Hey guys, happy confetti day! Whatever day you’re reading this, we’re on the same page. I’ve got a killer blondie recipe, and today I’m turning it into a birthday cake version, and it’s worth a bake I promise.

Actually, blondies (and brownies for that matter) are really simple to whip up. You literally need not a single excuse, and usually just one bowl to do it so. What are we waiting on at this point guys? Plus this recipe makes a full 9×13 inch cake pan full of blondies you’ll dream about, so you can share with friends. If you want, whatever.

Hey guys! It’s Monday, and let’s make something, okay?

Today we’re talking about millionaire bars, which are a classic bar dessert. Here’s how it typically goes down: a base layer of vanilla shortbread, topped with a thick layer of chewy caramel, and capped off with chocolate, or chocolate ganache. It’s messy, it’s delicious, and it’s really sweet.

So today, we’re giving it a little twist. First up, the shortbread base today is chocolate shortbread instead of the classic. It’s the beginning of the week, let’s all just get that much-needed treat in, k?

Now, we’ve got that trademark caramel layer, and it’s a thick one. Let’s be real, caramel is the star of a great millionaire bar. What I really love about this caramel recipe is that it uses sweetened condensed milk. Caramels that use condensed milk are WAY easier, and they are WAY harder to mess up.

If you’ve ever tried making classic caramel, it’s no easy task. I would like to say I have figured it out, but the reality is that there are so many tiny factors that can mess up a classic caramel, it’s hard to really become an expert.

The condensed milk, combined with brown sugar, and the cooking method here- they all make for an easy caramel that comes out smooth, silky, and flavorful every time. It is, however, a bit of a labor of love- you have to stir it constantly for about 15 minutes. Worth it, I promise.

To combat the sweetness overload here, we’re adding a healthy dose of salt to our caramel layer, as well as the ganache topping. And even further, we’ve added crushed pecans to the top. Think about it- chocolate on caramel on chocolate? We need some balance guys, even though we love those things.

And so another tip here- the instructions say to freeze the bars before removing from the pan and cutting. This makes it MUCH easier to handle. Caramel is sticky and stretchy, and chocolate ganache can be messy as well if it hasn’t fully set. It’s worth waiting, otherwise you’ll have a huge mess on your hands.

So it’s the beginning of the week, we made it through Monday, we got this. Enjoy!

Chocolate Millionaire Bars

Servings 20 bars


For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour

For the caramel:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt

For the topping:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


For the crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease an 8 by 8 inch square pan, and insert parchment paper with overhanging edges. This will help to remove the bars. 

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add in the salt, cocoa powder, and flour, and beat for several minutes until a crumbly dough has formed. 

  3. Spread the dough evenly in your prepared pan, and press down with the bottom of a glass for a flat, even layer. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the crust looks dry and just slightly darkened on the edges. Set aside. 

For the caramel:

  1. In a large, high-sided skillet (you can use a saucepan as well, but it may take longer), combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, dark corn syrup, and vanilla extract. 

  2. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the temperature to medium heat, and cook for 10-15 minutes, whisking constantly. The mixture will thicken, and become slightly darker. When you whisk the mixture, it should be thick enough that you can clearly see streaks of the bottom of your pan. 

  3. Remove from heat, and continue stirring for another couple of minutes. Pour over your baked crust, and let the caramel set for about 30 minutes in the fridge. 

For the ganache:

  1. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until boiling, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the salt and vanilla. 

  2. Pour over the caramel layer, and smooth out using the back of a spoon to cover the caramel layer entirely. While the mixture is still wet, sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top. 

  3. Cover and freeze for at least an hour. Run a knife along the edges to remove the bars, and slice to your desired size. These are very dense, so I'd go small. Enjoy! 

Sometimes you want a bar with a little more oomph. These are it.

Hi guys btw!


Blondies are a pretty solid dessert on their own. I like to make mine with dark brown sugar to really add more of that caramel-y flavor to things. That’s part of the reason these ones look so dark in color.


Blondies are kind of like brownies except without the chocolate, and with brown sugar (though some classic brownies already use brown sugar). The result is a dense, sweet bar with a flakey, crackly top just like you would expect from the classic version.


