S’mores Fudge Bars

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I did it. I finally did it! I’ve made a few variations of these S’mores bars from Cookies & Cups over the last couple years in an attempt to make a graham cracker crust that wouldn’t crumble when cut. Let’s be honest. That combination of graham cracker, marshmallow, and ooey chocolate fudge is delicious enought that I just couldn’t abondon it because the crust wouldn’t stay togheter. But today, success. I honestly am not even sure if it was the crust recipe or if it was because I packed the crust into the pan with my meat tenderizer? Regardless, the bars today finally have a true crust layer!

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Crust aside, Happy 4th of July! Here’s hoping that you’ve been able to continue the weekend celebration through Tuesday. These bars scream summer to me, and beside the red, white, and blue berry desserts, seem like the perfect treat to celebrate summer!

P.S. Is there anyone who can actually manage to eat toasted marshmallows without getting it EVERYWHERE?!?  This certainly exceeds my abilities. But, that’s part of the fun, right? 🙂

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

S’mores Fudge Bars
Adapted from Cookies & Cups, crust from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Ingredients:
Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (~10-11 full sheets)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
6 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter

Fudge Layer:
1 bag milk chocolate chips
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow Fluff Layer
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9 (or 8×8) baking pan with non-stick spray. In a bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pack the crumbs down as much as you can (I used a meat tenderizer to really pack them in). Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk. Heat over medium-low heat until melted and combined. Pour immediately over the graham cracker mixture (the graham cracker layer does not need to be completely cool).

For the marshamallow fluff, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small sacuepan. Cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F. While the mixture is boiling, beat 2 egg whites and cream of tartar together in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Stop the mixer if needed at this point until the sugar mixture is ready. Once the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites. Turn up the mixer speed to high and continue to beat the mixture for 6-8 minutes or until thick and glossy. Add the vanilla extract with about 1 minute left. Turn your oven on to low broil. Spread the marhsmallow fluff (I use the entire batch) over the chocolate. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to brown. Watch the marshmallow layer carefully while under the broiler. Once it starts to brown, it will toast (read: burn) quickly. Let cool, cut into squares, and serve.

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Magic Bars

magic bars stacked

In this house, there is a relatively unknown but rather specific definition of game food. Whenever I end up trying to plan out food for a sporting event, he usually ends up defining about half of it as “not game food.” His definition lies somewhere along the lines of things like nachos and appetizers, but not everything there counts. A couple things I have determined, portability is good. The other – sweets don’t count. What?!?

I am the kind of person that loves to have some type of sweets available at game parties, and in my opinion, these bars would make perfect game food. The recipe for these originally comes from Edible Sound Bites, and it’s a fun variation on magic cookie bars. By the way, what is the real name of those bars? I’ve heard them called magic cookie bars, 7 layer bars, and hello dolly bars?

magic bars before baking

magic bars chips

Outside of the “game food” definition, these bars were a big hit. It is somewhat embarrassing to know how fast we consumed these. You know those recipes where you have to keep “evening out the edge?” This was one of those. With graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate, coconut and sweetened condensed milk these bars are the perfect cross between a s’mores bar and a magic cookie bar. Of course, I could not resist swapping in some butterscotch chips for some of the chocolate.

Were they sweet? Yes. Gooey? Yes. They held together a little better when refrigerated. A repeat? My husband already wants me to remake them so he can bring them to work. Game food? Well, depends on who you ask, but I say yes!

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(Printable Recipe)

Magic Bars
Slightly adapted from Edible Sound Bites

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 1 pkg. inside the box)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×8-inch square pan with nonstick spray.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour half the can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. In a medium bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. Spread evenly over the pan. Layer the marshmallows over the chips-coconut mixture. Drizzle the remaining sweetened condensed milk evenly over the marshmallows.

Bake for 25 minutes until the tops of the marshmallows are lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars. The bars hold together a little better when refrigerated but can also be stored at room temperature.

Apple Toffee Blondies

frosted apple toffee bars different angle

Truthfully, I have never really been a “fall person.” While it certainly brings good things like football, it always hinted at the horrible, un-named season that follows. One of the reasons that we live in Arizona is that neither of us does cold well. 

