Beyond Everyday Cookies

Before we get to my favorite new recipe from Baking With Betty, I have to tell you about Lake Minnetonka! The evening boat ride was a definite highlight of the trip.

Sailing around lake and seeing all the gorgeous mansions and beautiful landscapes, made me feel a little homesick for the Midwest. After being in Phoenix for many years, I had forgotten how lush and green summers are for everyone else. If you ever visit Minneapolis do not miss a chance at seeing Lake Minnetonka!

So on to my favorite from “Beyond Everyday Cookies”…
Cranberry-Macadamia Bars!
And yes, they are as good as they look in the picture! Cranberry Macadamia Bars from Betty Crocker
1 pouch Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips
1 teaspoon oil

1. Blend cookie mix, 1/3 cup butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350°F 15 minutes.
2. Heat 1/3 cup butter, brown sugar and cranberries over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Spoon and spread cranberry mixture evenly over partially baked cookie base. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.
3. In resealable freezer plastic bag, mix baking chips and oil; seal bag. Microwave on High 30 to 45 seconds, squeezing mixture in bag every 15 seconds until smooth. Cut 1/4-inch top from corner of bag; drizzle over bars.
Makes 40 bars

A close second is the Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars. Both use a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix for the crust. This, of course, was much easier and quicker than making a crust from scratch. I often over bake my crusts when I’m making bar cookies, but I am sold on using the cookie mix now. The crusts were firm, but still chewy and moist. I was really impressed. There are tons of recipes for all kinds of cookies on the Betty Crocker site.
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars from Betty Crocker
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toffee bits, finely crushed

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.
2. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1 1/2 teapoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over crust in pan.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set in center. Immediately sprinkle top with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 36 bars

My favorites appear to be the favorites of others, too! They were disappearing fast!
Sherri, from Betty Crocker, shared lots of fun tips and recipe ideas for cookies.
Other tempting & tasty favorite were:
Red Velvet Rich & Creamy Cookies
Citrus-Kissed Fig Thumpbrints
(perfect for the Holidays coming up!!)
Mandy is busy making some cute "school snacks" so stay tuned for more fun this week!

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