Bars, bars and more bars

Whether in peanut butter, cheesecake or raspberry form, these treats between cookie and cake are always a winner.

Chocolate chip peanut butter bars 390 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Chocolate chip peanut butter bars 390
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
I am always looking to try out the latest bar. No, I’m not talking about places to drink. I’m talking about those delightful treats that hover somewhere between a cookie and a piece of cake. Easier to make than cookies, less intimidating than cakes, bars have a special place in the heart of all bakers. Here are just a few I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
Chocolate chip peanut butter bars
Slightly healthier than your typical version.½ cup margarine, softened1/3 cup sugar½ cup light brown sugar1 egg1/3 cup smooth peanut butter½ teaspoon vanilla¼ cup all-purpose flour½ cup whole-wheat flour¼ cup wheat germ1 cup rolled oats½ teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon salt1 package(6 ounce) semi sweet chocolate chip
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat margarine with sugars until smooth. Beat in egg, peanut butter, and vanilla until well blended.
In another bowl, whisk together wheat germ, oats, baking soda and stir or beat into margarine mixture until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl if needed. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread dough evenly in a buttered 8-inch square baking pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes; then cut into 12 pieces. Let cool completely.
Coconut cheesecake bars
1 (19.5-ounce) brownie mix½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted5 eggs, divided2-1/2 cups shredded coconut, divided2 (8-ounce) packages tofutti cream cheese1/3 cup sugar¾ cup cream of coconut2 tablespoons rum
Insert 390 photo: 185522
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom only of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the brownie mix, melted margarine, 2 eggs and half a cup of coconut until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, in a separate bowl, beat together the tofutti cream cheese, sugar, cream of coconut and rum. Beat in remaining 3 eggs, one at a time, until fully mixed. Pour over partially baked crust.  Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Bake for 15 minutes.
Loosely cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting into bars and serving.
Raspberry coconut bars
Crust:1 cup flour1 teaspoon baking powder½ cup (1 stick) margarine, softened1 egg, beaten1 teaspoon non-dairy creamer
Filling:1 cup raspberry or apricot jam, preferably a low-sugar version
Topping:1 cup white sugar1 teaspoon vanilla1-½ cups flaked coconut3 tablespoons margarine1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, prepare the crust: mix together the flour, baking powder, margarine, egg and non-dairy creamer. Press into the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch or 8 x 8-inch baking pan, allowing dough to climb up sides a bit.
Spread the dough evenly with jam.
Now mix together the topping; in the same bowl, combine sugar, vanilla, coconut, remaining margarine and egg and blend with your fingers (don’t worry if it is sticky). Drop the topping evenly over the jam filling.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into squares. The bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
These recipes were brought to you by