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5 Stupid Simple Dessert Bars

Keep it stupid simple!

5 Stupid Simple Dessert Bars

1. Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars

How long it will take: 1 hour

What you'll need:

for the shortbread:

1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened

1/2 c granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c flour

for the caramel:

25 caramels, unwrapped 

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tbsp. heavy cream

for the chocolate:

1 1/4 c chocolate chips, milk or semi-sweet

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1/2 cup mini Reese’s Pieces, optional

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Make the shortbread by creaming the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and then stir in flour. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes until slightly golden brown on top. Cool about 20 minutes before continuing.

Make the caramel layer by adding caramels, peanut butter, and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. (Before heating, have an offset spatula or an extra metal spoon and more cooking spray handy for spreading.) Heat for 40 seconds on HIGH, stir, then melt for an additional 10-20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Pour on top of shortbread. Use an offset spatula or metal spoon coated with cooking spray to evenly spread in the pan. Chill 10 minutes before adding chocolate.

Make the chocolate topping by melting chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave, about 30-45 seconds. Stir until smooth and pour over caramel. Spread carefully. Top with Reese’s Pieces, if desired. Chill until completely firm, several hours.

Before slicing, let the bars warm up a little. The caramel gets hard, and it will be hard to cut until they start to come to room temperature. Best eaten at room temp, enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Crazy For Crust.

2. Caramel Pretzel Magic Bars

How long it will take: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

1½ c graham cracker crumbs

6 tbsp. butter, melted

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1½ c mini pretzel sticks, broken

7 oz caramel, plus 2 tbsp. evaporated milk 

1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk chocolate 

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Mix will and press into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour half of the sweetened condensed milk over the crust. Sprinkle broken pretzels over the top.

In a small bowl, melt caramel with 2 tbsp. of evaporated milk in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir until melted. Pour caramel over the pretzels. Sprinkle chocolate chips and coconut over caramel. Pour the rest of the sweetened condensed milk over the top. If you would like, you can brake a few more pretzels to sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Chef in Training.

3. Snickers Cheesecake Bars

How long it will take: 1 hour

What you'll need:

for the crust:

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

20 Oreo Cookies

for the cheesecake:

16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese, softened

1 large egg

1/4 c white granulated sugar

3 tsp. vanilla extract

14 fun-sized Snickers, chopped tiny pieces 

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil, light grease. Set aside.

for the crust: Pulse the Oreo cookies in a food processor into fine crumbs. Add into a medium mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter into the mixing bowl with the crushed Oreos. Mix together. Pour the crust into the baking dish, using a large spatula spread out the crust. Make sure it is even all around.

for the cheesecake filling: In a large mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and egg and mix for 3-5 minutes until it is creamy. Add in the white granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Fold in the chopped Snickers.

Spoon the cheesecake mixture on top of the crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set-up and the edges are lightly browned. Allow for the bars to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best. Lift the foil of out the pan and cut into squares. Store bars in a covered container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, if they last that long!

Recipe courtesy of Gal on a Mission.

4. Blueberry Crumble Bars

How long it will take: 1 hour

What you'll need:

for the crust and crumble:

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 c all-purpose flour

1 c (2 sticks) butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla

for the filling:

4 c fresh blueberries

1/2 c granulated sugar

3 tsp. cornstarch 

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside. 

for the crumble: In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, baking powder and flour. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter, egg and vanilla until the mixture is well combined and resembles coarse crumbs. Pat half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

for the filling: In a separate bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients. Stir gently. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Recipe courtesy of Love Bakes Good Cakes.

5. Margarita Bars

How long it will take: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs

7 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (no substitutions, use real butter)

2 1/4 c granulated sugar, divided

4 eggs

1/3 c fresh lime juice, from about 5-6 limes

1 tsp. lime zest

1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon tequila, optional (you can omit and use an extra tablespoon lime or orange juice instead)

1/4 c all purpose flour

powdered sugar, for dusting

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 square pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter with a fork in a large bowl. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. 

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk the eggs with remaining 2 cups of sugar. Whisk in juices, zest, and tequila, then whisk in flour until no lumps remain.
[Note: you can omit the tequila if you wish. Use an extra tablespoon of orange or lime juice in it’s place.] 

Pour lime mixture slowly and carefully over hot crust then continue baking for about 25 minutes until the top starts to brown and is no longer translucent. Cool bars completely before cutting. It’s easiest to cut cold bars, so I suggest chilling them before cutting. Dust the tops with powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes: Feel free to replace the tequila with lime or orange juice! And if you want more bars, use a 9x13" pan. The bars will be thinner but still work but baking time will be affected.

Recipe courtesy of Crazy For Crust.