Nonetheless, fall is a little different down here. The color of the leaves on the trees don’t ever change (at least seasonally). I still wear shorts whenever I am not at work, and our weather change means we may not quite hit 100 degrees everyday (for a couple months anyway). While I really don’t mind the heat, I am ready for the change. October weather here is beautiful, and I am looking forward to doing a little fall baking once my darn test is over!

frosted apple toffee bars dough
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I actually made these bars with my mother back in March when I was visiting. I’ve been saving the recipe/pictures since then because apple baking always reminds me of fall. The recipe comes from Shelly at Cookies & Cups. I haven’t done any “official” fall baking yet this year, and in re-looking at these pictures, I am thinking I may have to make these again.

When we made these, Mom and I added 2 apples to use up the ones she had in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this as there were just too many pieces of apple in the bars. The other thing that we did that I wouldn’t recommend is that we prepared the frosting ahead of time. The brown sugar frosting sets quickly, and it is much easier to spread (and looks much nicer) if the bars are cool and ready to frost when you make it. 

frosted apple toffee bars

Despite the scrappy looking frosting, the bars were really good. If you hadn’t guessed from the toffee and the frosting, these bars are definitely really rich! Nonetheless, they are a fun and delicious introduction to fall as we change seasons in just a few days. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Apple Toffee Blondies
From Cookies & Cups

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup peeled, chopped Granny Smith apple (1 medium)
1/2 cup toffee bits

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray.

Cream 2/3 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stirring until just combined. Fold in the apple pieces and toffee bits until well distributed. Spread in the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center appears set. Cool completely before frosting.

Once the bars are cool, melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk. Frost the bars immediately. Let the frosting set completely before cutting into bars.

SRC: Sugar Cookie Bars

sugar cookie bars bite

Well… it’s been awhile since I’ve been on here. I am happy to report that I finished up my residency at the end of June, certificate and all. Hoping that means that I’ll be cooking a little more regularly (and I think I’m not the only one). I think the hubs is ready to hand the kitchen back over to me!

What better way to get back into the swing of things that with a SRC reveal day? My blogger for this month was Raina from Connor’s Cooking. Raina has a fun variety of recipes from stir-fries to baked oatmeal, and I still want to try many of these! In the end, I ended up listing to my sweet tooth and chose to make her sugar cookie bars

sugar cookie bars stacked

This recipe makes a sheet pan of cookies, and it turned out to be the perfect recipe because I have been receiving a few hints that I should bring some treats into work. Even in the sheet pan, the bars end up nice and thick, staying soft throughout. I needed to bake these for about 20-22 minutes, but I am just realizing now that I baked them at 350 rather than 375 degrees. Either way, it works well.

My only suggestion for the future would be to adjust the frosting recipe (possibly adding a little more powdered sugar) as mine tended to get a little bit too soft when kept at room temperature. Then again, it is July in Arizona and refrigerated cookie bars taste pretty good 🙂

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Thanks for a great recipe Raina. I look forward to seeing your posts in the future! 

(Printable Recipe)

Sugar Cookie Bars
Adapted from Connor’s Cooking (Originally from http://www.loveandoliveoil.com)

Ingredients:
Cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4-5 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk (I used almond milk)
food coloring, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing one at a time until well combined. Mix in vanilla. In a separate  bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture until just combined. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (10×15-inch) with nonstick spray. Gently spread the dough over the sheet. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the edges of the bars are just beginning to brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

While the bars are cooling, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with a little milk. Mix until smooth and spreadable, but sturdy. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Spread over the cooled cookie bars (only after they are completely cool). Cut and enjoy!


White Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Brownies

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They say opposites attract. I don’t know how much I agree with that on the relationship front, however in food, opposites are often epic. A perfectly baked cookie with a crunchy edge, but still soft in the middle. The sour cream often added to balance a bit of spice. Sea salt sprinkled on top of a homemade caramel. I am sure I could keep going with these food opposites (and make myself really hungry in the process!).