And anyways, if you’re gonna do it, let’s really bake today. I’m adding a good splash of bourbon and instant espresso powder that really packs in the flavor. I’d say go with a whiskey that you like to drink here- the flavor will come through. I really like Breckenridge bourbon- this isn’t sponsored, I just really like ’em.


So, brown sugar, espresso, bourbon, what’s not to like? Well, I also threw in some chocolate chips because why the heck not. We’re doing it all today. In the end, you’ll be left with an intensely flavored and satisfying bar that you’ll keep coming back to.


Bonus points if you decide to cut them into abstract pieces like I did for absolutely no good reason. Actually, bonus points if you have a square pan clean so you can make these like a normal person (I did not).

Espresso Bourbon Blondies


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 3 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan (or two 8 inch round pans). Set aside. 

  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over low heat until completely melted and combined. Remove from heat, and beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, and bourbon. 

  3. Stir in the flour, espresso powder, salt, and chocolate chunks until the batter is smooth. Pour into your prepared pan(s). Bake for 28-30 minutes until the bars look set, and a toothpick inserted into the pan about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool completely and enjoy! 

espresso bourbon blondies

Hey guys!

Today we’re making cookie bars, and if you haven’t tried making cookies in one giant sheet, now is the time to start. I’m not saying all cookies should be baked this way, but man, it’s SO much easier.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 1

Don’t get me wrong, the effect is slightly different when you bake them in one big sheet. You won’t get crisp edges around each cookie, for example, if that’s what you’re into. And sometimes that’s right for a cookie.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 2

But with these, you can bake the whole dang batch at once, with very little work, and without scooping out cookies and switching pans and baking 4 separate times. So that’s a pretty big take away. That being said, you can totally scoop and bake these cookies as well if that’s what you’re feelin.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 6

So, these cookies stem from a simple concept- I wanted chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate. I know, I know. Everyone loves chocolate, and me too, but sometimes you aren’t in the mood for chocolate. So here we are.

The browned butter kind of just kicks up the flavor on these. It’s only barely noticeable, but it’s worth it for the overall effect. It’s a very simple cookie, which means every little step counts. So we brown the butter. And let it cool back down to room temperature, which can take some time- go watch some TV while you wait or whatever.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 3

The espresso powder does not make these taste like coffee, so don’t be afraid of it if you aren’t into coffee flavors. It just pops out the other flavors in here, like the brown butter, and adds to the whole end result flavor, which I promise you’ll love!

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 7

Last, we’re sprinkling coarse salt over the top right when it comes out of the oven, which helps it stick to the cookies without baking in during the actual, well, baking time. The salt is just enough to make these bars totally addicting.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 5

The rest is really simple, so I hope you guys enjoy this one- plus I hope it converts you to making cookie bars occasionally, I think it’s a great trick! Enjoy!

5 from 1 vote

Brown Butter Cookie Bars

Servings 32 cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups butter (plus water, as needed, see instructions)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. coarse salt (or to taste)


  1. In a medium saucepan, brown the butter over medium-high heat. This takes me about 10 minutes. Your butter should melt, become frothy and foamy, and eventually will start to brown on the bottom. Transfer to a heat-safe glass measuring cup. Add enough water to the hot butter to make 1 1/2 cups total liquid in the measuring cup. Cover, and let the mixture cool on your counter to room temperature, about an hour. 

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 12 by 18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside. 

  4. In a large bowl, beat together the browned butter mixture, brown sugar, and sugar until combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients slowly, and beat until completely combined. 

  5. Scoop your dough onto your prepared baking sheet, and spread evenly. It should fill the entire sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the cookies have set around the edges and are just starting to become golden. Sprinkle the coarse salt over the cookies right after they come out of the oven. Cool in the sheet pan for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy! 

brown butter

I’ve been working on some simple recipes lately, as you guys might have noticed. Brownies are a solid recipe to have in your arsenal honestly, so let’s make it a one-bowl recipe too.

One Bowl Brownies 8

In fact, if you make these in a nonstick, oven-safe pot, it’s totally one dish, no additional baking pan.

