Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars

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Today I have a very special post for you. (And no, I’m not talking about fact that these bars contain shortbread, caramel, cookie dough, and chocolate, although that is pretty special.) I’m pleased to report that this is….drumroll please….the 100th post of Emma’s Baking Addiction! Funny enough, it falls almost exactly on my blog’s one-year birthday. Two landmark events for a baking blog equals two excuses to bake two fabulous, over-the-top celebratory treats. First up are these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars, a worthy candidate for my 100th blog post.

When I first started thinking about what to make for the big 1-0-0, Millionaire Bars came to mind. You know, the shortbread-caramel-chocolate layered bars that are very similar to a homemade Twix? That are apparently so good that they make you feel like a million bucks? Or are worth a million dollars? Make you gain a million ounces? Don’t ask me how they were named. I guess it was something about the fact that “one hundred” and “one million” are both numbers that made me think of baking Millionaire Bars to celebrate the 100th post. An obvious connection, right? Right? Maybe-possibly-not-so-much? It made better sense in my head.

Anyway, upon looking for a great Millionaire Bar recipe to make as my 100th post (which, as we’ve established, makes total sense) I found the recipe for these babies. Not just Millionaire Bars, these are Billionaire Bars. Which means they’ve gotta be good. Not only do they have the buttery shortbread, gooey caramel, and decadent chocolate of their lesser-valued cousin, these bars have the brilliant addition of a chocolate chip cookie dough layer. An eggless chocolate chip cookie dough layer, that is, which means it can be eaten raw with absolutely zero worries or frets. Be still, my cookie-dough-loving heart!

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Let’s take a look at what we have here: a bottom layer of crumbly, melt-in-your mouth shortbread; a second layer of sweet, sticky caramel (not from scratch, for those of you who are terrified of caramel-making, like me this one person I know); a third layer of raw chocolate chip cookie dough that will make the bowl-licking-dough-sneaking little kid in all of us cry tears of joy; and a final layer of rich semisweet chocolate. Yes, there’s a lot of patience involved as each layer bakes or chills, and yes, there’s the possibility of a major sugar rush afterward, but it’s all totally worth it when you sink your teeth into one of these. They’re better than a billion dollars!! (Just don’t hold me to that if I’m ever actually given the choice, kay?)

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I hate to say it, but Millionaire Bars have lost a little bit of their luster to me now that I’ve made these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars. It’s not that I wouldn’t satisfied with the original bar, it’s just…a layer of eat-able chocolate chip cookie dough sandwiched between chocolate and caramel? With a shortbread crust, for goodness sake?! Billionaire status indeed.

Happy 100th post, little blog!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars

Yield: 16 bars

For the shortbread crust:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the caramel:

7 ounces soft caramels (about 25 candies)

2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cookie dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the chocolate layer:

4 ounces good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan and set aside.

Make the shortbread: Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then slowly mix in the flour and salt until combined. Mixture will be crumbly. Firmly press the dough into the prepared pan. Poke shallow holes all over the pan using a fork or a toothpick. Bake the shortbread for 18-22 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack.

Make the caramel: Place the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the caramels are completely melted. Pour the hot caramel over the warm shortbread crust, spreading it evenly. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes or until the caramel is set.

Make the cookie dough: Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and heavy cream, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the cookie dough onto the chilled bars and spread evenly. Refrigerate the bars while making the chocolate layer.

Make the chocolate layer: Place the semisweet chocolate and butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second increments on 50% power, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth and melted. Pour the chocolate over the bars, spreading evenly.

Refrigerate the bars for an additional 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook)

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Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Coconut-lovers, gather ‘round. Chocolate chip cookie-lovers should come on over, too. Today’s recipe is for a chocolate chip cookie like no other. Made with coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and shredded coconut, these bring quite the haul in the coconut department. Who would’ve guessed, right? Hah. Although you have the option of using other ingredients in place of some of the coconut ones, all the different coconut-based components come together into a cookie that’s amazingly soft, chewy, and packed with that sweet, tropical flavor. And did I mention they’re grain- and gluten-free?!

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Don’t be expecting your average butter-flour-and-sugar-based chocolate chip cookie to come out of this recipe…these Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies have a taste and texture unique to themselves. Funnily enough, both my dad and my brother described these as being “like a cross between a coconut macaroon and a chocolate chip cookie” without any idea that the other had given the exact same description. I guess that means it must be pretty spot-on! With coconut flour as the only dry ingredient (minus the salt and sugar), the cookies are super moist and chewy, and combined with the texture of shredded coconut and the subtle flavor of coconut milk and coconut oil, the macaroon aspect of these cookies really takes off. A dash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a generous dose of semisweet chocolate help balance out all of that coconut, creating a wonderful new variety of chocolate chip cookie.