This recipe is from Anna at Cookie Madness. These bars have a bit of that opposites going for them in both texture and taste. The bottom layer is baked twice – first to set up and secondly after adding the top layer. The result is a sweet, soft bar with a salty, crunchy crust. Deliciousness. I love white chocolate, so other flavors aside, these are right up my alley.

crunchy white chocolat blondes bottom crust
crunchy white chocolat blondes

My only regret with these. That I didn’t try them sooner. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

White Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Brownies
From Cookie Madness

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut 
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled

Brownies:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. skim milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either spray an 8×8-inch pan with non-stick spray or line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy removal of the bars after baking.

For the crust, mix the dry ingredients in the first set together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour in the melted butter, and mix to combine. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the brownies, melt the butter and white chocolate together on the stove or in the microwave. Allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and egg together until light in color. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients, milk, and vanilla. Stir just until no flour streaks remain.

When the crust finishes baking, add dollops of dough across the pan. Carefully spread out the batter to cover the crust without disturbing the crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Cool completely.

SRC: Nutella Brownies

nutella brownie sundae

I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I am new to the Nutella camp. Like only a couple weeks new. I swear I had tried it before. My impression then was indifferent. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything I would go crazy over. Let’s fast-forward to the present – I bought a small jar a couple weeks ago for a baking group assignment. I am not sure what has changed, but man that stuff is addicting!

My new obsession played in perfectly to my blog assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Erin, of Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts seems to have a similar obsession. She’s even made homemade Nutella, and I can’t say I blame her! Erin has a great blog and must be a woman after my own heart with her list of desserts. I think I could have made each of them, but there was no getting past these Nutella brownies.

nutella brownies
nutella brownie

Similar to Erin, my brownies ended up on the longer side of the bake time. Despite taking what seemed like a long time to bake, the brownies emerged soft and gooey in the middle with the perfect crispy edges. Erin describes them as super fudgy with lots of Nutella flavor and I would have to say that I agree. My husband would tell you that they made great ice cream sundaes, but I can vouch for them being delectable on their own too. Enjoy! 

(Printable Recipe)

Nutella Brownies
Adapted from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Nutella
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Add salt, cocoa powder, and Nutella and mix in slowly. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake 25-35 minutes (mine took the 35 minutes). The brownies will cut better once cool, but they make great ice cream sundaes while warm.

 

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie bars

It is hard to believe, but I actually have many more dinner recipes than dessert recipes sitting in my files waiting to be shared. I feel like this is a complete 180 from when I started the blog where almost all my posts were dessert related. You’d never know I have a sweet tooth 🙂

Despite the odds, I am bringing you a dessert recipe today. In fact, a classic dessert recipe in that. These actually came about one night because the hubbs was wanting to make a cookie ice cream sundae. Not wanting to spend too long baking on a weeknight, I remembered these cookie bars. Perfect.

thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie bars whole

So, if you find yourself in a rush needing a dessert for a certain holiday next week or just have a killer chocolate chip cookie craving. Look up these bars. I promise they’ll be well received. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated) 

Ingredients:
2-1/8 cups (10-1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 Tbsp. (1-1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 oz) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3-1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (1 pkg) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, if desired for easy removal from the pan. Spray either the pan or foil with non-stick cooking spray (whichever you are using).

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from the sides of the pan, 24-28 minutes. Do not overbake, if needed err on the side of slightly underdone. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. If using the foil, you can remove the bars from the pan by lifting up on the foil. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Butterfinger Blondes

I swear these bars must have some kind of crack in them. I am only partially kidding. I made them, so I know all the ingredients that were included. Don’t worry, there really isn’t any crack listed in the ingredient list. Nonetheless, there was something in these bars that just kept me going back for “a little bit more.” 

I ran across these beauties on pinterest (love that website by the way). As far as I can tell, the original idea was from Shelly at Cookies and Cups. These bars are one of those recipes that have made the rounds around several blogs and for good reason. They are so good! Make them as soon as you can and send me one please! 

I think I’m off to convince the hubby that we need to hand out Butterfingers as Halloween candy this year… I know exactly what I am doing with extra 🙂 Enjoy! 

