bar challenge

My friends Karoline, Jessica, and I drove to Northampton, Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago to check out the annual tent sale at Webs (a HUGE yarn store). On our way home, we stopped at a bakery and Jess got something called a “buddy” bar. It looked like it was made with a graham cracker crust, chocolate chips, walnuts, M & M’s, and coconut. Jess enjoyed it so much so I took a photo of it (above) and made it a challenge to one day try to recreate it.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to the baking contest at work where we had a “bars” theme. What a good time to try to recreate that bar! So here is my creation:

I called it the chocolate chip, M & M’s, coconut, caramel gooey bar. And it was super loaded with sugar! I forgot to include the walnuts but Jess said it was still an amazingly good bar and pretty close to the one she had on our trip. It didn’t win the baking contest but they did disappear!

I have a bad habit of not writing down recipes so here’s an extraction from my brain of how they were put together:

Crust ingredients:

– 1 stick of butter at room temperature
– 1 cup of flour
– 1/4 cup of sugar

Crust directions:

1. Mix the butter and sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy, then mix in the flour.

2. Pour into an 8″x8″ baking dish lined with parchment paper (the paper will make it much easier to clean up later, trust me!).

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until it’s a nice light brown color.

Filling ingredients:

– 1 cup of light brown sugar
– 1/2 bag of M & M’s
– 1 bag of sweetened coconut flakes
– 1 bag of chocolate chips
– 1 bag of little caramel balls (in the baking aisle; can’t remember the name of the company that makes them — or you can use little caramel candies but you’ll have to unwrap each of them)
– 1 egg white
– 1 tsp of vanilla
– 1/2 stick of butter

Filling directions:

1. Beat the butter, egg white, vanilla, and brown sugar in a mixer until smooth.

2. Beat in the coconut flakes, then remove the bowl from the mixer.

3. Mix in by hand the chocolate chips and M & M’s.

4. Spread the caramel balls on the crust, then top with the filling mixture.

5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the coconut is browned on top. Remove from the oven and let it completely cool down before cutting into it so that it has time to firm up.

6. To cut it, simply lift it out of the dish using the parchment paper.

So back to the baking contest … we had some great competition this time! Here is a little plate of the contenders:

From top left, clockwise: banana oatmeal bar; coconut, M &Ms, chocolate chip, caramel gooey bar; brownie with mint and raspberry; Neiman Marcus bar; and rhubarb crisp. The rhubarb crisp ended up taking the trophy whisk.

P.S. The crust recipe is a good one to use if you just want simple sugar cookies to snack on. They turn out like shortbread cookies and are super simple to make!


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