Potluck parties are a great way to entertain. They take a lot of pressure off the host and hostess with each guest responsible for contributing a dish to share. The host often provides meat and asks for a complementary dish – sometimes even requesting a side dish, salad, bread or dessert.
This holiday season why not take dessert bars as your potluck contribution? It’s easy to make a big batch of bars. Most recipes call for a 9×13-inch pan which will make 24 or more bars per pan. Keep in mind there will likely be other desserts, so the serving size does not need to be large. Bars are easy to transport and can be served from the same pan they were prepared in or placed on a separate platter.
Included in this post are two holiday bar recipes that are sure to be a hit at any potluck. The Praline Pumpkin Pie Bar recipe has a press-in crust made from scratch with Martha White® All-Purpose Flour, a spicy pumpkin pie filling and a brown sugar, pecan and butter topping. The crust for the Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Bar recipe is easy to make using a Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix. Topped with a pumpkin cheesecake mixture and swirled with preserves, these bars taste as delicious as they look.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share that everyone expects you to bring to a potluck? I have a friend who is always expected to bring her fudge pie. If so, I would love to hear about your recipe.
The first time I heard of biscuit bread pudding was from a co-worker when she brought it to the Martha White® test kitchen. We prepared the recipe and instantly fell in love with it!
The original recipe was topped with cinnamon sugar – perfect for fall. You could also top it with fresh strawberries, transforming the recipe into a delicious fusion of bread pudding and strawberry shortcake.
Bread pudding is a dessert not originally associated with the South due to its traditional bread being made of yeast. Southerners began using left over biscuits to produce delicious custard pies which were made by combining eggs, sugar and milk or cream. The outcome is very similar to the custard used in bread puddings. Where did your bread pudding recipe originate? I would love to hear your story.
We’ve recently talked about cobblers with a biscuit topping and a crust made with Martha White® Muffin Mix. Now I want to talk about the cobbler made with a dual pie crust. This version is versatile and may be made with any fruit combination you have on hand and the top crust can be a solid sheet or a creative piece of decorative lattice artwork. It’s all up to you!
If you enjoy adding a special touch to your recipes, try cooking squares of pie crust on a baking sheet and alternating a layer of fruit with a layer of pie crust during assembly. This method does require an extra step, but the surprise layer of flaky crust throughout the cobbler is an added bonus.
Crisp, flaky pie crust is what sets this style of cobbler apart from all the rest. Flaky pie crust is accomplished by cutting shortening or butter into salted flour, leaving bits of shortening throughout the mixture. The classic Martha White Cobbler recipe is one I learned to make from early days in the Martha White Test Kitchen. It was suggested to only cut in half the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs for tenderness. Then cut in the remaining shortening until the pieces are the size of small peas, which creates flakiness. Chilling the dough helps to maintain these small pieces of shortening until the dough is rolled out.
Cobblers are a great way to use slightly overripe fruit. Whether it’s a quick & easy or a classic version, the outcome will be the same. You will make your family and friends very happy with a delicious dessert.
August is the perfect month to eat Ice Cream Sandwiches. No excuse is needed to enjoy and share one of our favorite childhood treats! Such a simple thing –Thin chocolate wafers perfectly filled with vanilla ice cream.
Ice Cream Sandwiches can offer a great opportunity to do a fun cooking project with your children or grandchildren. The Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich is a previous Martha White® contest winner, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s an easy and delicious recipe you can make right at home.
Instead of the traditional chocolate wafers, this recipe calls for chocolate waffles. Waffles are always fun to make and it’s even easier when using a Martha White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Flavored Muffin Mix. Fill the waffles with softened vanilla ice cream and refreeze. I’m sure you will have eager eaters anxiously awaiting the end result. To add a new flare, drizzle with hot fudge sauce and/or a sprinkling of salted peanuts.
Why don’t you create your own signature ice cream sandwich? With all the muffin mix and ice cream flavors available, there are endless possibilities of ice cream sandwich creations.
Many people I know look forward to the peaches of summer. On occasion my father would stop along the roadside so my mother could buy big baskets of local peaches to eat fresh, use for cobblers and pies, or preserve for winter. In a matter of minutes the entire car would fill with the aroma of fresh peaches.
In addition to pies or cobblers, fresh peaches make wonderful shortcake. Shortcake is another Southern tradition that varies throughout the region and even among families. My mother grew up eating biscuit style shortcake, but later began making shortcake with cake – either a yellow cake or pound cake.
I soon discovered shortcake made like a sweet, rich biscuit and adopted this style as my favorite. The Martha White®Butter Pecan Drop Shortcake with Fresh Peaches recipe is made with a drop biscuit and enhanced with brown sugar and toasted pecans. It’s easy to make and the flavors are the perfect complement to peaches.
When I was growing up, cobblers were considered an everyday dessert, but cobbler today is now considered a beloved classic. In the South we are blessed with an abundance of summer fruits and berries, allowing us the opportunity to prepare many cobblers. Southern cooks have traditionally been masters at pairing pie crust and biscuits with local ingredients to create all kinds of regional specialties, including cobblers.
I think a cobbler made with a flaky pie crust is the most traditional, but topping the fruit with a sweet rich biscuit dough is also a classic style. Our Martha White® Country Berry Cobbler recipe is topped with biscuits and the dough is enriched with sugar, butter and cream. The biscuits may be rolled, cut and placed on the fruit or made into a little softer dough and dropped from a spoon.
One of the easiest ways to make a cobbler is with a simple pourable crust like this Martha White® Berry Good Cobbler recipe. This batter, made with Martha White® Strawberry Flavored Muffin Mix, sugar and milk, is a breeze to stir up.
With an abundance of fresh fruits and berries available this season, it is the perfect time to treat your family and friends to a homemade cobbler.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a cookie bar fan and not afraid to admit it. I like the convenience of baking an entire batch at once. The all-time classic is probably brownies. Rich and buttery – studded with or without nuts. You can’t go wrong with brownies if you’re looking to make everyone happy. However, blondies and scotchies run a close 2nd and 3rd. Each resemble brownies in texture, but blondies get their distinguishing taste from brown sugar, creating a caramel-like flavor.
All varieties are easy to make and freeze well. It can be tricky to remove from the pan seamlessly, so I have a few tips. Line your pan with foil, leaving the edges sticking up and apply cooking spray. Once they are done, cool and chill. Then, lift the whole panful out at once, place on a cutting board to separate. Once cut, let it return to room temperature and voila!
One more tip from me to you – The key to a moist finished product is to not overbake. Take the pan out when the center is still a slightly soft. The bars may fall a little, but this will produce a more dense and delicious outcome.
Here are some of my favorite Martha White® brownie, blondie and scotchie recipes. What are yours?