Be aware that coconut flour works very differently than most types of flours. It loooves moisture, and too much coconut flour can make baked goods dry and dense. However, if combined with the right amount of wet ingredients, coconut flour will provide a wonderfully moist, chewy texture as well as a slight coconut essence in the finished product. The two large eggs and the coconut milk in this recipe give the coconut flour all the moisture it needs to make the cookies soft and light rather than heavy and dry. At first it may seem like you’ve done something wrong—the dough will be very runny, more like batter than dough, but if you let it sit for about 10 minutes the coconut flour will work its magic and soak up all that liquid. It kinda makes you feel like a talented scientist, doing all that tricky chemistry. Or maybe that’s just me.

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If you love coconut, make these cookies! If you love chocolate chip cookies, make these cookies! If you’re on a gluten-free diet, make these cookies! If you’re a human being with functioning taste buds, make these cookies! They’re macaroon-slash-chocolate-chip perfection.

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Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 20 cookies

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted butter (or melted coconut oil)

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond milk, soy milk, etc.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

2-3 tablespoons shredded coconut, if desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the coconut flour, chocolate chips, and coconut until combined. The dough will be quite runny.

Let the dough sit for 10 minutes or until it has thickened to the consistency of more traditional cookie dough (it may still be soft). Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls and drop onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and just turning golden-brown.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.

(Recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl)

Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes for Two…and Happy Birthday to Emma’s Baking Addiction!

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Exactly one year ago I sat down at the computer, created a WordPress account, set up a very simply formatted blog, and posted my very first recipe…Deceptively Simple Peanut Butter Cookies. As an avid blog-reader myself (and an avid baker!) I had been toying around with the idea of starting my own blog for quite some time, but never really got around to it. Then on a lazy summer day, as I was racking my brain for something to do, I decided once and for all to just go for it and start a blog. I had nothing to lose…basic WordPress blogs are free, after all, and the worst that could happen is that no one (except my parents, of course) would read it.

One year later, my little blog is still chugging along. It’s still pretty basic, far from high-tech and fancy, but my stats tell me that there are at least a handful of people out there reading it other than my mom and dad! Since the whole point of my blog is to experiment with baking, writing, blogging, and photography, simply sticking with it for an entire year equals success in my mind.

To celebrate, I decided to make a little birthday cake for Emma’s Baking Addiction. I didn’t want a huge cake or an entire batch of cupcakes hanging around since our house is still loaded up with pastries from Father’s Day and some very delicious bars which will be coming soon to the blog, so this recipe was absolutely perfect! It makes TWO perfectly sweet, soft, fluffy, vanilla-y cupcakes. No more, no less. A bowl, a spoon, a very short list of ingredients, and 15 minutes are all you need to bake up these little treats. They can easily be adapted by adding in chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, spices, etc. and they can be frosted or glazed however you wish to add a little excitement. To me, there’s nothing not to like about a simple vanilla cupcake topped with simple vanilla buttercream, so that’s what I went for. Just pure, sweet vanilla flavor in both the soft, fluffy cupcake and smooth, creamy frosting.

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Happy First Birthday, Emma’s Baking Addiction!

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Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes for Two

Vanilla Cupcakes:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg white

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 & 1/2 tablespoons milk

Easy Vanilla Buttercream:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tablespoon heavy cream or milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place two paper liners on opposite sides of a 6-cup muffin tin; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg white. Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla until smooth. Using a spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Stir in the milk and mix until batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the two muffin cups and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back when touched and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat the softened butter in a small bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream. If the frosting is too stiff, add in a little more cream or milk. If it’s too thin, add in more powdered sugar. When desired consistency is reached, spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and serve.

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(Cupcake recipe from How Sweet It Is, frosting recipe from Emma’s Baking Addiction)

Happy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

I just discovered–just in time–that today is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! Hooray! Peanut butter is quite possibly one of my favorite things in the world, and it pairs so well with so many different things: peanut butter and jelly (of course), peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and honey, peanut butter and pretzels, peanut butter and apples….this list could go on forever.