(Printable Recipes)

Butterfinger Blondes
Adapted slightly from Cookies and Cups

Ingredients:
Bars:
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups coarsely crushed Butterfinger bars (approximately 15 fun-sized bars)

Butterfinger Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup coarsely crushed Butterfinger bars (approx 4 fun-sized bars)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until incorporated. Mix in vanilla. On low add the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the crushed butterfingers. Spread in a 9×13-inch baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. The bars will still be a little “wiggly” when you take them out of the oven. That’s okay. You want them to be soft not crunchy. Set on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

For the buttercream, cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low. Once it begins to mix in, increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth. Spread on the cooled blondes. Sprinkle the remaining crushed Butterfingers on top.

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

I am way behind the times on the cake batter trend, but I am actually okay with that. I figure that as long as I can still hop on the train that I haven’t completely missed it 🙂

I hold a special place in my heart for rice krispie treats. As simple as they are, I have always loved them. Ask my mom. Apparently I tried to “run-away” once when I was younger but decided to come home because we were having rice krispie treats for dessert. True story. They also single-handedly helped me get through college. My roommates and I would make them in a big bowl in the microwave and dig-in with a fork. No pan or set-time included. We made them quite a bit. Movie tonight? Let’s make rice crispies. Finals week? Add some m&m’s. You get the idea. 

As you may imagine, when I saw the idea for cake batter rice krispie treats on Jessica’s blog, I knew I had to make these. Were they good? No explanation needed, and they may have spurred a interest in other cake batter-flavored treats. Cake batter ice cream anyone? Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats
From How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 oz) bag marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup yellow cake mix
6 cups rice krispies cereal
assorted sprinkles

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until the begin to melt and mix in vanilla. Add in cake mix one spoonful at a time and stir until combined. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray (I like an 8×8 or 9×9 to make them thicker) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting.

May Cookie Carnival: Strawberry-Rhubarb Bars

This month’s Cookie Carnival was guest hosted by Krista from Meet the Swans. I was really excited to get the recipes for this month because they both looked great. When you are choosing between these strawberry-rhubarb bars and homemade ice cream sandwiches, it can be a hard choice! In the end, I probably will not get around to making the ice cream sandwiches before the end of the month, but I am definitely saving that recipe for later in the summer!

The bar recipe is originally from Better Homes and Gardens, and I went with this one since I love rhubarb in desserts! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to locate any fresh rhubarb since moving to Arizona, so I went the frozen route and it worked just fine although I had to boil my mixture for much longer than 10 minutes to get it to thicken. I stayed true to the ingredients called for in the recipe, but used my food processor to mix the dough together because I was feeling a bit lazy. In the end, I think this “chopped” up the oats a little more than the recipe intended, but the crumb layer still turned out really well. 

One thing that is unique is that the recipe calls for ground ginger that is mixed in with the filling and into a ginger glaze that tops the bars. I sneaked a taste of the glaze before I added it to the bars and wasn’t a huge fan, but on top of the bars, all the flavors melded together wonderfully. In fact, my husband’s exact comment was, “Wow. These are good. Really good.” Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Strawberry-rhubarb Bars
From Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients:
Bars:
Non-stick cooking spray
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Ginger Glaze:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3-4 Tbsp. orange juice or milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with foil, allowing the foil to extend over the edges of the pan. Coat the foil with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the oats, flour, and 3/4 cup sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (alternately you can use a food processor). Remove 1-1/2 cups of the oat mixture; set aside. Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake 20 minutes.

For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, water, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until mixture is thickened and bubbly (May take longer. Just keep going until the fruit starts to break down and the mixture begins to thicken). Stir in chopped strawberries. Remove 1/2 cup of filling. Cover and set aside. Spoon remaining filling over the hot baked crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture (you may have to crunch this with your hand to make “crumbs” if you used a food processor). Lightly press the mixture down into the topping. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly. Cool in a pan on a wire rack. 

For the ginger glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, ground ginger. Add the orange juice/milk slowly until it reaches drizzling consistency. Set aside. Lift the bars from the pan using the foil and carefully pull the foil away from the sides. Cut into bars. Just before serving, top each bar with a spoonful of filling and drizzle with the ginger glaze.