everyday food made simple

lucky charms bars

I know I’m a little late in the game, but I finally watched Big Hero 6 and I loved it! Have you seen it yet? I’ve heard so much about it when it first came out, but never really put too much thought into it until a coworker of mine brought it for me one day and told me it was her daughter’s new favorite movie.

There were definitely parts of the movie that I totally wasn’t expecting to happen, but there were also a lot of other parts of it that were cute and made me smile.

Baymax totally reminded me of a giant walking talking marshmallow, which in turn reminded me that I needed to share these ridiculous bars I made a while ago that involved sticky gooey marshmallows….

lucky charms bars   lucky charms bars

Marshmallow treat bars are probably one of the easiest things to make – they only require a few ingredients, they don’t require any special equipment or powering on the oven, and a batch of these things is usually enough to feed a crowd. Cheap, quick, and easy is the kind of desserts I like to bring to a potluck.

lucky charms bars

lucky charms bars

I’m sure we’ve all had terrible marshmallow treats before. You know, the kind that may have sat out for a few days too long? The kind that’s not at all soft and gooey when you bite into it? The kind that scrapes a layer of epithelial tissue off the roof of your mouth that leaves the top of your mouth raw and sore for days? Yeah… if you’re looking for that kind of a marshmallow treat (WHYYYYYY would you ever want a rock hard marshmallow treat would be beyond me), this recipe is not it.

lucky charms bars

They’re oh so soft, so chewy, so gooey, so sweet, and so so so delicious. Not to mention on top of the 5 cups of marshmallows that goes into it, there’s more than plenty colorful Lucky Charms marshmallows in them, which makes them yummy to eat, and even prettier to look at.

lucky charms bars

lucky charms bars   lucky charms bars

This was only the second time I’ve ever made marshmallow treats. The last time I made them a few years ago, I’m pretty sure I got sticky marshmallow goo all over my hands and hair, my bars were hard, and Brian landed himself a trip to the ER that ended with 7-8 stitches on his toes… but that’s a whole ‘nother story for a different day.

Although my marshmallow bars weren’t a huge success that day, I did learn a few things that day about making these treats that I’m going to share with you, so listen up!

lucky charms bars   lucky charms bars

The single most helpful tip I learned was to grease EVERYTHING that will be coming in contact with the cereal/marshmallow mixture – that includes every single inch of the pan, the spatula you’ll be stirring with, and your hands if you’re using them to press the cereal treats into the pan rather than wax paper.

lucky charms bars

I actually lined my baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal of the bars once they cool. That way you can lift the entire pan of marshmallows onto a cutting board to cut them into squares rather than trying to cut them up while they’re in the pan.

lucky charms bars

When you’re pouring your cereal/marshmallow treats into the pan, don’t press them too hard into the pan. The more you try to cram them together, the denser they’ll get, and the harder they will become once they cool. If you’re not into greasy hands, you can also gently press them in with a sheet of wax paper.

lucky charms bars

lucky charms bars

These really do taste best if you eat them the same day they’re made, but they will still taste great the day after. I wouldn’t recommend storing them for more than two days, unless you’re purposely trying to end up with dry, hard marshmallow bars.

lucky charms bars   lucky charms bars

Sorry for the photo overload, my friends. I was having an indecisive day!

lucky charms bars
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Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  2. 5 cups mini marshmallows
  3. 6 cups Lucky Charms cereal
Instructions
  1. Lightly coat a 9x13" baking pan with butter, line with parchment paper (the butter will help the parchment paper stick to the pan), then grease the parchment paper with another thin coat of butter. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the Lucky Charms with the buttered spatula until combined.
  3. Pour cereal mixture into the prepared greased baking pan, pressing the tops gently with waxed paper* and let cool. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment paper and transfer onto a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve. Bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  4. Makes one 9x13" pan
Adapted from A Pumpkin & A Princess
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
 Recipe adapted from A Pumpkin And A Princess

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Is anyone else sad that it’s already mid-August and summer is coming to an end? Where did my summer go? I made a whole list of summer to-dos at the beginning of the summer, and there are so many things I haven’t got to cross off the list yet!

