Thank-you Cookie Bars

There is a time for everything under the sun, I believe King Soloman, in all his wisdom once said. Months, sentiments, many conversations with myself and with others later, the time has come. I’m happy to announce that this is my first weekend in my apartment! Not that I have not been on my own before, but it’s a different experience when you leave your parents’ house and move within the same city. It’s much more intentional, instead of situational like moving because your school is in another town.

The hardest part of making this decision is still not completely resolved – what it means to my lifelong relationships to my family and my church friends. On the one hand, I am a fim believer that where there is a will, there is a way. With relationships that you want to keep, you will make the effort to keep the connectivity alive regardless of the distance. That’s why I love Skype, Gmail, and with increasing familiarity – Twitter too. On the other hand, there is a time when the winds of change gather up just the right amount of dead leaves at your door to remind you of what season had come and past, and then a whiff of courage in that air causes you to look up. In moments like these, I often feel like Fraulein Maria .. What will this day be like, I wonder? What will my future be? It could be so exciting, to be out in the world, to be free. My heart should be wildly rejoicing .. oh what’s the matter with me? These are her pre-chorus thoughts – before her song of insecurity and fear give way to guitar swinging leaps of confidence.

Somehow, confidence catches up with you if you change the way you think, and stop fretting and start trusting. Intuition, when first tempered with reason and prayer, is worth following too. It’s led to a couple great things in my experience too.

Four wonderful friends spent Saturday lifting boxes, a double bed, multiple cardboard boxes, and even unhinging the front door, all in an effort to make my move a smooth one. I owe them my right arm, and probably a good massage too. So when it’s right to saw thank-you, this was the perfect time to pull out the cookie bar recipe I had saved. I saved these two recipes from a friend knowing that they’d come in handy as a gift, because cookie bars can be made ahead of time, cut up, and wrapped nicely in presentable cellophane.

So when the time is right, try one of these too.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Bars (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)


  • Nonstick cooking spray or shortening
  • 1 2-layer-size package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 5-ounce can (2/3 cup)  evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup  butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup  chopped nuts
  • 6 chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray or grease with shortening. In a large mixing bowl beat together cake mix, milk, and butter until well mixed. Stir chopped nuts into the beaten mixture.

2. Spread half of the mixture into prepared pan. Bake in the 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped candy. Drop remaining cake mixture by teaspoons over all. Bake about 15 minutes more or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into rectangles. Makes 36 servings.


Chewy Cherry Almond Bars (from Better Homes and Gardens)


  • 1 cup  butter, softened
  • 2 cups  packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon  almond extract
  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups  regular rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup  sliced almonds
  • 1 12-ounce jar (1 cup)  cherry preserves


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set pan aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour, the oats, and almonds.

3. Remove 1/2 cup of the dough and set aside. Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread with preserves. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over preserves layer.

4. Bake in the preheated oven about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut cookies out of the pan. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.


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