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looking for great "bar" recipes (lemon bar, seven layer bar... etc.)

Here's the deal. I'm a guy and i just started working at a hospital. I love baking so I want to wow (and win over) some of the nurses with some baked goods, and i figure bars are the easiest way to make a bunch. (not neccesarily the bars listed above though)

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  1. Perfect for fall, yummy, and simple!
    Pumpkin Bars
    3 eggs
    1 2/3 cups sugar
    16 oz canned pumpkin
    1 cup oil
    Mix well.
    2 cups flour
    1 t. soda
    2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    2 t. cinnamon
    Mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet. Spread in ungreased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool & frost with cream cheese frosting. (1/2 cup butter, 1/2 t. vanilla, 8 oz cream cheese, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar) Refrigerate.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 4maxwelz

      I like the idea of a pumpkin bar, and this recipe looks pretty good. However, do you think I can replace some, if not all, the oil in this recipe with applesauce? Does the oil add something in particular that applesauce cannot replace?

      1. re: Ali

        I would try it. I haven't ever "played" with the recipe. The oil makes them VERY moist. (not to mention fattening....) Perhaps starting with 1/2 oil, 1/2 applesauce would work? Let us know!

    2. okay, these are so easy because I cheat but here it goes:

      2 pkgs pillsbury chocolate chop cookie dough
      1 cup peanut butter
      1 cup powdered sugar
      2 T vanilla

      Spread 1 roll into a 9" square pan
      Mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar and vanilla
      press mixture on top of cookie dough
      use about half of another roll to crumble on top of that
      Bake @ 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes(I always lean more towards the 30 b/c you refridgerate the pan after it bakes-it doesn't look quite done sometimes but it is-trust me!
      Cool 30 minutes and then refridgerate for 1 hour until chilled.
      Cut into bars and eat. I always make these on a pinch and everyone loves them.

      1. Brownies are "bar" cookies, and most women swoon over chocolate (men like chocolate, but they don't have the intense emotional relationship with it that many women do). Here are a couple -- the one I submitted is very easy -- you can add nuts if you want, and they're actually better made the day before.

        If you want something they've probably never had, find a recipe for Nanaimo bars -- a Canadian specialty (and delicious). http://www.chowhound.com/topics/298280

        7 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            For round one I went with the Nanaimo bars. I felt like a hack since they required a minimum level of skill, but it was a huge success. When asked what they were I didn't want to say "nanaimo bars," and then have to go into an explanation of what they are, so I just said "job security."

            I decided the chocolate plan was good. For round two I'm just going to a simple chewy chocolate, chocolate chip cookie. I figure I'll start with the sure hits and then maybe try some more interesting things. I'd like to tackle the kouign amann sometime, but I'll wait till they trust me.

            This is the cookie recipe i plan on using. any suggestions or alternates? I like a thin, crisp sugary exterior with a gooey interior.

            http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/s...

            1. re: kindofabigdeal

              Thanks for reporting back! What recipe for Nanaimo bars did you use? I've never actually made them myself (although I've had them in Canada).

              If you want to veer away from chocolate, did anyone mention shortbread? A really rich shortbread is always a winner, and lots of recipes can be made in a bar version.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                The very first thing I did was melting moments from joy of baking. http://joyofbaking.com/MeltingMoments.... They are shortbread-esque. They are delicious as well, though i might add both a little salt and sugar. a tiny amount only. I might return to shorbread and do a nutella thing, since not everyone appreciates shortbread as is.

                For the nanaimo bars I unintentionally returned to joy of baking for the nanaimo recipe that was linked by someone on this thread. http://www.joyofbaking.com/NanaimoBar....

                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  Thanks -- that does look super easy! Did you use custard powder or go with the vanilla pudding mix?

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I used pudding mix. I could have gotten bird's, but it was like 3.99 versus .79 because I'd have to buy a whole tin. It tasted great and there was no texture or consistency problems.

                  2. re: kindofabigdeal

                    kindofabigdeal, it had to be 20 years ago, at an office Christmas party, and a guy brought in what looked like Mexican Wedding Cookies. Only, they were astoundingly tender and, as this recipe indicates, melted in the mouth.

                    I asked him to plllllease get me the recipe. Next I see him, and ask him for the recipe, his said that his wife would only say they had cornstarch in them.

                    And now, allllll these years later -- until now, I hadn't even thought of them -- there they are! Thank you very much.

            2. Figgy Raspberry Bars

              Filling
              1 1/2 cup figs cut up
              1 cup raspberries
              1 cup sugar
              1/2 c hot water
              1 /4 cup fresh lemon juice
              1-2 T Grand Marnier
              pecans optional
              cook all over medium heat until the fruit is completely broken down and creamy thick.

              These are the best bars. If you can't find figs buy some fig jam and mix it with raspberry jam-close enough
              about 15 minutes -stir frequently, don't walk off.
              1 cup of brown sugar
              1 cup butter
              Cream butter and sugar until fluffy then add the rest mix well
              1/2 tsp salt
              1 3/4 cup oats
              1 3/4 flour-sifted
              1/2 tsp vanilla
              Split this in half reserve for topping
              Line a well greased shallow baking dish 8x12 with half the flour mix, then add the filling evenly distributing the fruit mix, then top with the remaining flour mix.
              I add very finely chopped pecans to the topping about 1/2 cup total if you add to the filling also, its up to you.
              Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes
              until lightly brown

              Cool and Serve
              Makes 12 big bars or 24 small ones.

              1. These 7 layer bars are easy but time consuming, and very impressive...

                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                1 Reply
                1. re: geminigirl

                  Whoa those look really intense! (but delicious)