Archive for ‘Bars’

January 19, 2013

Venetian Bars

Venetian bars are moist & dense, thin almond flavoured cakes compressed together with apricot preserve filling and a chocolate topping. Traditionally the cake colours are green, pink and white. My mom made these for Christmas this year and I was inspired to make them as well, but I traded in the traditional cake colours for a vibrant pink, blue and purple.



  • 1/2 cup almond paste
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 or 3 colours of food colouring
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (2 tbsp per layer of cake)

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream


Grease the bottoms of three 8-in. square baking dishes. Line with parchment/waxed paper,  overlapping the edge of the pan a bit so its easy to grab onto and lift cake out after baking. Then lightly grease the paper; set aside.

  1. Combine the almond paste and butter in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the sugar, egg yolks and almond extract; beat until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the flour and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  5. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the dough, then fold in the remaining whites.
  6. Divide dough evenly into three portions and add food colouring.
    Traditionally: Tint one  dough portion green and one portion pink; leave the remaining portion white.
    Or…choose your own colours. I used blue, pink and purple.
  7. Spread each portion into a prepared pan. This part is a pain in the butt because the paper shifts in the pan. Just do your best, the heat will melt and even out the dough a little before it bakes firm.
  8. Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  9. Immediately remove from pans onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
  10. Place one layer on a large piece of plastic wrap – on top of a cutting board or square plate- and spread evenly with half of the apricot jam.
  11. Top with 2nd layer and spread with remaining jam. Top with 3rd layer.
  12. Wrap plastic over all layers,  and set a cutting board on top to compress the layers. Refrigerate overnight.

 Prepare the chocolate ganache topping:

1. Heat the whipping cream on the stove until it simmers but isn’t quite boiling; remove from the stove and add the chocolate chips and stir continually until the chocolate is melted and combined.  Let cool until almost room temperature.

2. Take dessert from refrigerator and unwrap. Spread ganache over the top; let stand until set. With a sharp knife, trim the edges.

Cut into bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.



October 2, 2012

Chocolate Puffed Wheat Squares

These are my chocolatey alternative for rice crispy squares, and they are soooo easy to make.


  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden corn syurp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 heaping cups puffed wheat cereal


  1. Scoop 8 heaping cups of puffed wheat cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Place margarine, cocoa, brown sugar, syrup, vanilla into a pot and stir over med/high heat until combined.
  3. Let mixture boil for 1-2 minutes. *DO NOT boil for too long or else the bars will become rock hard.
  4. Remove the pot and pour the hot mixture over the cereal.  Toss cereal until combined and press into a greased 8×8 dish.

Let cool and cut into squares. 🙂

Makes 9 – 12 good sized squares.



May 22, 2011

Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Bars

I have a fondness for peanut butter and chocolate. They both hold a special place in my heart…and stomach…and my thighs…eek!  So when I signed up to bring a dessert to a BBQ we were planning on attending today, I baked a batch of these cream cheese peanut butter squares.

Luckily, the rain stopped and held out for the entire afternoon so we were able to sit outside and visit a little…after the hockey game was over of course. Go Canucks! Oh wait, who am I kidding…I could care less about hockey..hehe

Anywho…here’s the recipe for anyone who would like to try a mouthful of soft peanut butter cookie,with chocolate and fluffy peanut butter filling. This is a revised Betty Crocker recipe that I’ve altered to my liking. The original recipe calls for a package of store-bought peanut butter cookie dough mix, which I’m sure would be tasty, but I didn’t have that on hand, so I baked my own recipe. Also, the original recipe called for broken cookie crumbs as the topping, and that didn’t sound as tasty as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so I altered that as well.


Peanut Butter Base:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (yellow sugar)
  • 1/4 cup demerera sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling 1:

  • 1 1/4  cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4  cup butter or margarine

Filling 2:

  • 1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3  cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4  cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2  cup whipping cream


8 -12 Peanut Butter Cups, chopped



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper, or spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add both sugars and the egg, whip until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until a soft dough forms.
  6. Press the dough into the pan, flatten lightly with your hands or spatula.
  7. Bake the cookie base for approx 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Filling #1:

  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and butter – uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and stirred smooth.
  2. Spread evenly over bars. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

Filling #2:

  1. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer on low-speed to combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, icing sugar and whipping cream until blended. Beat on high-speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer using a small metal spatula.