To celebrate such a wonderful day, I’m providing for you a list of all my cookie recipes that involve this beloved ingredient. From my favorite simple peanut butter cookies to the luxuriously rich Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies, there’s no shortage of peanut butter cookie deliciousness over here!

So let’s get baking! I mean, if the calendar tells me that it’s my duty to eat a peanut butter cookie today, my hands are pretty much tied. Darn ;).

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First up…my Deceptively Simple Peanut Butter Cookies. These are some of the first cookies I ever made, and they are so incredibly easy. There’s no flour in these, either! Still, they bake up into some of the chewiest, most peanut buttery cookies I’ve ever eaten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next on the list are these Peanut Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone needs one of these in their life. These big, chewy cookies contain one of the best flavor trios out there, at least in my opinion.

 

If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter fan, you NEED to try these Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies. Soft, slightly crisp-around-the-edges dark chocolate cookies are filled with the most amazing peanut butter filling. Sort of like a peanut butter buckeye, but in cookie form. Biting into one of these makes for a pretty delicious surprise!

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Last spring I experimented with adding a little cocoa powder to my favorite chewy peanut butter cookies. The result was fabulous! These Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies are another chocolate-peanut butter favorite.

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These Soft Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup Cookies prove that peanut butter and vanilla make a pretty fantastic combination, too. I used my vanilla pudding cookie dough, which makes for super-soft, sweet cookies, as the “crust” for Reese’s peanut butter cups. These addicting little cookies were one of my favorite baking creations ever!

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Last but certainly not least are the infamous Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies, which I recently baked for the first time in years and remembered just how amazing they are. They are definitely in the top three of my favorite cookie list (or at least they would be if such a list existed…I hate picking favorites!) These are THICK, chewy, and rich, loaded with goodies like cocoa powder, peanut butter, oatmeal, semisweet chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. Amazingly, even with all that goodness going on they aren’t overly sweet, and are bound to make any chocolate-peanut butter lover go weak at the knees.

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Happy Peanut Butter Cookie Day, everyone! Have a delicious day!

Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Oat Bars

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Grocery shopping with a brother in the house isn’t always easy. Grocery shopping for an 18-year-old brother is even harder. Grocery shopping for a 6-foot-4, 18-year-old brother who also happens to be training for a triathlon can drive one to insanity. Especially when I’m the one that does most of the shopping. It seems like no matter how much food I buy, it’s inhaled in approximately 48 hours. Which means another trip to the store, followed by another 2-day inhalation period, followed by another empty fridge and of course another trip to the store. It’s a vicious cycle.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my brother, I do, but his bottomless pit of a stomach can be a little frustrating. I’ve taken to writing my name in Sharpie on every food or drink that I plan on ingesting at some point in the near future, because if I don’t eat it within those two or so days of buying it, it’s long gone. This system has worked quite well for me, with the downside of making me look like an obsessive-compulsive hoarder to all third-party observers. But hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

This week my brother is off visiting a friend in North Dakota, which means it’s just my parents and me at home. This morning I woke up to find 4 brown bananas in our fruit bowl, and I nearly fell over. Bananas are one of my brother’s favorite foods and they never, ever, ever survive long enough to develop even one lowly brown spot. Since brown bananas (aka perfect-for-baking bananas) are unheard of in our house, I jumped at the chance to finally sift through all the banana-based recipes in my bookmarks file and get baking!

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After much debate, I decided to experiment with a new recipe idea: Peanut Butter, Honey, & Banana Oat Bars. I figured I’d use my go-to and highly adaptable Chewy Granola Bar recipe to start, subbing in mashed banana for the applesauce in the original recipe, using honey for the sweetener, and leaving out the nuts and dried fruit. I wanted the pure flavors of banana, honey, and peanut butter to come through loud and clear, so I kept things simple. Without all the add-ins, this recipe is super minimal when it comes to ingredients and it’s also mega-easy. I just whisked together the mashed banana, peanut butter, and honey, adding in a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon for a little extra flavor. Then I folded in the oats, the last ingredient if you can believe it. (I used quick-cooking oats in these, which make for a more uniform, less chewy texture, but you could totally use old-fashioned rolled oats if you like your bars a little chewier and crumblier.) Next it was into the oven for about half an hour, and the next thing I knew I was pulling out a pan of delicious-smelling Peanut Butter, Honey, Banana and Oat Bars!

