Do you remember those gooey, rich 7-Layer Bars that everyone was making about 20 years ago? Layers of graham cracker crumbs, butter, more layers holding loads of sweet stuff and a can of sweetened condensed milk to hold it all together — remember?
Well, these Fudge Bars are a little like that. There are layers. They are rich. They are gooey. They are a fudge bar like no other, really.
I was paging through an old cookbook I purchased in Westfield, New Jersey in 1994 when we were there watching our son play in a golf tournament. The book is a collection of recipes compiled by the Welcome Wagon Club of Westfield. I’m can’t remember ever making a recipe from the book. But, as I was flipping through the pages the other day, I stopped at a recipe for Fudge Bars. I had never seen anything like it. With fudge frosting mix and refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough in the recipe, along with a load of sweet stuff and evaporated milk, I thought the recipe must be wrong. It was so unusual, I had to try it.
I wasn’t sure fudge frosting mix was even available these days. But, I found a box of Jiffy fudge frosting mix, holding just the amount called for in the recipe. When the frosting mix is blended with cream cheese and an egg, it becomes a very creamy, pudding-like filling in these bars. The filling gets sandwiched between a crust of chocolate chip cookies, which are actually baked on the top, but the whole mess is tipped upside down as soon as it is removed from the oven. That’s when the cookies become the crust. What winds up on the top of the bars is a chewy layer of coconut and nuts and brown sugar.
These Fudge Bars are good. They must be chilled before cutting and they should be stored in the refrigerator. For that reason they are not a great choice to take on summer picnics. But, they are delicious served as a dessert to guests, topped with fresh raspberries or nestled into a pool of raspberry sauce on a dessert plate.
Cut these bars small. They are rich. They are Fudge Bars like no other.
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
- 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 (7.5-ounce) box Fudge Frosting mix, sifted (I found Jiffy brand at my grocery store)
- 1 (16.5-ounce) roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
- Fresh raspberries, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9- x 13-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing enough to come up over the sides at the short ends of the pan. Melt butter in pan in the preheating oven.
Sprinkle brown sugar, coconut and nuts over butter. Drizzle evaporated milk over all. In a small bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth. Add egg and beat to blend. Gradually add sifted Fudge Frosting mix, blending well after each addition.
Spoon small dollops of cream cheese mixture over layers in pan, spacing evenly. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture to cover the coconut mixture in pan. Slice cookie dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Arrange slices over the top of cheese mixture.
Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Remove pan from oven and immediately invert onto cookie sheet. Carefully pull foil off of baked mixture. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Chill in refrigerator before cutting into bars. Makes about 3 dozen bars. Store in the refrigerator. A fresh raspberry placed on top of each bar is a nice, delicious touch.