  1. Open the packages of peanut butter cups, chop them into small pieces on your cutting board.
  2. Sprinkle them evenly over the cream cheese layer. Press in lightly.
  3. Cover with lid or seran wrap and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

**Serves: Approx 24-36 bars, depending on how large you slice these.

**Because the filling contains cream cheese, you need to store these bars covered with a lid or seran wrap, in the refrigerator.

Not only did they look good, they tasted great!



February 2, 2011

Rocky Road Brownies

I found this recipe saved in my email archives from 5 years ago and I had written a note that it was a Martha Stewart recipe from one of her old cookbooks.  I can even recall checking this book out at the library and drooling over all of the chocolate treats. This is the only recipe I sampled from that book and loved…with a few personal variations of course.

Note: These brownies are great as a base recipe, if you’re not interested in the marshmallows, nuts and chocolate on top.

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips                            
  • 1 cup butter (diced, so it melts faster)                        
  • 1 cup brown sugar                                                     
  • 1 cup white sugar                                                      
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup peanuts, chopped

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 cups marshmallows
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chunks



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish, or line it with parchment paper.

  2. Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a double boiler, until smooth and combined. *If you microwave instead, be careful not to let it burn! (3-5 minutes max!)

  3. Pour the melted chocolate into a large mixing bowl.

  4. Add both sugars, and the salt, to the melted chocolate, mixing until combined.

  5. Alternate adding the eggs and flour.

  6. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl with each addition, to ensure it’s smooth and combined well.

  7. Chop the peanuts on a cutting board, and stir them into the chocolate batter. Do not overmix the batter.

  8. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish. Tap onto the counter to help level the batter.

  9. Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (In my convection oven, it takes 45 minutes.)

  10. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate chunks.

  11. Return the dish to the oven for approximately 5 minutes, until the chocolate chunks start to melt and look glossy. **Don’t over-bake, or the marshmallows will become hardened!

  12. Place on a wire rack and allow brownies to cool in the pan completely before cutting them into squares.

January 31, 2011

Lemon Bars

Sweet, tart lemon bars with a soft cookie base.

This recipe is easy to make adjusments to if you don’t have all the exact ingredients. You can use margarine instead of butter, and use a bottle of lemon juice instead of fresh squeezed lemons.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Optional:  Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper to make for easy removal.




  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon filling:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted** ( to prevent ugly lumps of flour!)
  • 3 large lemons, juiced (approximately 3/4 cup)

        ♦  1/2 cup confectioners sugar, for topping



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To Prepare the Base of the lemon bar…

  1. Cut the butter up and when it’s room temperature, stir in the vanilla.
  2. Use an electric mixer to blend the butter mixture together with the sugar, and flour.
  3. Press it into the bottom of a prepared baking pan (9×13).
  4. Bake the base/crust for 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown.

While you’re waiting for the base to bake, start preparing the lemon bar filling.

  1. Sift the flour and sugar together.
  2. Add the eggs and lemon juice. If the lemons don’t squeeze enough juice out, add a few more tablsepoons of bottled lemon juice.
  3. Stir until incorporated and sugar is dissolved.
  4. Pour over the baked crust and place it back in the over for another 20-22 minutes.
  5. DONT OVERBAKE. The bars may not look done but they firm up as they cool.
  6. This is where you will be glad you used parchment paper to line the baking pan. Use a knife to slide around the edges of the pan. Gently and quickly lift the bars out holding onto the edges of the parchment paper.
  7. Use a sifter to sprinkle confectioners sugar over the bars, after they have cooled completely.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or place them in the freezer in an airtight container and snack on them as you please.

Yields between 20-30 servings depending on what size you prefer to cut them.



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