Since there weren’t any add-ins in the bars I opted to top them with a glaze for a little something extra. I remembered seeing these Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey Cookies over at Two Peas and Their Pod, which were topped with a peanut butter-honey glaze, so I dug out that recipe and mixed up the glaze. And I’m so glad I did. I literally wanted to eat the entire bowlful with a spoon; it’s that good. Silky-smooth, sweet but not at all like that powdered-sugary-stick-to-your-teeth kind of sweetness that so many glazes end up having, this glaze brought the bars from delicious to swoon-worthy.

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The bars themselves turned out soft, chewy, and packed with the flavors of peanut butter, honey, and banana. They taste just like a peanut butter-honey-banana sandwich, which is one of my favorite comfort foods of all time. The bananas keep the bars nice and soft, while the oats give them a chewy texture. And wait, it gets better! Not only are these bars super delicious, they’re also sugar-free (minus the glaze), dairy-free (if you use almond milk in the glaze), AND gluten-free if you make sure to use gluten-free oats! Even with all that healthfulness going on they are absolutely not lacking in the taste or texture department. I would never in a million years guess that these are so healthy. Win-win!

A lot of good can come from a couple old bananas. I’m definitely going to have to make these bars again….maybe I can just write my name in Sharpie on the banana skins and they’ll survive to the point of overripeness. Or maybe I can just give my brother one of these bars when he gets home and he’ll see for himself how good they are. Definitely worth leaving the bananas alone for a couple of days. However, considering the vast amount of PB & J he eats in a day, keeping the peanut butter jar full enough for a batch of these bars will be challenge in itself….

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Enjoy, friends! 🙂

Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Oat Bars

Yield: 16 two-inch square bars

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium banana)

1/3 + 1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

2 & 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

For the glaze:

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8″x8″ glass pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, mashed banana, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Stir in the oats until the mixture is well-combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing it firmly into the bottom. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden-brown. Let the bars cool completely. (You can speed this up by placing the bars in the freezer for about 45 minutes.)

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk, and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bars, then slice into squares. (Note: leftover glaze makes a stellar dip for apples, bananas, pretzels, etc.!) Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Glaze recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, Bar recipe from Emma’s Baking Addiction

Creamy Lime & Coconut Crumb Bars

IMG_4249Lime and coconut are a match made in heaven, a flavor combination that I love to incorporate into all kinds of baking during the warm summer months. The zesty citrus kick from the lime and the tropical mellowness of the coconut work so well together, and these bars are no exception. It wasn’t until I started making them that I realized how similar they are to these fabulous Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars. Both have an oatmeal crumb crust, a creamy citrus filling, and an oatmeal crumb topping. The differences are minor: the lemon version calls for the bottom crust to be slightly baked before the creme mixture is poured on top and baked further, and while the lime version has a very pronounced lime flavor in its filling, the creme filling in the other bars has a more subdued lemon flavor. And of course the lime version has the addition of shredded coconut in the crust to bring out that killer flavor combo! But basically, we have a lime version and a lemon version of some seriously delicious oatmeal creme bars.

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These bars start off with an oatmeal-coconut crumb base that gives them a great chewy texture and also provides a nice contrast from the sweet lime filling. The filling is, for lack of better words, amazing. It’s smooth, creamy, tart, sweet, and tastes like a cross between cheesecake and key lime pie. Sandwich it between the oatmeal crust and crumb topping and you’ve got the best of both worlds. My favorite way to eat these is straight out of the fridge, when they’re especially cool and creamy.

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These fast, simple, no-fuss bars are ideal for any type of summer picnic, potluck, or get-together. Or of course you could just make them for no special occasion at all…in my book you never need an excuse to bake!

IMG_4256Since this is my official last day of high school (yay!) I decided to celebrate and make a batch of these bars. Sunshine + 70-degree weather + final day of school + a Lime and Coconut Crumb Bar = pure happiness. It’s definitely nice to sit back, enjoy my delicious treat, and bask in the sun ignorance for a few minutes as I pretend that I don’t have a mountain of laundry to do, a bedroom to put back together after the carpet-cleaner came yesterday, a car in desperate (read: 1/4 inch of dust) need of a cleaning job, and multiple graduation parties to go to. It can all wait until I’ve finished a bar or two or ten, right?

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Creamy Lime & Coconut Crumb Bars

Makes 16 squares

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh lime zest

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray an 8″x8″ baking pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Using a fork, mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt until the mixture is crumbly and well-combined. Mix in the oats and coconut and set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest until smooth.

Evenly press 2 cups’ worth of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the lime mixture over the top, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top, covering the lime mixture completely. Lightly press down the crumb topping.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden-brown. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

(Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod)