April 13, 2011

Baking the Best of Cookie Bars!

The Maine House is baking on this rainy Wednesday!

Rainy Day in Prout's Neck

 I love the coziness of home on a gray, stormy day and the sweet homemade baking aroma's in the kitchen. There is something so comforting about that. This is a perfect day to bring out some of the past "Cookie Bar" favorites from the children and prepare a box of goodies for Darling. We also like to have these on hand when we welcome family in from the Boston drive. These are keepers....hope you all enjoy baking day!

Frosted Banana Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces)  Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool.

For frosting, in a bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined. Then blend in confectioners sugar until smooth.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Dash salt

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained

1 1/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan or spray with baking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and dash of salt. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the 12 tablespoons of butter until crumbly. Spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan and press with hands to form a crust layer. Bake for 12 minutes. Drain pineapple well in a colander; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and eggs; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over the baked crust, then sprinkle the drained crushed pineapple evenly over the top. In another bowl, combine the coconut, pecans, and 4 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle evenly over the pineapple and cream cheese layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until coconut is browned and filling is set. Chill thoroughly before cutting into squares.

Rasberry Cream Cheese Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 jar (18 ounces) red raspberry preserves
1/3 cup chopped slivered almonds

In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Press three-fourths of the mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set and edges just begin to brown.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Spread over crust. Drop preserves by spoonfuls over cream cheese mixture; carefully spread evenly. Combine almonds and remaining oat mixture; sprinkle over preserves. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and edges are golden brown.

Rainy Day in Boothbay Harbor

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