But let’s try to be positive here – even though summer is ending, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be 20 degrees and snowing the next day (but you just never know in Minnesota). There’s always the Minnesota State Fair, all things pumpkin and apples and cinnamon, the beautiful fall foliage, and plenty of crisp fall days ahead of us!

But as long as it’s 80 and sunny, I will be clinging on to every last day of summer. This includes the making of all things that scream summer that are bursting in summer flavors! Like this lemon gooey bar.

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This lemon gooey bar tastes exactly what it sounds like – lemony and gooey. If I could’ve called it “The Amazingly Delicious Soft and Gooey Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Bars”, I totally would’ve. Soft lemon bars sprinkled with plenty of white chocolate chips… every bite is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! I brought some to work to share with some lemon-loving coworkers and I’m pretty sure the pan was gone within the hour. Word sure travels fast around the hospital when there are sweets involved!

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These bars are made in a similar manner to the peppermint gooey bars I made last winter. If you haven’t tried those yet, I do highly recommend you do so sometime!

So you’re going to make the dough first, pressing half of it into the bottom of the pan. Then do a little bit of drizzling of some sweetened condensed milk and a bit of sprinkling of some white chocolate chips. Tear the rest of the dough into little pieces, pressing them on top. Don’t worry if the pieces don’t cover the whole pan completely – they will expand and stretch out once you put them in the oven.

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The entire process is super straightforward and simple, but you know what the most difficult thing about making these bars is? The waiting. I hate waiting, but believe me when I tell you these taste way better when you actually wait patiently for them to cool completely. I highly recommend running a few errands and getting out of the house while they cool so you’re not tempted to check on these bars every 3 minutes (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything… ahem).

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lemon gooey bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 box (16.25 oz) lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  3. 1 egg, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, stir butter over medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the cake mix and egg. Beat until texture resembles cookie dough.
  3. Place about half of the dough in the bottom of the pan, press to form the crust, making sure all corners and sides are covered with dough. Sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly over the dough and drizzle with the sweetened condensed milk. Drop balls of remaining dough evenly over the top. Press lightly. Don't worry if the entire surface isn't covered by the dough balls - the dough will expand once cooked in the oven.
  4. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Once completely cooled, bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having a splendid holiday filled with love, laughter, relaxation, and spending time with friends and family. Since it’s Christmas, it only makes sense that I post something chocolate-and-peppermint-related, right?

On Cyber Monday, I finally broke down and bought myself Adobe Lightroom 5. I have actually been eying it for the last 6 months, but just couldn’t get myself to spend $100+ dollars on it…. so when I saw it was over 50% off, I went ahead and bought myself an early Christmas present :)

You know who else bought me an early Christmas present?

Brian.

He bought me a new Canon 60mm macro lens, had it shipped to the house when I was at work, wrapped it up and put it underneath the tree. Although he repeatedly said I would have to wait for Christmas to open my present, he just wasn’t able to wait that long. So my Christmas is basically over 3 weeks ago….. oh well. That boy couldn’t keep anything in when it comes to presents. I swear I’ve never opened a present on the actual day – he’s always so excited to give me the present or tell me what he got for me. I think the only way I’ll ever get anything on the actual day of a holiday is if he shops for it the night before…

So I’ve been super excited finding new things to make, just so I can take pictures with my new lens – it took some time to get used to, but I love it so far!

Before I try to talk your ear off about how decadent and delicious these bars are, let me just say one thing first: I’m sorry. This post contains a few more pictures than what I usually post, but I just couldn’t choose a couple because I was absolutely in love with a bunch of these pictures and wanted to share them all with you! (even though a few of them are very similar).

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Okay, now about these bars: these bars are uh-mazing. Simply amazing, you guys. They’re soft, chewy, gooey, chocolate-y, and peppermint-y – it’s got everything I love in a dessert. If I could eat any kind of dessert for the rest of my life, these just might be it. The sweetened condensed milk keeps it gooey and moist. The chocolate chips and Andes peppermint baking chips are like a match made in heaven. The crushed candy canes on top gives an extra crunch, which is contrasted well with the soft and chewiness of the bars.

