Recipe: Birthday Cake Bars

Today is my birthday! 

I've taken off from work and am having a relaxing day buying myself brunch, going to some of my favorite shops, and having a cocktail or two. Over the weekend I celebrated by hosting a brunch party for a handful of friends, surrounded by some of my favorite people and the 50+ balloons I had blown up, and eating great food. We chatted and hung out in the house, played some group games and then had a lull around dinner time before a few of us rented a private karaoke room. We sang until I was on the brink of loosing my voice. I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate. I'm feeling really positive going into 28. 

Let's talk about these bars for a moment, shall we? These Birthday Cake Bars are A LOT. They're a lot of uncooked butter and sugar and vanilla but sometimes that's all you need. These definitely won't be for everybody, but if you have a cookie dough lover in the house then these are a sure bet. If you wanted to feed more of a crowded with these, I would recommend cutting them in half before doubling the recipe. That way, everyone gets a one or two bite treat! 

Birthday Cake Bars

Yields 12 bars

Bars
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk

To make the bars: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color (about 4-5 minutes). Add in sour cream and vanilla extract and mix. Add in flour & salt, then milk, mixing until everything is combined into one dough. Fold in sprinkles with a rubber spatula. 

Line a 8x8" or 9x9" baking dish with plastic wrap (enough so that it is hanging over the sides on all sides). Press your dough into the dish until it is evenly distributed. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the dough and refrigerate for at least one hour, if not overnight. 

To make the buttercream: In an electric mixer, whip butter until it is soft and fluffy. Gradually add in confectioner's sugar, then vanilla extract and milk. Whip for 3-4 minutes until the buttercream is fluffy. If your frosting is too thick, gradually add in more milk one tablespoon at a time. You'll have a thick frosting that's pipeable.

Assemble: Remove your bars from the refrigerator and lift out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 even pieces. Fill your pastry bag fitted with a star tip with buttercream and begin piping small swirls until the each bar is covered. If you don't have a piping bag or don't feel like digging it out, you can always spread the frosting on with an offset spatula. 

Store these bars in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. They longer they stay out of the fridge, the softer they will get, but because this is an eggless cookie dough they are fine to eat at room temperature. 

Recipe: Orange Creamsicle Funfetti Cookie Dough Bars

A few weeks ago, I made a bunch of these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bites and the reaction was "please make more of these and delivery them to my house pronto" from many people in my life. And though I explained that it wasn't practical to bring a bunch of ice cream into work, or delivery them on my scooter to my friends' doors, no one cared and I was given a hard time by family, friends, and coworkers alike. And because G doesn't like chocolate, and has been eating them out of my freezer by picking the chocolate chips out (true story), I wanted to make something that 1. didn't require so much cutting of frozen ice cream before it melts in my 100 degree house, 2. could be individually wrapped for easy sharing, and 3. hit some different flavor combos besides vanilla and chocolate. So these little beauties are the end result.

Funfetti cookie dough + orange swirl ice cream + cool whip = sticky fingers and happy tastebuds. It's just basic math, folks.

Orange Creamsicle Funfetti Cookie Dough Bars

Yields 16 bars

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 carton of Orange Swirl Ice Cream** (I used Friendly's Fruit Swirls)
1 8-oz container of whipped topping

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip butter with sugar until light and fluffly, about 3-5 minutes. Mix in sour cream. Add flour in increments and mix until just combined. Add milk and vanilla. Combine. Using a spatula, mix in rainbow sprinkle until equally distributed throughout the dough.

Lightly spray an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to size, but longer so two sides generously hang over the edges and press the parchment paper to the baking pan. Add the cookie dough to the parchment-lined pan and even out using a spatula. You'll want to evenly cover the entire bottom of the pan to create the "crust." Add half a carton of ice cream and even out with a spatula. Do the same thing with the whipped topping.  Top with sprinkles. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Using the parchment paper that's hanging over, remove the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a large knife, cut the bars like you would brownies. Cut into 4 strips, and then cut each strip into 4 bars. This part is a bit tricky, but take your time, wipe the knife off when it gets too coated in ice cream, and run under hot water for an easier cut. Place each bar on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap completely. Store in freezer immediately after cutting. 

**You could switch out any ice cream that you want! Don't let me stop you from your dreams.