixture over the jam and pat down
7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.



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Whole Lemon Bars

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Whole Lemon Bars
Source: David Lebovitz

I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and I finally had the chance to make it after procuring some Meyer lemons. I felt like I used every pot in the house to make these bars, but the end result really worth it. The topping is sweet, luscious and creamy, while the crust is crispy and buttery. The method for the shortbread was different from anything I had previously done, but it worked out well.

Makes about: 8’’x8’’ pan
Prep time: 30 minutes (overlaps with crust baking)
Bake time: 50 minutes total

8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

1 lemon (preferably organic; I used a Meyer Lemon)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I substituted 1 tbsp lime juice b/c I ran out of lemons)
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment
Blender or food processor for making the topping; 8×8 pan lined with parchment or foil

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Melt butter.
3. Mix in flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
4. Spread batter/dough evenly into prepared pan and press down.
5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: First, chop the lemon into small chunks.
7. Next, in a blender, combine lemon, sugar, and lemon juice. Pulse until combined.
8. Add in eggs one at a time, pulsing until combined.
9. Add in cornstarch, salt, and butter, and blend until the mixture is thoroughly combined and fairly smooth. (The original recipe notes that chunks are acceptable).
10. When the crust is ready, pour in the filling.
11. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F and bake for 25 minutes until the topping is set (no longer jiggles when the pan is moved). A knife inserted into the center will not come out clean.
12. Let cool, then cut and enjoy.

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Austrian Raspberry Shortbread


Austrian Raspberry Shortbread
Source: Smitten Kitchen

Makes about: One 9×13 pan (if you make the full recipe) or one 9×3 loaf pan (if you make the quarter recipe)
Prep time: 2.5 hours (most of which is freezing the dough)
Bake time: 50-60 minutes

These shortbreads where very fluffy and light, just as was promised. They are efinitely one of the more delicious shortbread cookies I’ve made, and worth the extra effort to grate the dough. Make sure the dough is fully frozen before trying to grate (or else it will crumble)

Quarter recipe (9×3 loaf pan)
1 stick butter
1 egg yolk
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/16 tsp salt (or, a dash)
¼ tsp vanilla extract or lemon zest (optional)
¼ cup raspberry jam (I used ½ cup; this seems to depend on how much jam you like in your cookies)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Full recipe (9×13 pan)
4 sticks butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or lemon zest
1 cup raspberry jam

Special equipment
Freezer, box grater.

1. Cream butter.
2. Add in egg yolk (s).
3. Mix in sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract or lemon zest.
4. Divide dough into 2 balls. Freeze for at least 2 hours until the dough is hard enough to grate.
5. When you’re ready to grate the dough, preheat oven to 350F.
6. Grate 1 ball of dough over pan the pan. Don’t press the dough threads down.
7. Pipe jam over surface of grated dough. (Put jam in a plastic ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner to improvise a piping bag).
8. Grate other half of dough over the jam.
9. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the dough no longer jiggles.
10. Let cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar
11. Enjoy!



Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies

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Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

These bars have a thin and gooey walnut-maple topping and a buttery crust. They’re an indulgence that’s not too rich.

Makes about: 1 8×8 tray
Prep time: 10-20 minutes.
Bake time: 10-15 minutes for crust, 8-12 minutes for the filling

1 cup flour
1/3 c brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼ tsp salt

1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (can increase to 1 cup if desired)

Special equipment
8×8 baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 8×8 baking pan by lining with parchment paper.
2. Mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter until crumbly.
3. Mix in walnuts.
4. Press into prepared pan.
5. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, mix together the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, and walnuts to make the filling.
7. Pour over finished crust.
8. Bake about 8-12 minutes, or until filling sets.

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