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Ugh. So good.

gooey peppermint bars
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Ingredients
  1. One 15.25 oz box of chocolate fudge cake mix
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  5. 1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips
  6. 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  7. 2 regular sized candy canes, crushed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" pan with foil and spray generously with cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, butter, and egg. Beat on medium speed until the dough forms into a ball.
  3. Place about half of the dough in the bottom of the pan, press to form the crust, making sure all corners and sides are covered with dough.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and Andes baking chips over the top of the dough. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the chips.
  5. Drop balls of remaining dough evenly over the top. Press lightly. Don't worry if the entire surface isn't covered by the dough balls - the dough will expand once cooked in the oven. Bake for 23-24 minutes, or until the edges slightly browned. Turn off oven and remove bars from the oven. Immediately sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top. Place the bars back into the cooling oven with the oven door cracked - this will help the candy canes to slightly melt and adhere to the bars.
  6. Cool completely and cut into bars. Store in airtight container for up to 7 days (if they even last that long).
  7. Makes about 16 squares.
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
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I think I just found my new favorite dessert. Even Brian agreed that these has surpassed my gingersnap cookies that he claimed was his “favorite dessert item ever”.

Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Making pies can be such a daunting task. First you have to make the crust, then you have to make the filling.. then depending on what kind of pie you’re making, you have to either make some sort of a meringue or a pie crust lattice and make sure that looks nice and pretty. Every step requires much diligence to make sure the entire pie turns out nice and presentable in the end.

Talk about pressure – if the whole pie doesn’t turn out to be as photogenic as you imagined it to be, you’re either left with nothing to show for, or you’ll just have to try to capture the best angle of your pie.

For those reasons, I haven’t been brave enough to tackle a pie yet – maybe I can try to check that off of my to-do list this summer during my break from school.

On the other hand, cookies, bars, cupcakes, truffles are much easier to make. If some don’t turn out as pretty as you hoped, at least you still got a bunch more to choose from to be part of your picture.

That being said, I opted for some easy key lime pie bars instead of making a whole pie. When you think of summer, you think of key lime pies – they’re light, tart, tangy, and sweet all at the same time.

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Waiting for these babies to cool in the fridge was probably the most difficult part, but the end result was totally worth the wait!

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key lime pie bars
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups finely crushed gingersnap crumbs
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  3. 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  4. 4 large egg yolks
  5. 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  6. 1/2 cup key lime juice
  7. 2 teaspoons lime zest, plus more for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" cake pan with foil, leaving some overhanging on the sides and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
For the crust
  1. Using a food processor, pulverize the gingersnap cookies into fine crumbs.
  2. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl, combine with melted butter.
  3. Press firming into cake pan. Make sure the crumbs are evenly distributed throughout. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust is in the oven, make the filling
  1. Using a handheld mixer (I was lazy and used an electric stand mixer), beat cream cheese on high until smooth. Slowly incorporate the egg yolks. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into pan with warm crust.
  2. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown slightly.
  3. Remove from oven, garnish with additional lime zest if desired. Let the bars cool in the pan on a wired rack, then transfer them to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until completely chilled.
  4. Once chilled, remove the bars from pan with the overhanging foil and cut into squares.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
This recipe is really easy – if making a key lime pie is this easy, I think it just might be the first ever pie I attempt to make. I’m not a fan of cheesecakes, but the little bit of cream cheese added in here gives it a creamy texture. The gingersnap cookie crust is also recommended over the traditional graham cracker crust, as the sweet/spiciness of crust goes very (very) well with the creamy tartness of the filling.

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I brought this to work last weekend for a pot luck and received plenty of rave reviews. Everyone loved it, except for the hubs, who is a wimp when it comes to anything tart… he had an expression as if I made him eat a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids at once (I would’ve taken a picture of his facial expression if he would’ve let me). Trust me, these bars are delicious and are just perfect for summer! Plus it only requires a few ingredients and little baking time!

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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