Here’s what it’s going to look like as you go along:

Melt the butter and chocolate

Melt the butter and chocolate

Add in the sugar

Add in the sugar

Stir it up

Stir it up

Add the eggs and vanilla

Add the eggs and vanilla

Stir it up again

Stir it up again

And then add all your dry stuff

And then add all your dry stuff

and stir it on up once more!

and stir it on up once more!

BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have that. Simply make these bad boys in whatever pot you have, and then pour them into a greased square cake pan, the results are totally the same.

One Bowl Brownies 12

So let’s talk about what you want in a brownie. There was a short time in my life where I preferred to make cake-like brownies, and I think I just didn’t fully yet appreciate the greatness of fudgey brownies. So, we want them to be fudgey and chewy. We want them to be super chocolatey, and we want that flaky, thin crust to form over the top. If you’re like me, you want the edges to be extra chewy. And if you are like my husband, you want nuts in the mix.

This recipe is everything. All of those things. We’re adding chocolate in three ways- first, with unsweetened baking chocolate melted together the butter. Next, with a little cocoa powder. And last, with some chocolate chips. ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE.

sorry for yelling.

One Bowl Brownies 10

So listen, throw in whatever you want. Walnuts if you prefer, hazelnuts, swirl in some peanut butter over the top, whatever your heart desires- it’s a flexible recipe guys. Enjoy!

One Bowl Brownies 9

One Bowl Brownies

If you use a non-stick pot that is about 8 or 9 inches around, you can even bake the brownies right in there! Otherwise, use an 8-inch square cake pan. 

Servings 9 brownies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a non-stick, oven-safe pot to mix and bake in, there's no need to grease a baking dish. If not, grease an 8-inch cake pan, round or square. Set aside. 

  2. In a medium pot, about 8-9 inches in diameter if you are baking in the pot, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. 

  3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined. Then, add in the flour, cocoa powder, salt, espresso powder, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. Stir until just combined. Pour the batter into your baking dish if using. Otherwise, place the pot directly into the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick placed about two inches from the side of the pan comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!


Let’s swing things around to Spring today you guys, why wait?

I’m such a big fan of lemon bars. I love tart candy, and I love tart desserts too. One of my other fav recipes on this blog is for these Berry Crumb Lemon Bars, which are more of a traditional take.

Creamy Lemon Bars 2

So, speaking of traditional, these aren’t quite. Normal lemon bars are more of a jelly topping than a custard, but these ones are super creamy and smooth. PLUS, it’s actually a super short and easy recipe.

If you’ve ever made key lime pie before, you probably recognize the method here. Sweetened condensed milk takes away some of the measuring and dishes and ingredients here, making it super fast and easy to whip these babies up.

Creamy Lemon Bars 4

The crust is a lightly sweet, easy shortbread recipe- by the way, it’s a great recipe just as cookies too!

I’ve topped mine with a dusting of powdered sugar, but whipped cream would also be so awesome. Plus, they are fantastic on their own, you don’t even need to top them to find yourself eating two or three (or ten, whatever).

Creamy Lemon Bars 5

So anyways, these are one of my favorite things I’ve made in a long time. I’ve eaten a truly ridiculous amount of these bars during testing the last week, and it’s totally going to be weird now that they aren’t going to be a regular part of my diet.

Creamy Lemon Bars 1

Sometimes even when winter isn’t over, it’s nice to just brighten up the days with something like this. The lemon flavor really pops, and you’ll feel like it’s spring. I hope you guys make these- it’s a good one!

Creamy Lemon Bars


  • For the shortbread crust:
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • For the filling:
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • Powdered sugar or whipped cream to top (optional)


  • For the shortbread crust:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 square cake pan with foil, and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Add in the salt, vanilla, and flour, and beat until completely incorporated. The mixture will be soft and crumbly.
  • Press the dough into your prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. The layer will be pretty thin.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until it's just started to become lightly golden on the edges. Set aside, and leave the oven on.
  • For the filling:
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and egg yolks until smooth.
  • Pour the filling over the crust- it does not need to be cooled before you add the filling.
  • Bake in your same preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the mixture has mostly set. It should still jiggle just a little bit in the middle.
  • Cool on the counter for 30-45 minutes, and then cover in foil and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.
  • Top with your preferred topping, if desired. Cut the bars into 9 squares, and then cut each square into a triangle. Enjoy!
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